âmes-soeurs ... soul-mates
Donna-Lane NELSON

Donna-Lane Boudreau Nelson is easy to describe, virtually impossible to label.

She is an author, mother, teacher, lover, and friend.  She loves life and expresses it with a caring, giving spirit.

D-L is passionate about making the world a better place, whether for herself and those around her in the food she cooks or the products she uses, or through the social and economic principles she believes and causes she espouses.

She is a Swiss national who divides her time between the very international Geneva and a centuries-old village in the south of France, yet has deep New England Yankee roots and values.

She is petite but persistent. A powerful presence. Playful. Intelligent, independent, individual. She devours and absorbs information, whether history, literature, music, news, politics, finance, fiction, and sometimes the silly and absurd.

D-L has friends from Switzerland, France, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Russia, Syria, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere.

She is a stickler for order and neatness … on the surface. She can remember and convey incredible detail while at the same time be as klutzy or addle-brained as the sign on her studio door suggests.

Donna-Lane is all these and much more. Endearing. Enduring. Compassionate. Non-conforming. Courageous enough to beat cancer. Insecure about imaginary vermin. A debater willing to consider another viewpoint. A lover of animals and of the planet. An advance planner who is able to adapt to changing circumstances.

She gets so much out of life because she puts so much into it.  

Donna-Lane grew up in the suburb of Reading, Massachusetts, which explains why she speaks both English and French with a Boston accent.

Her father was one of the top salesmen in New England and the U.S. for Snap-On Tools. Her mother was a journalist and columnist, and also ran a party plan-style women’s clothing business. The family were regulars at the country club, where Donna-Lane reluctantly learned to play golf.

At 16, still a junior in high school, D-L started what would be a lifelong communications career when she became a cub reporter and photographer for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune newspaper.

As a girl, she was captivated by the Beverly Gray mystery novels, written by Clair Blank (http://www.series-books.com/beverlygray/beverlygray.html). The series followed Beverly’s progress through college, romance, and career. Beverly was described as having "a driving ambition in her heart that would not let her idle her life away." What especially captivated Donna-Lane were the novels’ descriptions of faraway places in South America, the Orient, Europe.

D-L determined early on that somehow, someday, she would live in Europe.

She got a taste of the Continent, crossing the Atlantic on an ocean liner and spending two years in Germany when her Army husband was stationed in Stuttgart. But they returned to Massachusetts where D-L finished her BA in English literature and history at Lowell University.

Her daughter Llara was born in 1969.

Donna-Lane wrote business newsletters for a research service, started a local bridal publication with her mother, then became a direct-mail copywriter for the National Fire Protection Association.

In 1975, she discovered one of her niches – credit unions. She became communications director at the Polaroid Credit Union, where she created award-winning marketing campaigns. In 1978, she attended a Credit Union Executives Society marketing conference in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, where she met Rick Adams, who had recently started a similar role for an IBM credit union. For several years, Donna-Lane and Rick were professional colleagues.

D-L moved to the Digital Equipment Corporation in 1978, where she helped co-found and build one of the leading CUs in the country across the next decade.

But Europe was always on her mind.

In 1988, without a job, she moved to France, having purchased her first studio – which she calls ‘The Nest’ – the year before on her 45th birthday in Argelès-sur-mer, a quaint village on the Mediterranean Sea near the Spanish border which was discovered by her archaeologist friend, Barbara. But D-L soon moved back to Massachusetts to care for her mother, who was dying of cancer.

In 1990, after her mother’s passing, D-L moved to Europe for good, landing a sales job in Neuchatel, Switzerland, with Interskill. Three years later she joined the International Electrical Commission in Geneva, where she also taught business communications and creative writing at Webster University. And she started writing for Credit Union Times magazine as their international correspondent.

She also began writing and publishing short stories, was one of the first members of the Geneva Writers Group (GWG) which now numbers more than 200, and in 1996 earned a Master’s degree in creative writing from Glamorgan University in Wales. That same year she also published her first novel, Chickpea Lover (Not a Cookbook) under the name D-L Nelson. The manuscript had won First Prize in the Florida Literary Festival and was later translated into German and Russian, making the bestseller list in Russia.

In 2002, Donna-Lane allegedly retired. But she’s not exactly the rocking-chair type. She continued to write for Credit Union Times and subsequently published additional novels, including The Card, Family Value (392 Chestnut Street), Running from the Puppet Master, Murder in Caleb’s Landing, Murder in Argelès, Murder in Geneva, Murder in Paris, Murder on Insel Poel, and Murder in Ely. Her 11th novel, Murder in Schwyz, was published in September 2016. She is finishing the draft of her 12th, Murder in Edinburgh.  (http://www.donnalanenelson.com)

Having met and become friends with Julia in the early 90s, D-L moved into Julia’s house (part time) in Corsier Port in 2003, where they have had many adventures together, some of which are chronicled in D-L’s blog, The Expat Writer (http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ch).

One of her proudest achievements was receiving her Swiss citizenship in 2005 after a 15-year process.

Not content to be a semi-retired novelist, Donna-Lane launched her CU Newswire electronic newsletter in 2007, a micro-finance news and commentary publication which was indispensable reading for credit union executives in Canada until D-L retired from that role in 2014.

In early April 2011, D-L learned she had breast cancer. She fought it head on and won. With a mixture of determination, fear, grace and humor. Who else would be blogging every few moments as they wheeled her gurney into surgery? D-L released The Cockeyed Nipple: A Survivor's Blog, her first-person, present-tense experience in book form in August 2014. Donna-Lane experienced breast cancer a second time in 2015-6 and overcame that too.

In the summer of 2012, Rick Adams learned that Donna-Lane lived in Geneva; he was in Switzerland for an aviation conference, and asked her to meet him for a cup of coffee. Six months later they got engaged. The spark that was lit 34 years earlier obviously still burned bright.

D-L has traveled widely throughout North America and Europe and to the Middle East. She has interviewed national leaders such as the President of Mexico and the President and Prime Minister of Ireland, as well as 6-foot-9 Boston Celtics basketball icon Bill Russell. She has mentored young women and men writers. She attended a cooking school. For many years she supported her late, beloved stepmother Norma through difficult financial times.

Donna-Lane is as comfortable with the temporarily famous and powerful as she is with the ‘mammies’ who observe everyone’s daily comings and goings on the narrow streets of Argelès. But her impact is best known in the lives of those people she knows well – because D-L is first and foremost a friend … a true and caring friend in every sense of the meaning of the word.

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