Monday, October 05, 2015

Interview with Danielle Soucy Mills, author of 'Illusion of an Ending'



Danielle Soucy Mills is the award-winning author of children’s book, Tina Tumbles and Visionary & Metaphysical novel, Illusion of an Ending. A lover of books since childhood, she studied English and creative writing at Rhode Island College, before moving to California to earn her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Chapman University. She enjoys writing books for both children and adults which inspire, encourage, and delve into our Divine purpose for being. Danielle has made guest appearances on The Nancy Ferrari Show on iHeart Radio, The Writer’s Divine Den Radio Show, and has been featured in Bellésprit Magazine. She currently resides in San Diego with her wonderful husband, Jesse, and her ever-growing collection of books.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Thank you so much for having me! My novel, Illusion of an Ending, was inspired one fateful day when I was leaving work in the small city of Cranston, RI. As I was turning left onto a very busy road, it was almost as if a car fell out of the sky right in front of me, causing my first accident. While I cursed myself for being so stupid, at the same time, I took a big deep breath. Waiting for the police, I began talking with other man who turned out to be in a rental car visiting all the way from southern California. It was during our conversation that I had a strong feeling that there were no accidents, that I would someday write about this day, and also that I would end up moving to California too. It was odd because I remember the man talking about how the roads in California were not nearly as dangerous as this one in RI. When I returned home in search of some sort of consolation, I learned that a friend had lost his childhood friend in an accident on that very same day in California, just an hour away from where the man in my accident lived. I was absolutely devastated for my friend and the young man’s family. I realized in that moment that accidents can happen anywhere, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot go back in time to change things.

I began my search online for MFA programs out in California shortly after. When I found Chapman University in Orange, CA I knew in my heart right away that this was where I would end up. I also received inspiration for a character who passed away suddenly in a motorcycle accident at a young age, but had a very important message to communicate to his grieving mother and the world of the living.

The way things continued to fall into place to get me to California contributed to the structure of my book. It ended up that a young woman whose family lived about 20 minutes from my prospective graduate school, transferred to my small college in Rhode Island for just one semester, enabling me to stay with her in California to visit the school, while also securing a job coaching gymnastics at her gym. I met several great people on my visit—many who ended up being connected to my roommates that I later “randomly” met after finding a place to live online.

Because of the synchronicity in my own experiences, I realized that my book would intertwine three characters’ stories to show how people come into our lives and also leave our lives for a reason—that nothing that happens to us is random or by accident. Jimmy aimed to let his mother, Patricia, know that despite his death, he was okay, and would always remain by her side. Struggling to return to her daily life consumed with grief, Patiricia’s path would somehow unite with 16-year old Lorrena who possessed the uncanny ability to see and hear spirits, but who did not truly understand her gift.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I think the most difficult part about writing this book was that I did not initially know how my characters’ stories would intertwine, and also that I did not have the typical “protagonist and antagonist.” Luckily, I had a lot of help from my professors and fellow grad students in putting this book together.

One professor explained how he outlined everything in his books before he even started writing. In writing my book, I found that as I kept going, I continued to receive inspiration on what would happen next, and also that I had subconsciously included parts that led things to come together at the end.

My advice to other writers would be to trust your own writing process. Everyone is different. The more faith you have that you will be guided to the way that works best for you, the easier it is to receive inspiration. I totally believe that our inspiration comes from a place similar to our intuition—we just have to listen to and trust our inner voice.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

When I first started searching for literary agents and publishers, it was difficult to find the perfect fit due to the genre of my book. My book was not Genre Fiction, not quite Literary Fiction, but when I discovered Visionary & Metaphysical fiction, I knew it was exactly where my book belonged, regardless of its popularity.

I did end up finding a small independent publishing company to pick up both my children’s picture book and my novel. Things eventually fell through though, and so after re-doing the illustrations in my picture book with my illustrator, I fell into independent publishing. Not by coincidence, I had met another best-selling, award-winning independent author by the name of Sheri Fink who guided me along the road to independent publishing. I felt that just like my move across coasts, the events in my life continued to hint about the publishing path I should take.

After my children’s book won an award, I gained confidence to move forward with publishing my novel. I also had a strong feeling that people needed its message—a message that was not necessarily my own, but coming from the people/characters who inspired it.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I think I was most surprised at how different it was to produce and market a children’s books from a novel. For my children’s book, I ended up doing a large hardcover print run, while my novel I did paperback print-on-demand. My children’s book hit the algorithm on Amazon easily because of the small category, and continues to sell without effort, mostly in hardcover. While my novel became a hot new release on Amazon, it has proved to be a little more difficult to market, yet I have received great feedback on how it’s helped many people so far, making it well worth the effort.

It’s also been surprising but really incredible to meet so many other independent authors satisfied with the route they’ve taken because of the control they’ve had in creating their books, and their success with self-promotion. While I felt that I was totally guided to publish independently, I am still keeping an eye out for the perfect agent, especially since life proves to get busier with my coaching job and baby girl on the way. Also, I think a part of me yearns to learn from a partner with a greater knowledge of the publishing industry.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working on several other children’s books as well as another Visionary & Metaphysical novel about guardian angels. It’s been quite interesting and somewhat difficult writing and marketing different genres, but my goal has always been to write books for both children and adults which inspire, encourage, and delve into our divine person for being. I love to write books that make people see the world in a different way, no matter the age group.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I’d say my favorite place to hang out online is Facebook, with Instagram coming in a close second. It’s amazing the web of people you meet online and how everyone seems to be connected in strange ways. I truly love connecting with like-minded individuals, wherever they come from, on whatever platform.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I mention earlier that the message in my book was not all my own. I truly felt like this book was a voice for people who have passed on and appear to be gone from our lives, but have so much more life ahead of them and never truly leave us.

So much of our media portrays death as something scary and gruesome. We are also led to believe that there is no way to really know where we go when we die until it happens. I felt that my character’s message was that death is not anything to fear. He shares the pure and utter bliss that he experiences when transitioning back into spirit form, and how much we actually continue to help others after we pass on. The cool part is that I did a lot of research into people’s near death experiences, memories of life between lives, and afterlife communication. A lot of the concepts I use in this book are very real to many people.

We all form different beliefs throughout our lives, so I encourage anyone who reads this book to do so with an open mind and heart. Faith can be strong, but it’s experience that drives it home.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

It’s been a pleasure. There’ve been many times where I doubted myself despite knowing from a young age that writing was what I came here to do. There were times when even my own parents thought it might be better to take a different career path in order to make sure I was financially stable…It was during those times of doubt that I really found my inner drive to pursue my dreams.

After publishing my children’s book and holding the book in my hands for the first time, I felt the total realization that it was happening. My dreams were a reality, and it felt so good. So, I came up with this quote for kids and adults who may question their dreams and goals, but ultimately know within the core of their being what they are meant to do: Live the dream in your heart and never look back.

About the Book:

Title: Illusion of an Ending
Author: Danielle Soucy Mills
Publisher: Aerial Awareness Media
Pages: 200
Genre: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction
Three peoples’ life stories intertwine with a synchronistic twist.

Jimmy Pollaski, a young man at the peak of his potential, dies suddenly in a motorcycle accident. As his spirit hovers above his lifeless body, he calls out to his mother, Patricia, only to find that his words are inaudible. He then promises to find some way to transmit his message to the world of the living.

It is no coincidence that Lorrena Shaw can see him, along with other spirits—a gift that Lorrena’s mother shuns. After her mother suddenly announces that they will abandon their home in Connecticut to care for Lorrena’s grandmother—a grandmother she has never known—Lorrena inevitably finds herself in the same small Massachusetts city where Patricia resides.

As their paths unite, Lorrena discovers the unbearable grief that haunts Patricia’s every move. Now, not only must she convince Patricia that her son’s soul has survived the fatal crash, she must also travel beyond space and time to access the Akashic Records, the library of all of Human Existence, and write their stories as one—a story that ultimately shatters the boundaries between life and death.

If you liked The 5 People You Meet in Heaven or The Celestine Prophecy, you’ll love Illusion of an Ending.

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