Author Interview: Danielle Dayney

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Danielle Dayney, author of When Love Sticks Around , for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Danielle Dayney

Born and raised in Ohio, Danielle Dayney got her start writing rock concert reviews for a Toledo-based music magazine, THE GLASS EYE. Today, her work has appeared in the FREDERICKSBURG LITERARY AND ART REVIEW, online at HUFFINGTON POST, DEAD HOUSEKEEPING and THE MINDFUL WORD, and in several anthologies.

Her first book, WHEN LOVE STICKS AROUND, is out now.

You can connect with author Dayney here:
Author Website | Newsletter SignUp | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I have lived in four states: Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Virginia. Though Virginia is my favorite, I will always think of Detroit, Michigan as a “home”. I have two children, both girls, and two dogs, both doodles. And I have been married for almost seventeen years to my very best friend.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

This book is mostly about relationships; my relationship with my mother, my relationship with my stepfather, my (mostly) non-existent relationship with my biological father, and eventually my relationship with my husband and his family. 

While in the research phase of writing When Love Sticks Around, I interviewed aunts, uncles, my sister and my stepfather for pieces to my story that were a little blurry. My family answered any questions I had, even if they seemed ridiculous at the time. The only person who would not talk to me or share any stories with me was my biological father. To this day, unfortunately, we don’t speak.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book? 

The one message I’m trying to get across in this book is that love doesn’t always look like the typical thing we see in movies. Sometimes loving is merely the opposite of not loving; sometimes the smallest gesture, like sticking around, is love.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Because this is a memoir, some people may assume that my favorite character is myself, but that’s not the case. My mom is my favorite character in this book because she was so kind and selfless, but she also had an Irish temper, which made her fun to write. Plus writing her character helped me understand her a bit more.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

Shortly after my mom passed away, I had a dream about her. I was on a playground surrounded by a field of tiny white flowers with my daughter. In the distance there were two young girls wearing white dresses, swinging on an old metal swing set. I think the girls were me and my sister. As my daughter climbed the slide ladder, I noticed my mom walking toward me. She was also dressed in white, surrounded by tiny butterflies. When she was within arms’ reach, I hugged her. She said to me, “I’m okay now. I’m okay.”

When I awoke in the morning, I started writing about her – stories to remember her life, stories that made myself cry, and stories that I simply didn’t want to forget. That was in 2012, and though none of the stories I wrote back then are in my memoir, it was still the inspiration for this book, and also for my return to writing.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

A very long time, haha. It took me several years to put the pieces of this book together, a year to edit it and, after a publisher picked it up, another year to edit and proofread with my project manager. So about four or five years, give or take.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

Five years from today I see myself with a few more books published, one more memoir and hopefully a couple novels. I also see myself taking more writing classes, or maybe even going back to school for my Masters’ degree.

Are you working on any other story presently?

I am currently working on a second memoir about parenting with anxiety, and the first draft of that is close to being done. I’m also working on a novel set in Detroit, Michigan. 

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres? 

I dabble in fiction and poetry, especially when I feel stuck with whatever I’m currently working on in nonfiction, but writing memoir is my favorite. I started experimenting with short memoir pieces about six years ago to decode what was happening in my life and head. It’s my way of processing events and shedding light on the feelings involved with them. I really fell in love with the memoir style and have continued working at it since.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

There are several moments in my life that helped me decide to be a writer. First, in second grade my teacher took me to the local Young Authors Conference. I met Bernard Waber, the author of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, and he signed my book in green pen. Second, my first college English professor asked me to write for his music magazine called The Glass Eye. I interviewed bands and reviewed concerts. It wasn’t a bad gig. 

Even still, when I moved away from home, I stopped writing for a few years. I was busy with college, working as a part-time paralegal and raising my first daughter. I returned to it after my mom passed away in 2012, and I haven’t stopped since.

The thing I’ve sacrificed most to become a writer is sleep. I wake up very early every morning to write/edit/work on social media.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

Like I said above, I write very early in the morning while everyone in my house is asleep. I pour myself some coffee and head to my home office. My writer-brain works better in the morning.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer to mind map and write my first drafts by hand, then complete my first edit as I type it on my computer.

What are your 5 favourite books?

It’s so hard to narrow it down! I think one of my favorite fiction books would be The Help by Kathryn Stockett. My two favorite memoirs are More Now Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. My favorite thriller author is probably Lisa Jewell, as I’ve loved every book of her’s that I’ve read. I also love anything by Mary Karr, another memoir author.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

For me, writers’ block is an inevitable part of writing. It doesn’t happen very often, but it happens more than I’d like. When I have it, I like to take walks by myself, or listen to music relating to what I’m writing about. Sometimes that helps loosen the block.

What advice would you give to aspiring non-fiction writers?

Read. Take classes if you are able. And write ­– a lot.

Thank you, author Dayney, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

When Love Sticks Around

Hand-me-down pants that don’t quite fit, twilight bike rides down sleepy neighborhood streets, sweaty family camping trips, the things that almost break you, and the things you barely notice-it’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it.
In this collection of short essays, Danielle Dayney recounts her experiences as an awkward child in the piecemeal family that raised her. From her biological father’s absence to her mother’s battle with cancer to the birth of her daughter, Dayney’s stories venture beyond anecdote to nest safely among the tangled experiences that shape the people we become. With a keen eye for the pebbles of humor and glimmers of beauty along the rough roads of her life, Dayney has crafted a book that feels as familiar as a home-cooked meal and as exciting as the first night in a new city.

When Love Sticks Around is a memoir of love, loss, humor, identity, and above all, family-the one you’re born into and the one you gather along the way.
Those are the things worth sticking around for.

You can find When Love Sticks Around here:
Amazon (.com) | Amazon (.in) | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

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