Danele is a sweet spirit with a personal story as compelling as the fiction she writes. I hope you enjoy getting to know and enjoy her as much as I have since we first met face to face in May of 2014 in the Rocky Mountains.
When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five, but illness seemed to cut those dreams short. A faulty furnace in my home had a low-level carbon monoxide leak that almost killed me. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. My illness continued to worsen, and eventually, I was quarantined in my home for seven years. As I began to regain my health, I used writing as a way to escape my physical pain and loneliness. When the pain was especially bad, I would lie in bed, look up at the ceiling, and think up plot twists and funny scenes. The Time Counselor Chronicles was my secret land. It was my escape hatch. It was the place where my pain, heartache, and loneliness couldn’t invade. By the time quarantine was over, I had written the first six book in my series. Time Tsunami, my first book, was published just a few weeks ago. When I was writing my books, I harbored a breathless dream that they would someday be published, but publication wasn’t why I was writing. I was writing to entertain myself and give myself hope.
What’s your pet peeve?
Besides pens that leak all over my manuscript or running out of Post-It-Notes? I suppose it would be lack of time. The days stream by so quickly. It feels like I just get up and then it’s time to go to bed again. I don’t know how the hours fly by so fast! I get whiplash just by looking at the clock! I also HATE hyphens. I drive myself NUTS over hyphens. Honestly, they are the bane of my existence. It doesn’t matter how much I study the rules surrounding them—I still get confused. Most people get confused over commas—but me?? Ugg!! It’s those nasty little hyphens. I actually had a nightmare about them once—the hyphens in my manuscript turned into squirmy, hissing snakes and crawled over and tried to strangle me.
What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
Oh, Susan! You ACTUALLY want me to admit it?? It’s funny now, but it was horrible at the time. When I was getting ready for the Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, one of the things I had to do was prepare a synopsis of Time Tsunami. I worked for months on that synopsis. I perfected EVERY detail. I scrutinized every comma—the placement of every sentence. But when I went to the conference and began handing my synopsis out to editors, I realized that I had misspelled tsunami. Oh!—The!—Agony! It reminded me of my high school graduation party when I “Mr. Cleaned” the counters twenty times and totally forgot to dust the end tables by the couch. Somehow, the word “tsunami” was wrong in my computer’s dictionary, and I never caught the mistake. Luckily, no one at the conference did either—or else they were too nice to mention it.
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
Hands down, my illness. There were years when I literally couldn’t write a word. I’d try so hard to write, but it was as if the creative part of my brain was frozen. It was like trying to run on crippled feet or trying to see with blind eyes. When my partial amnesia cleared up, so did my problems with writing. I was so glad when I could write stories again. There is such a creative rush that occurs during the writing process. I really missed it when I was ill.
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
Being a writer can be very scary. You’re taking a secret part of yourself, putting it on display, and holding it up for criticism. You’ve spent countless hours agonizing over your book, trying to make it just right. You hope that everyone will love it, but that’s not realistic. We live in a world where some people don’t like chocolate or ice cream. And if that’s the case, there’s no way everyone is going to like what you write. Rejection hurts, but I try to put it in perspective. And the first step is to categorize why the negative review is coming my way. Is it constructive and meant to make me better? Is it a matter of taste—like broccoli vs. green beans? Or is it mean? If it’s constructive, I listen and try to learn. If it’s a matter of taste, I try to shrug it off. If it’s mean-spirited, I pray for that person and realize that everyone has bad days. When it comes to rejection, I think the most important thing is to be confident in who you are and what you are writing. If you love your book, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says–but OUCH it hurts sometimes!
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
The proudest moment of my life was when my father told me he loved my book.
What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
- Don’t force publication. Wait on God’s timing. Make sure you’re where God wants you to be. Seek His face. God has a perfect plan in motion—wait for it to unfold. And when God tells you to move—do it!
- Try to make a schedule and write something—even if it’s only a sentence—every day. Use the moments right before you go to sleep, and right after you wake up, to think about your story. I plan most of my dialogue and plot twists that way—not at the computer.
- Enjoy writing. Make it fun. Write for YOUR pleasure. Get a KICK out of it! If your book is entertaining to you—it probably will be for your readers too. Giggle at your funny scenes. Cry at your sad ones. Be breathless. Be energized. Don’t stand aloof from your characters—live the story with them. Let your book come alive. Immerse yourself in it, and HAVE A BLAST!
As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
I wrote my novels as a way to distract myself from physical pain and the loneliness of quarantine. I want my books to be an enjoyable escape for my readers. I want them to get lost in the world I created. But more than that, I want my readers to see God’s love. During quarantine, I came to a deeper understanding of God and my relationship with Him. I’m hoping that some of what I learned is transmitted through the pages of my novels.
What is your current work in process?
On January 15th my book, Time Tsunami, was released. Time Tsunami is the first book in The Time Counselor Chronicles. I wrote it while I was in quarantine, and I had such a BLAST creating the characters and engineering plot twists! Here’s the back cover blurb:
To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past… Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children. For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen. Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother. If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive. William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission…
I hope that people will really enjoy my book. I hope it brings them happiness.
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Susan! I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and your readers.
Links to social media:
My Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/
My Blog’s Welcome Page: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/
Amazon link to my book: Time Tsunami