I had the great pleasure of reviewing Danielle Dayney’s book, When Love Sticks Around. We then did an interview … enjoy!
This is Part Two of my interview with Danielle Dayney.
Read Part One.
DANIELLE DAYNEY ON THEME: LOVE AND FAMILY
AH: You often state that you didn’t/couldn’t trust the relationships you had with your two father figures – with your biological father, because he was often absent; and with your step-father, because you doubted that he could love you (especially in comparison to his love for his biological daughter, your half-sister). How have these experiences shaped your view of family?
DD: I realized when I was older that my stepfather did love me, he just wasn’t great at showing it. And because of my grandmother, grandfather, mom, and even my stepdad, I had a great understanding of what family should be and do. In my experience, I know that family shows up when no one else does. They help and support however they can.
AH: How would you sum up your relationship with your two fathers now?
DD: I have a really great relationship with my stepdad. We get along well, and he is an awesome grandfather to my kids. I wish we saw him more often, but we live several states away from him. And I don’t have a relationship with my biological father at all anymore. He said some extremely hurtful things the last time we spoke, and I want to protect my children from that. Abuse isn’t always physical. He was emotionally abusive to me that day. I have forgiven him, but I don’t think he has changed.
AH: You are now a parent yourself: have your experiences and relationships caused you to act (or not act) in a certain way, because you wanted to do things differently with and for your children?
DD: I am protective of my kids. They are the most important thing to me and my husband, who is a great dad. Because of my experiences, I tell them every single day how much I love them. I don’t want my children to ever feel like they aren’t loved. I’m also honest with them about my biological father. They know why he isn’t in our lives, and although they don’t fully know all the details they know enough to understand that he did some hurtful things.
AH: Upon reflection on your upbringing, would you say you were a close family (especially the family unit of your mother, step-father, sister and you)?
DD: I think we were very close, especially me, my mom, and my sister.
AH: Do you consider you have a close family now?
DD: Although we live far from each other, we are all very close. My sister is my best friend. I talk to her on the phone at least a couple times a week, and we plan a trip to see them every summer. It’s great because my husband also gets along well with her husband, and the kids all play well together. My mom would be so happy.
AH: Did you have the support of your family as you wrote this book? Was there anyone who did not support you/was not happy? If so, how did you navigate that?
DD: I did have the support of my husband and children, as well as my stepdad, sister, and all of my aunts and uncles. The only person who would not support me and wasn’t happy about me writing this memoir was my biological father. I tried really hard to get him to open up and give me any stories that could help shape this memoir and my life history, but he only ended up yelling at me and calling me names. I’m not sure why he is the way he is, but my story needed to be shared, regardless of how he felt.
DANIELLE ON HER CURRENT PROJECTS:
AH: What sorts of things are you doing now, with your book?
DD: Promotion, finding reviewers, doing interviews, submitting to media outlets. There are so many pieces to the publishing puzzle that require time and effort. Plus I just finished my first novel, and I’m working on my query letter and synopsis.
AH: What are you currently working on?
DD: Other than book promotion, I have several ideas for novels brewing.
AH: What else would you like the audience to know about you and your writing?
DD: Oh my … I’m not even sure how to answer this one. I guess I would like anyone who reads my book to know how humbled and appreciative that I am. I do not take any of this for granted: getting my book published, having people connect with it, or even life itself. So thank you to anyone reading my book.