Danielle Dayney on writing books: Don’t give up! It takes time and patience

It is great to have the lovely Danielle Dayney for our ‘Behind the Book’ segment. Born and raised in Ohio, Danielle started writing rock concert reviews for 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. When Love Sticks is her debut memoir.

What was the defining moment when you felt When Love Sticks Around must be written as a memoir?

Danielle- The defining moment was when I started a blog back in 2016. I started sharing some of my stories there, and I ended up connecting with other readers and writers who had similar experiences in some form. I made life-long friends in the blogging community, and we encouraged each other to keep writing throughout the years. 

From the feedback I received, I knew that some of the things I went through as a child and young adult could help someone else, even if that help was only showing one person that they are not alone in whatever they are going through.

How did you finalise the title When Love Sticks Around? Did you write the book first or the title?

Danielle- The title of my memoir was actually one of the last things finalised, aside from the cover. When Love Sticks Around went through several titles before my project manager and I landed on this one. None of the others felt authentic to the book, so she suggested going through my essays and finding one that encompassed the major theme. After several pages of brainstorming, we chose it. And since most of the stories in my book relate to love in some capacity, we felt it fit the book perfectly.

It is never easy to talk about your personal self in a book. How difficult was it to decide what parts should go into the book and what should get avoided?

Danielle- Plenty of the stories I wrote about my childhood and young adulthood didn’t end up in this book. Some I knew right away because they didn’t fit the theme or propel the story forward, and some didn’t get cut until later stages in the editing process by my project manager, so it was about fifty/fifty. 

How long did it take you to write your memoir? Was there any particular challenge that you had to face while writing When Love Sticks Around? 

Danielle- This book was written on and off since my mom passed away in 2012, but it has grown and morphed from those early edits into what it is today over a slow, mostly organic process. 

Finding time to write and edit (and edit again) has been the biggest challenge. Though I am a stay-at-home mom to my two kids, that doesn’t always equal free time. I have to wake up early to write and edit because kids, dogs, and housework consume most of the day.

How many re-edits did you have to go through for When Love Sticks Around?

Danielle- When Love Sticks Around went through several self-edits, then two edits with a hired editor, and finally five or six edits with the publisher, followed by three more proof edits.

What drew your attention to the world of writing?

Danielle- I have always enjoyed writing, even as a child. I wrote my first book in second grade and went to the local Young Authors Conference, where I met the children’s book author, Bernard Waber. He wrote the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile series and, fittingly, signed my book in a green pen. I still have that book in a memory box somewhere.

What has been your biggest takeaway from writing this book?

Danielle- Wow. I guess my biggest takeaway has been that writing the book is only part of publishing a book. There is so much more involved, like marketing, speaking, and connecting with other writers and readers. 

What do you hope readers will discover in When Love Sticks Around?

Danielle- I hope readers will discover that they are not alone in whatever they are going through and that good thing can come from bad experiences.

If you could, would you change anything in your writing journey from start to now?

Danielle- If I could change anything about my writing journey, I would go back to my college years and take more writing classes. I love learning about the writing craft, and since deciding to become a writer, I’ve read countless craft books and taken seven (I think, but maybe more) online writing classes. I wish I had started that sooner. 

What is an ideal day in the life of Danielle Dayney like?

Danielle- An ideal day for me would be waking up early to drink my coffee and write in the quiet, getting my kids up and off to school, an hour of yoga or a nice walk with a friend, an hour to shower and properly do my hair, and maybe a home decorating show on television while I fold laundry before my kids get home from school. Once they are home, a nice dinner together as a family, followed by an early bedtime. 

What is the last book you read and loved?

Danielle- The last book I read and loved was Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I typically only read thrillers and memoirs, but I loved the author’s voice in this book. It’s a satirical story about race and privilege. 

What are you working on next?

Danielle- Next, I am working on another memoir and also a novel set in Detroit. I’m not sure which will be ready to publish first.

Do you have any messages or suggestions for the emerging writers out there?

Danielle- Don’t give up! Writing a book takes time and patience. Also, get involved in writers’ groups, whether in person or online. It will inspire you and keep you focused on finding and connecting with like-minded peers.

When Love Sticks Around by Danielle Dayney will be out on November 15, 2021, available at all leading bookstores.

Read our book review for When Love Sticks Around here.