DAYNA DUNBAR

  

Author

Motivational Speaker

Workshop Leader

Winner 2006 Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma

with

The Saints and Sinners of Okay County

 

Dayna Dunbar is a native Oklahoman who currently makes her home in Santa Monica, CA. She grew up in Yukon, a tightly knit farming and grain-milling town in Oklahoma where most folks were relatives or family friends. This small town experience and the people of her early life have influenced Dayna’s writing deeply. As a child, Dunbar loved to be outdoors in nature, play basketball, watch sports, and read books—lots of them. She discovered that reading could take her down country roads and across oceans to both simple and exotic places. Dayna received excellent remarks from teachers about her writing in school, but her humble surroundings combined with her own insecurity kept her from believing she could write her own stories. After a “failure of courage” as Sue Monk Kidd says about her own delay in beginning her writing life, Dayna studied media communications at the College of Santa Fe, a small liberal arts school in New Mexico. 

 

Dayna’s first foray into creative writing was in an elective screenwriting class in college, but the teacher was very discouraging, and it made her believe she would never succeed as a writer. After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1990, Dayna searched in several cities including New York and San Francisco and in many jobs such as secretary and advertising sales for her place and her purpose. It wasn’t until 1994 when Dayna was fired without reason from a job that she finally began to follow her secret dream of becoming a writer.  “It became more painful to not write than to just go ahead and let this voice inside me have a say and have the writing potentially turn out to be awful,” Dayna says of that time. She started writing screenplays and then worked on the crew of the film “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This spurred her creativity even further, and after finishing the film, she moved to Venice Beach, California and wrote four screenplays in four years.

 

In order to make a living during this period of learning her craft, Dayna worked full time in kitchen design and sales. She also began pursuing her other great passion more fully – spirituality and personal transformation. She attended the University of Santa Monica and received her master’s degree in spiritual psychology. As part of this program, she wrote her first novel, “The Saints and Sinners of Okay County,” a story about Aletta Honor, a woman who overcomes her self-doubt and shame to follow her own inner voice and find her authentic self. This novel is set in Dayna’s hometown of Yukon, Oklahoma in 1976, a very memorable year for the author herself.  Upon graduating, Dayna received the University’s Student of the Year award along with bestselling inspirational author Iyanla Van Zant. Shortly after graduation, Dunbar’s first novel was published to excellent reviews and won the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma Book of 2006. Her second novel “The Wings That Fly Us Home,” a sequel to “Saints and Sinners,” was published in 2006, also to wonderful reviews.

 

In 2006, Dayna embarked on an 85 event speaking tour as part of winning the Oklahoma state award. She also completed her third novel and is working on her fourth.

About Dayna

Writing Coach