Hi, I’m Donna Marie West, a Canadian educator, author, and editor. I’m one of those strange people who loves doing research. As far back as elementary school—back in the dark ages before the Internet, computers, or even electric typewriters—I loved reading and learning stuff and writing about it.
I took creative writing courses in high school and later, enrolled in writing and editing courses by correspondence.
I started writing seriously about twenty years ago, at first mostly about horses, as that’s where my expertise lay, but gradually expanding to paranormal subjects and Earth mysteries, which interest me immensely. Eventually, I branched out into fiction, publishing numerous short stories in a variety of anthologies and magazines, before trying my hand at novels.
Around ten years ago, I read The Man in the Ice, a nonfiction book about the body of a Neolithic hunter discovered in thawing ice in the Ötztaler Alps in Europe. After that, I found myself noticing news articles about discoveries of bacteria and viruses and even the bodies of frozen animals like wolves, horses, and mammoths in thawing ice or permafrost soil in Siberia and other northern locations. They were thousands of years old; in some cases, tens of thousands of years old. Even more amazing, some of the bacteria and viruses, once thawed out, proved to be alive and well. I started to think, “What if a frozen human was found? What if they weren’t dead?” And the mud man was born, first in a short story and later, in a full-length novel.
The Mud Man is the story of Dom, a man who lived 9,500 years ago and who, following his infection from mutated bacteria, was preserved frozen alive until his discovery by archeologists digging in northern British Columbia.
As he recovers from his near-fatal ordeal and learns to communicate with his caregivers, Dom tells an incredible tale of his life as a prehistoric Native American. Eventually, he unwittingly reveals the source of his miraculous survival, something that promises unimagined breakthroughs in the fields of medicine and human longevity. Yet the question remains: will he be able to adapt to life in the modern world?
I think anyone from the age of thirteen or so up who likes to learn something in the stories they read, anyone who is interested in prehistory, medicine, and the art of communication would enjoy reading The Mud Man.
I want to thank Authors’ Lounge for allowing me the chance to share a bit of myself and my novel with you. I do hope you’ll check out The Mud Man, the unique and touching tale of a man who shouldn’t exist—but does.
Here’s a short blurb from the beginning of the book:
“We discovered him yesterday morning,” the student said with a grin. “We’ve been working ever since to dig him out.”
They hurried another ten minutes along a deep, narrow chasm between two jagged outcroppings of rock. Several squares typical of archaeological exploration had been cut into the soil beneath the carpet of moss, but they seemed for the moment to be of no interest. Two students knelt almost reverently around a two-metre-long trench dug out of the thawing permafrost soil. Professor Sutherland, standing behind them, was taking photos with a compact digital camera.
A human body lay on its back in an almost metre-deep trench, its left leg bent beneath it, arms folded across its chest, head turned slightly to the right. Though it remained caked in mud, it appeared to be a man of average height with shoulder blade-length hair, wearing the tatters of a leather shirt and trousers, and what looked like a sealskin moccasin on the visible foot.
“He’s amazing,” Veronica murmured, her heart racing and eyes glued to the emaciated body.
The Mud Man is available on all the usual book-selling sites, including: