She published her first novel, Extraordinary Means, with William Morrow. Kirkus called it "a witty, clear-eyed debut," and the San Francisco Chronicle described it as "an extraordinarily lively, funny novel."
Her second novel, California Street, was published by Simon & Schuster. Digby Diehl wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "This is an inventive novel that is thought-provoking and fun to read, and Levin … is a novelist to keep high on your reading list." The San Francisco Examiner called it "a lifeboat in a sea of featureless fiction." Both of Donna's novels were optioned for film.
Donna has published two books about writing, Get that Novel Started and Get that Novel Written, both with Writer's Digest Books. Get that Novel Written was translated into Italian and published by Dino Audino Editore.
Donna taught fiction writing for two decades, most notably at the University of California Extension at Berkeley, where she led the Novel-Writing Workshop. Many of her students have gone on to publish, including Lalita Tademy (whose first novel, Cane River, was an Oprah Book Club pick and New York Times bestseller; Terry Gamble ( Water Dancers and Good Family), and Mark Coggins, author of the August Riordan mysteries. She has also been a frequent guest at writers' conferences, including the San Francisco Writers' Conference and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. For many years she was a freelance book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle and a columnist for the San Francisco Independent.
Donna's work is included in Boston University's 20th Century Archives and in the California State Library's collection of California novels. She lives in San Francisco.