Today we travel to Virginia to chat with Danielle Dayney about how writing for a music magazine, two doodles, Grease, two daughters, Queen, a monarch butterfly, and The Snorks come together as part of Danielle’s past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Sure! I live in Virginia, just south of Washington D.C. in a small town with my husband of almost 17 years, my two daughters, and my two doodles. My house is a circus when everyone is awake, so I do most of my writing in the early morning hours while the house is still quiet.
I have been a writer of some sort, on and off for most of my life. I wrote my first short story in second grade; in college I wrote for a music magazine, interviewing rock bands and reviewing CDs (remember those things?); and before I quit my job as a real estate assistant in 2016, I wrote property descriptions. Since quitting that job, I have focused on my own writing again.
How many published books do you have?
I have one published book, a coming-of-age memoir titled When Love Sticks Around.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Reminders of Him, by Colleen Hoover. I recently discovered her when I read her psychological thriller, Verity, and I love her writing style. This book is not a thriller but is equally good.
What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
Grease! I have probably watched that movie a thousand times, but it never gets old. I watched it with my mom when I was a kid, and now I watch it with my daughters. There’s the music, the dancing, and most of all, the relationship between Danny and Sandy. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have any one of those epic dance scenes happen in their lives?
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking?
I get really, really, nervous before any kind of public speaking, so I rarely do it. But two songs come to mind that would probably help me calm down: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. I guess I have eclectic music taste.
What cartoons did you watch as a child?
I am an eighties kid, so I watched Scoobie Doo, Flintstones, Jetsons, The Smurfs, The Snorks, and so many more. I was a cartoon junkie. But my favorite cartoon as a child was Jem and the Holograms. By far. I never missed an episode except for the day my mom and stepdad got married at the courthouse. As you can see from the photo below, I wasn’t too happy about that.
What’s your favorite insect, and why?
My favorite insect is the monarch butterfly. When I was in second grade, my teacher brought in these caterpillars with green, white, and black stripes for us to care for. We fed them, gave them water, and watched them wrap themselves up into a chrysalis before completing their metamorphosis and becoming gorgeous orange and black butterflies. Ever since, they have been my favorite insect and favorite butterfly.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I absolutely believe things happen for a reason.
One time, when my husband and I first moved to Virginia, we put an offer in on a house in a small town other than the one we live in now. It was cute, right on a small lake. But the appraisal came back at a whopping $75,000 under the contract price. We ended up walking away from it and renting a townhouse in our current town on a street called Papillion (the French word for butterfly, which felt like kismet). That was in 2012. We loved it so much we never left the area.
Looking back, if we had purchased that other house, we wouldn’t have been as happy there and my husband’s drive to work would have been atrocious.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a novel set in Detroit, Michigan, a city that holds a very dear place in my heart. I lived there from 2005 until 2009 with my husband. We were in our mid-twenties, and made life-long friends there. I still think of it as a second home. I’m also working on another memoir. All the while, I’m actively marketing my recently released memoir, When Love Sticks Around.
Tell us about your most recent book.
When Love Sticks Around is a coming-of-age memoir about growing up poor in the Midwest. It’s also about living in a blended family and what those relationships, or lack of relationships, look like. Mostly, it’s about love.
It was great having you on MTA, and learning more about you and your writings, Danielle. Here’s wishing you much success with your memoir and future books! – Camilla
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.
Where to purchase the book.
The book can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, and other retailers.
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