It is getting warmer! My hammock has been hung and my mind wanders in search of great summer reads!
My favorite read this spring was Pulled by Danielle Bannister. Her first novel is just fabulous! Here is the review I posted on Amazon.com after reading it from cover to cover:
” There are so many reasons I LOVE this book. First of all, it is hauntingly beautiful. It drew me in immediately. Second, I love the theatrical form of the book. It fits perfectly with the storyline which involves the main characters playing Romeo and Juliet in a college production. The author moves the book along by writing from the perspective of Nayla and then from the perspective of Etash. I literally wept for the characters.
At times I wept at the tragedy of the situation and at times because I could feel so much for them. This is a book with soul and excitement. I started it in the evening, read until way too late, dreamed about the characters and finished the book in the morning. Pulled offers characters who grab you by the heart and race you forward. Reading it feels inevitable and necessary. It is a brilliant and beautiful read for anyone who knows that “the course of true love never did run smooth.”
I had the chance to ask Danielle a few questions this week. She is dedicated and she is a delight!
Amy: How do you make time to write?
Danielle: With two small kids, a husband and two part time jobs, it’s not an easy thing to do! But the one thing I have learned is that once you decide to ‘become a writer’ you need to make writing a priority. Which means, for me, scheduling writing time. At the same time, however, you need to be realistic. The housework still needs to get done, dinners still need to be cooked and children still need to cuddle. It’s all about finding a compromise that works for you. My deal with myself is to write 1,000 words a day or edit for 2 hours during the 5 day work-week. That’s what I can do right now in my life. For others, it may only be 500 words, or a just a journal entry. But committing to do something is the first step.
Amy: I felt the same way when I was writing Transformational Mothering. If my son was asleep I was writing. I remember thinking, “Oh, please…let him sleep just a few more minutes…” How long did it take you to finish Pulled?
Danielle: A little over two years. Of course, at the time, I was also homeschooling my then 7 and 5 year old. Now that they’re in school, I’m clipping along at a faster pace on the sequel. But I think it’s important to point out that writing and EDITING take time. Two years is not an unheard of amount of time to write a book. That’s because the last thing you want to do is try to push unedited versions of your manuscript off to agents or self-publishing sites. This is especially important to self-published authors, like myself. The industry already thinks of the self-published book as less then ideal. No need to fuel their debate with a book that’s full of errors!
Amy: I absolutely agree and I am so glad you self published. Your book is a great example of the great writing that is out there and going unnoticed by big houses. How did the idea to write a novel come about?
Danielle: Honestly, it came from a dream, as cliche as that may sound. It wasn’t an entire dream, just an image actually, but it was such a powerful one that it wouldn’t leave me. I’d never written a book before, or even a short story. I was a just 35 year old mom who had her BA in theatre, but worked in a law office! I had no business or training to write a novel. But the image kept burning itself into my head–demanding to come out, so I started writing. Before I knew it, I had ten pages down. At that point, it was the longest thing I’d ever written. The writing muse bit me that day, and I’ve been writing, researching and taking classes ever since.
Amy: You entered Pulled in this year’s Amazon’s Break Through Novel Award and did really well! Tell us a bit about that.
Danielle: A fellow writing friend of mine said I should enter this contest that Amazon hosts every year. It’s a contest for novels that haven’t been traditionally published. I ended up making it all the way to the quarter-finals–which means my book was one of 250 out of a pool of 5,000 entries. It was quite a nice feeling having your first novel ever make it that far! It was sort of validation that I could do this.
Amy: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
Danielle: It has to be this quote: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”- E.L. Doctorow That quote is the best way to describe how I feel about how characters can really drive your story if you just get out of the way and let them take the wheel.
Amy: I love that! That is exactly how I feel when I am writing a new song. So Danielle, tell us, what is your “lullaby-link?” What is a piece of music that links you to a person, or place or place in time?
This is an easy one. I listened to Enya a lot while writing Pulled. There is even a dance sequence that wrote itself in there because of one particular song of hers called Boadicea. Every time I hear that song now, I think of that point in the novel.
Amy: It is amazing how music can move us and inspire us isn’t it? Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us today, and your work with the world!
Danielle: You are so welcome.
To find out more about Danielle you can reach the author by visiting her website:
Danielle has generously offered a signed copy of her fabulous book Pulled to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment below with your favorite summer read (I need suggestions!) and my son will draw the winner on the 31st! Good luck!