Carol's Corner
with Author and Editor
C. L. Craig

Author and Vintner, Danuta Pfeiffer
For thirty-five years, Danuta (Soderman) Pfeiffer worked as a radio and television broadcast journalist, columnist, and talk show host. Best known as co-host with Pat Robertson on The 700 Club, she soon branched out, becoming an author of four books including Chiseled, a memoir about her life in the spotlight and the resilience and perseverance of a woman forced to reinvent herself when faced with a web of deceit and substance abuse. 

A REVIEW FOR CHISELED--"I come away from reading Chiseled with tremendous respect and admiration for her (Danuta). This is a powerful and courageous memoir filled with one stunning twist after another. She reveals truths about herself that are as excruciating as they are liberating. The takeaway for me: the truth will set you free . . ." -- John DeDakis, Former CNN Senior Copy Editor ("The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer")

She went on to write her latest novel in her Pocket Full of Seeds Trilogy, Libertas, a historical novel about slavery and its aftermath. A complex story about the daughter of a White plantation owner and a Black, literate slave--companion to the son of a New York hotel baron--Libertas takes the reader on a journey of epic proportions.

A REVIEW FOR LIBERTAS—"A literary masterpiece of the highest calibre . . . passages as beautiful as Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel . . . nothing short of genius."

“Brimming with excitement…a literary masterpiece!” —Debra Whiting Alexander, award-winning author and 2018 WILLA Literary Award Winner in Contemporary Fiction for Zetty

Danuta Pfeiffer of Junction City, Oregon wins Finalist Award for her novel, LIBERTAS.

Danuta Pfeiffer, Author and Vintner

CC: Let’s start with Chiseled. What is the significance of your title?

DP: My father was a sculptor—a very gifted Old World Renaissance-type sculptor. He made his living carving statues for Catholic churches in Europe and Canada. During the winter, he was a ski instructor. We traveled a lot, winter and summer, sculpting and skiing. That life created a resilience I would need in my young life. In many respects, I think we are all “chiseled” by life. Chiseled also refers to being cheated, recurring themes in my memoir.

CC: Many memoir writers find it difficult to reveal their personal truths. How did you overcome this?

DP: I belonged to a writers’ critique group for 18 years. They forced me to dig deeper than I thought possible. Also, I know who I am. I am comfortable in my own skin and I recognize my humanity, my mistakes, my achievements. How could I expect readers to connect with me, if I wasn’t honest with them?

CC: Why did your mother drive you and your sibling to Alaska during one of the worst storms on record?

DP: We didn’t know it was the worst storm on record until we were in the middle of it. Remember, this was before cell phones and easy information.

CC: How did a liberal journalist end up on a talk show with one of the most conservative televangelists on television? And what did you think when Pat Robertson made a bid for president? 

DP: As discussed in the book, I tripped into evangelism—I was hired to head up CBN’s news bureau in Jerusalem, not evangelize as a co-host to Robertson on the 700 Club. I was informed of my new position after sitting in on the program for three days while they searched for a new host. (The other poor gal had a nervous breakdown, I learned later.). When you’re told it was God’s will, it was hard to argue with them.

When Pat ran for President, well, that’s when the shoelace came untied for me. Too much money, too many obfuscations, too much ego, not enough kindness.

CC: In this memoir, you share your husband’s struggle with alcoholism. What advice can you offer people who are facing similar dilemmas? 

DP: You can’t save someone who won’t participate in saving themselves. In the end, my life was at stake. I shouldn’t have waited so long. I learned a hard lesson.

CC: Your new novel, Libertas, takes you in a whole new direction. Why did you decide to write an historical novel, and what made you choose the topic of slavery as your subject?

DP: While the topic involves two slaves, it is more about the concept of freedom. 

The Oregon Trail was a level playing field for most immigrants. I was fascinated with Oregon’s racial history and back-tracked to a series of “what if’s” until I found myself immersed in the 19th century. The research took me so many places that the story started writing itself into a trilogy.

It felt good to step outside of my personal experiences in memoir and experiment in creating characters and landscapes. It was a wonderful artistic expansion for me.

CC: What is the takeaway for your reader in Libertas? What do you hope people will learn from reading your book that might help them in their own lives? 

Aside from learning little-known facts about the 19th century—did you know a tsunami struck Buffalo in 1844?—that Abraham Lincoln nearly joined the Donner Party that tragically ended in cannibalism? I think most people would be astonished to learn of the strength and endurance of these pioneers. Many immigrants traveled with as many as 9 and 10 children. Graves littered the trail. Cholera was rampant, food scarce. They walked 2,000 miles. Whereas the Mormons trekked to their new Zion in Utah pushing wheelbarrows, while passenger ships sailed hazardous seas for 6 months from New York to San Francisco. The pioneers' sense of adventure was superseded only by their quest for Libertas.

Danuta's Facebook Website:
BOOK ONE in the
Pocket Full of Seeds Trilogy
Libertas is a love story arising from the despair of slavery. Fredericka is the daughter of a White plantation owner and his Black house slave. Horace is a literate slave-companion to the son of a New York hotel baron.
This first book in the Pocket Full of Seeds Trilogy follows their flight for freedom through nineteenth-century America. It was a time when runaway slaves were hunted, steamships sailed around the Horn to San Francisco, horse-tugged boats navigated the Erie Canal, a midnight tsunami struck Buffalo, Mormons sought a new Zion, and wagon trains lumbered across a continent littered with unmarked graves. Most of all, this is a story driven by an unquenchable thirst for libertas.

“Brimming with excitement…
a literary masterpiece!”

—Debra Whiting Alexander, award-winning author and
2018 WILLA Literary Award Winner in
Contemporary Fiction for Zetty

A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine

In this gripping memoir, Danuta (Soderman) Pfeiffer, known to millions as the former co-host of The 700 Club with Pat Robertson, explains her sudden disappearance from the evangelical world and explores her chaotic past, living under her father’s imposing shadow.

Danuta Pfeiffer was an unwed teenage mother escaping to the tundra of Alaska; a journalist who inadvertently became a television evangelist with a ringside seat to a presidential campaign; a wife caught in a web of deceit and substance abuse. Through it all, she clings to her father’s legacy, sustained by his tales of fortitude and endurance when faced with the horrors of war.

Finally, living happily as a winemaker in Oregon, she finds she must once more reinvent herself, when during a sojourn to the Carpathian Mountains of Poland she uncovers long-buried family secrets.

Gold Medal Winner
Readers’ Favorite International Non-Fiction-Drama
2016 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
Gold Medal Winner
Readers’ Favorite International Audiobook Non-Fiction
Pfeiffer Vineyards used to be the Pfeiffer chicken ranch and sheep farm.
Back in 1947 this serene parcel of land located at the end of a lush, narrow valley in the foothills of the Coast Range beckoned the Pfeiffer’s with the promise of a wholesome country life for their family. But working sheep and thousands of chickens for decades was backbreaking.

When a proposal came from a French company to purchase the Pfeiffer land in the late ‘70’s, second son, Robin Pfeiffer, was intrigued. What did the French want with a 70-acre south-facing sheep meadow? It wasn’t for cheese.

With a little research, Robin discovered the French wanted to grow Pinot noir grapes. The Pfeiffer land offered a fertile Bellpine soil, an ideal elevation of 500 to 750, a textbook micro-climate of warm days and cool nights.

After convincing his father that grape-growing was a better exercise than sheep shearing, Robin Pfeiffer eventually planted Pinot noir, Pinot gris, chardonnay, muscat, and Merlot on the meadow, establishing one of the first premium vineyards in the South Willamette Valley.

Ten years later, through a newspaper ad, Robin met Danuta, a broadcast journalist and author. Love quickly flourished and within 12 days they decided to marry. More than 26 years later, Robin and Danuta have built a home, created the winery, established a cozy Tuscan-style tasting room, a lush 4-tiered Water Garden, and a hospitality Fireplace Pavilion.

With a vision for environmental balance, they established one of the first solar-powered vineyard estates, including an energy efficient home. While Robin managed the vineyard, Danuta published an award-winning book and audiobook, Chiseled, A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine, in which she describes their early years.

Today, Pfeiffer Winery’s reputation is renowned for their exclusive, small-lot, estate-grown and produced on-site Pinot noir and Pinot gris sold only through their winery. Now, Robin and Danuta host their wines on exotic shores around the world, serving as ambassadors for the heralded New World wines of Oregon.

Danuta Pfeiffer
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