Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions for me about your new book!! I read a sample from Chapter 1 of Dangled Carat, on Amazon and now I know I must purchase it!! I was so involved in your story, so I am dying to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of memoirs because the writer is allowing every reader into the intimate details of their life. This is exciting for me because I follow your blog,Feeling Beachie, and have even been a co-host, participating in your blog hop, Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun. Now, you have published a memoir, so it feels like I get to share some of the happiness with you.
My first question to you is: What made you decide to go to New York for the writing conference BlogHer was hosting?
For as long as I can remember I wanted to write a book about my relationship with Marc. My story, I feel, is very relatable to so many women. Almost every girl has either dated a commitment-phobic man or has a friend who dated one. In fact, my desire to write this book is what prompted me to start my blog. I needed some writing practice
When I heard about the Blog Her Writing Conference (turning a blog into a book) I knew, if I went, it would be the motivation I needed to try and transform my dream into a reality. Oh, and it also didn’t hurt that I live on Long Island!
Which leads to my second question: Has Marc been supportive of Dangled Carat because your book is including details of his life as well?
Marc has been extremely supportive and encouraging during this entire process. He helped me select stories to include about our relationship and his life before me. But more importantly he helped me write the one scene I completely struggled with. The sex scene. My original draft didn’t include any S-E-X. My editor told me that a dating / relationship book needed some sex. I knew that she was right but I struggled with putting those words on the page. Marc helped me write that scene and told me what he thought I should include and where to end it….
But the best part? I don’t think Marc has read a book since grade school – he read Dangled Carat several times!
I’m very sorry to read about your Dad. My grandparents raised me, and when I was 15, he had a stroke. He lived a year and a half afterwards, but in a hospital bed at our home, being taken care of. So, I can relate to how devastating this had to be for you. Was it emotionally difficult to take your readers back to that moment and other moments in your life?
Donetta, I am so sorry about your grandfather.. Watching someone you love suffer from a stroke is devastating…
Yes, writing about my dad’s death was very emotionally difficult for me. As I wrote about it , I felt like I was once again a 14 year old girl watching the man I love fade away… There were many parts of this book that as I wrote tears would stream down my face. While it was hard to relive many of these moments it also felt good to get my feelings out – especially if my words could help someone else…. One such part was when I wrote about wearing my scoliosis brace. I actually admitted feelings and events in that scene that I never admitted in real life. And I am glad I did. Someone already contacted me and thanked me for sharing my feelings. Her daughter also wore a back brace when she was in high school, and after reading my words, she gained insight on her daughter’s feelings. Like me, her daughter didn’t complain, she kept her emotions within.
I have read where some authors feel like a memoir helps them work through emotions and some authors feel the exact opposite. What are your feelings about that?
I totally feel that a memoir helps you through your emotions and also helps make you realize what events in your life affected you the most and shaped you into the person you are. I never put all the pieces of me together until I started writing.
Reading and listening to wonderful reviews about Dangled Carat, I feel honored you took time to answer questions I have. Have you had time to enjoy publishing Dangled Carat?
Ah… and I am honored you are interviewing me! When you see your dream come true, how can you not enjoy? I took the week of 9/16 off from work so that I could promote and enjoy the publishing experience and I am so glad I did! One of the side benefits of publishing my book is it has given me the opportunity to reconnect with so many people in my life that I haven’t spoken to in a while. I totally enjoyed all my emails and Facebook messages.
Who are your favorite authors and have they had an influence on your writing?
Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors. She, in a lot of ways, is responsible for Dangled Carat. Before I read her first memoir, Bitter is the New Black, I didn’t know what a blog or a memoir was. Now I have two blogs and have published a memoir.
Christina Baker Kline, NY Times bestselling author of Orphan Train (as well as many other equally great novels), is my other favorite author. She had a major impact on my writing since she was also my editor! Christina taught me so much. Whenever I write anything (even a simple email) I hear her voice!
If you could describe your writing style in 3 words, what would they be?
Conversational, humorous and honest
Also, have you always wanted to become a published writer or did starting a blog push you in that direction?
As I mentioned before I always wanted to be a published author, but I didn’t know if I had what it took to actually accomplish that goal. I also didn’t know if anyone would be interested in what I had to say. That is why I started the blog, Feeling Beachie, to test the waters. Once I started writing, I was hooked!
Do you have any advice you can share with fellow bloggers on the publishing experience? I know so many people that have ran into scams and other problems trying to publish their work.
My advice for publishing is the same for any other business. Surround yourself with people smarter than you, and keep an open mind so you can learn from them. Also, trust your gut. I had a wonderful editor, I used an amazing company – Street Light Graphics – to design my cover and format my book. Also, don’t get easily discouraged… Rejection happens – it is a part of the process…
I know life has to be super busy for you, especially now. How do you unwind from all of this?
I am the classic type A person… I don’t think I ever completely unwind
Are there any plans in your future for another book?
I would love to write more. In fact I have some ideas…
I appreciate your time, Hilary. I seen on Feeling Beachie that your having a giveaway for a signed copy, $25 Victoria Secret Gift Card, and a Sandi Rose CD!! I’m heading to your blog now to enter and to follow up on your blog tour. Congratulations on Dangled Carat and I’m looking forward to reading more about your friends scheming to get Marc set on a proposal and marriage. Is there anything you’d like to share or add?
Thanks so much Donetta for this interview! I really appreciate it! The current giveaway is one of many I have planned… so stay tuned (all will be announced on the Dangled Carat Facebook Page as well as both blogs)
***Blogger’s Side Note*** Sorry if I confused anyone. For some reason yesterday I could not get the Interview posted into this blog no mater how hard I tried. It was not formatted correctly and edit after edit was not fixing it. I decided last night to give it a break and come back to it. I finally changed blog templates, which made it worse. Finally, I hope this post will do Hilary’s interview some justice. I am a perfectionist at times, well…………..OCD all the time. Please everyone go check out Dangled Carat!!!***