I had the great pleasure of reviewing Danielle Dayney’s book, When Love Sticks Around. We then did an interview … enjoy!
This is Part One of my interview with Danielle Dayney.
DANIELLE DAYNEY ON WRITING:
Annabel Harz: Tell me about your decision to write a memoir: why and when did the time feel right?
Danielle Dayney: I initially wrote some of the stories included to understand the grief I experienced when I lost my mom, but the more I wrote and shared with blog followers and friends, the more connected I felt to everyone around me. It was then that I decided I wanted to write When Love Sticks Around.
AH: You have worked as a writer for many years, writing reviews from a young age. In your opinion, did this experience make it easier for you to write your personal memoir?
DD: I don’t think it did, actually. Writing concert and album reviews is a totally different style than personal memoir. Album and concert reviews are more journalistic in style, whereas writing memoirs requires a different writing craft, one that looks similar to writing fiction. Before writing my memoir, I took several online writing classes to understand all the elements involved with writing longer works.
AH: Tell me about your writing process: do you have a set routine?
DD: I usually write early in the morning before anyone else in my house wakes. When writing nonfiction, I start with an idea from my ongoing list of essay ideas, brain map it to see what emotions, sights, smells, etc. come to mind, then after I let everything simmer I try to write my first (of many) drafts. Fiction is different. l usually go chapter and attempt to accomplish what my outline suggests, as long as my characters don’t take me in another direction.
DANIELLE ON HER MEMOIR:
AH: How long did it take you to write When Love Sticks Around?
DD: I worked on the first draft of this book from 2012-2016. Then I threw most of it away and started fresh with a new POV and a goal of making shorter, essay-styled paragraphs. I believe that was 2017. I finished it in mid-2019 after I hired a professional editor to go through it with me. Then I started submitting it to publishers. Brandylane accepted it in early 2020, and we edited it a few more times then proof-read it a few times.
AH: How did you plan the book? Did you scope certain events and then write about them? Or did you have a lot of essays to hand?
DD: I did have a lot of essays to hand. I definitely made a list of pieces that I wanted to write or had already written, then along the way I filled in the blanks.
AH: Did you consciously include a certain number of essays from distinct parts of your life, or did it develop more organically and just settle into place?
DD: Some of it settled into place organically, and some of the essays needed to be written later on, at the request of my project manager.
AH: I’m guessing you have more drafts of essays which you did not include.
DD: I have oodles of them!
AH: What guided your decisions for what to include and what not to include? What external influences assisted in selecting the essays?
DD: I cut some of the essays early on because they didn’t have a “so what,” or in other words a “why am I telling the reader this.” And others were eliminated later on by my project manager because they didn’t fit the theme of the book well enough.
AH: Five of your essays have been published previously, in different journals: can you tell me about that?
DD: Every essay is different. I’ve had essays get picked up the first time I submit, others that take ten to twenty rejections, and others that never get accepted. So many things influence it. The time of year, what other writers are writing, what’s going on in the world.
AH: Was it an easy process for you, as an author?
DD: I wouldn’t call it easy, but I wanted to do everything I could to make the book shine. And it isn’t like I threw the essays (that didn’t make the final version) away. I still have them saved, and hopefully one day I will share them somewhere when they are ready.
AH: How did you go about finding a publisher? Did the publishing house include services like editing and design, or did you source the editors and designers separately? How long did the publication process take?
DD: I bought a book called Writer’s Market, which is a directory of publishers. I went through the book, page by page, highlighting and tabbing every publisher that accepted memoirs. Afterward, I worked on submitting. I think the submission process took a little less than a year. Luckily, my publisher included editing and design (including the interior design), but a friend of mine created the cover.
AH: Who did you write the book for? Who do you see as your target audience?
DD: I see my target audience as anyone who enjoys reading. But to be more specific, my target audience is age 30+, a memoir reader, probably identifies as female (but not necessarily), middle class, and an interest in understanding familial issues and relationship dynamics.
Part Two coming soon.