Danielle Allen is a novelist, professor, and life coach. Living authentically has been the key to her living her best life. With a background in social sciences, helping people better understand themselves so they can become the best version of themselves is one of her passions. Writing contemporary romance novels that change the status quo of the genre is another.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I’ve always wanted to write. When I was in the third grade, I wrote my first book! But it wasn’t until I created a 30 x 30 list that I actually attempted to write a novel. I wrote my first book (Back to Life) as a personal project. But I fell in love with storytelling and creating worlds that featured characters that looked like me and my friends. And that was it—I knew it was what I was meant to do. I knew nothing about the writing industry, but I was convinced to publish it.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My books are primarily contemporary romance (I also have two nonfiction motivational journals). Romance is the heart of all my storytelling, but I like to write stories that are different. There’s always a message and/or life lesson to my stories. I’ve tried to create my own lane. Readers can find my work on Amazon or on my website(AuthorDanielleAllen.com).
3) What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on the final novella in the Hot Holiday Hookup novella series. It’s a series of standalone novellas that focus on Zola’s friends reminiscing on their hottest holiday hookups. The premise was to have holiday hookups on atypical holidays. For instance, the first one is called Slow News Day (A Groundhog Day Hot Holiday Hookup). The next one takes place on April Fool’s Day and the last one surrounds Juneteenth. You’ll meet Zola later this year and how writing about her friend’s stories impacted her life.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
The very first time I received an email from a reader was the most significant achievement from an artistic standpoint. She wrote that reading my work was the first time she saw herself in a novel and thanked me. Making the transition to write full-time has been my most significant achievement career-wise. In the next five years, I hope to continue writing compelling stories that are outside the box.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Rejection happens—and that’s okay. I truly believe that what’s for me is for me. Everything I want may not be in line with what I need or what is part of my journey. Whenever I’ve encountered roadblocks, I took a minute to feel my feelings and then I looked for another way to accomplish my goal. I know my purpose is to write. So as long as I stay purpose-driven, I will always take rejection as redirection and keep moving forward.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
My schedule is to release a novel quarterly. I typically just let the characters talk to me and the story unfolds the way it wants. Most of the time I know the ending and I just write until I get there. I don’t outline my novels, but I do outline my novellas. When I’m working in the way that’s best for me, it takes about eight weeks to write a novel. But I’ve written a novel in a month before. That required a lack of sleep that was not good for me!
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
It is never too late to pursue your goal of writing! A good story always has an audience waiting for it—the two just have to connect. When you start your writing journey shouldn’t hinder your ability to succeed. And regardless of when you begin, finding and expanding your audience will always be a goal.
8) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I read Sula by Toni Morrison in high school and it blew me away. It was for an assignment, but I went on to read it again after the assignment was over because of the layers within the story. It was the first time I was assigned something that was by a black woman and about a black woman. That in and of itself was huge. My favorite author will always be Maya Angelou. Her words are as powerful as her voice. I’m currently reading a book of poetry by Edgar Allan Poe—for research 😊
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
I love my work! It doesn’t happen often, but I have carved out time to read my own novels over the years.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?
Nothing changes if nothing changes. I think it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening so you can plan and prepare for the changes that arise. But at the same time, you have to be true to yourself.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I’m a healer. My goal in life is to help others help themselves. Writing gives me an opportunity to encourage and empower through life lessons tucked into love stories. It is always my goal to make a reader feel something and that’s how I operate in my real life. I strive to connect with people in a way to help them heal.
Danielle Can also be found at these other forms of Social Media:
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Allen/e/B00JT0JUZS
Instagram @ authordanielleallen
Book + Main bookandmainbites.com/danielleallen
Twitter @ xDanielleAllenx
Bookbub @ authordanielleallen
My newsletter: http://bit.ly/2mfBe28
My website: www.authordanielleallen.com