Welcome back, everyone! I’m kicking off my return from exhile with an author interview. Check out what Danielle had to say about Stealing Polina, writing, and more. 🙂
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer. I’m a recent college graduate living in New Jersey. I graduated with a degree in creative writing, and I adored my program and my time at school. I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer; I can’t remember a time when I seriously wanted to be anything else! I’m an avid journal-keeper and a voracious reader. I’m lucky to be surrounded by friends who share an equal love for reading; there are always great book recommendations floating around! When I’m not writing or reading, I love photography, trying out new restaurants, and spending time with my family.
2) You just released the story, Stealing Polina. Tell us a little bit about it. H is a wealthy businessman who is not above cavorting with criminals in order to line his pockets. When Polina, a pretty new company intern, captures his attention, H will do whatever it takes to claim her as his own. Set against the backdrop of a big city full of dazzling people, H and Polina’s story is a modern retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone.
3) What made you decide to pick this myth for a re-telling? In the Greek myth, Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnaps Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. I’ve always been drawn to this myth because it shows the sort of power-play between Hades and Demeter in the fight to “own” Persephone. Also, anything with pomegranates is good in my book! But in all seriousness, the myth of Hades and Persephone has always been a favorite of mine. I saw a lot of potential for it as a modern update.
4) Tell us a bit about your writing process. What kind of schedule do you keep, and do you have anything special you do to get into the writing zone? Because my weekdays are pretty busy with commuting into New York City, I make sure that I at least write in my journal every morning on the train. My journal is a mix of personal writing and story notes. I jot down ideas and thoughts everywhere: on scrap paper, in emails to myself, in my iPhone’s notepad app… I’m constantly thinking. Do I have a set writing routine? Not really. I certainly miss locking myself away in the basement of the college library and writing for hours, with only a large cappuccino for company…
5) What’s the first book you remember reading? Aside from picture books? I have such a fond memory of reading The Hobbit in 4th grade. Our class was awarded paper “scoops” of ice cream to top a paper ice cream cone on the wall for every book we read. I think I initially read The Hobbit because it was a “big” book and might be worth more than one scoop! But a story like that sticks with you. It opened my eyes to just how freeing and exciting writing fiction can be.
6) What’s one of the most helpful bits of advice you’ve come across/received since you started writing? I had a fantastic memoir professor during my last semester of school. On the first night of class she said, “The most important thing you can do as a writer is write your ass off.” That has absolutely stuck with me.
7) What character would you most like to meet in real life? I’d love to meet Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Maybe he could just take me out for a fancy dinner and we can talk about “mergers and acquisitions” or Phil Collins. I’d leave way before it turned into a terrifying, creepy evening.
8) Name one book you wish you’d written and why. I wish I had written The Adults, by Alison Espach. It is one of the most beautifully-written books, with such a believable narrator. It’s the kind of coming-of-age story that I’ve always aspired to write.
9) How do you promote your work? I love to promote my work on my blogs, A Writer in Love and The Writing of Danielle Villano. Personally, I’m also a huge social media freak. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads… I love it all!
10) Besides your new release, what else have you got planned for your readers? I’m thrilled about the release of Stealing Polina. I want to continue to publish short pieces on various online literary magazines. I will continue to work on my novel. Of course, readers can always find my writing on my blogs!
Danielle Villano is a New Jersey native. She’s a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase, where she studied creative writing and literature . Her fiction and creative non-fiction has found its way to Storychord, FortyOunceBachelors, Scissors and Spackle,Marco Polo, Milk Sugar, Pixelhose, and TOSKA Magazine. She also has a short story in HerStory: Fiction Honoring Women’s History Month by Pagan Writers Press. Her short story, Stealing Polina, was released as an ebook as part of the For the Love of the Gods anthology by Pagan Writers Press.
Danielle is the recipient of the 2012 Ginny Wray Senior Prize in Fiction from SUNY Purchase. She is currently working on a novel centered around a film-obsessed teens in 1990s Los Angeles.
When not writing, Danielle loves photography, theater, film, fashion, spending time with her family and friends, and attending themed parties. She also maintains a personal lifestyle / fashion blog at A Writer in Love.