Darie McCoy has had a lifelong love affair with books that has led her to try her hand a penning some of the stories that have been floating in her head for years. Since the flood gates are open, new characters are inviting themselves to the party. Darie loves to learn, so when characters show up and send her to the search bar, who knows where the next story will take her.

1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me!  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? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?

First, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview.  I’m not sure I can pinpoint a moment when I was certain that writing was my calling.  I’ve always loved reading and making up my own stories.  Venturing into being a published author is the result of a perfect storm of circumstances that led me to actually putting the characters in my head into actual stories for others to read.  I love the creative process—just letting my thoughts run wild and seeing what the people living in my head will come up with next. Writing is an art and like all other art, it’s subjective.  What can be frustrating is the ugly way people speak of and to authors when they don’t understand or appreciate a particular book or story line.  It’s part of the package, but it can be hurtful and frustrating.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? 

Sure. So far, I’ve published a novel (For Real) and a novella (Sano’s Queen).  Both are contemporary, interracial romances that feature more mature characters.  For Real is a bit of a romantic suspense, while Sano’s Queen is a Friends-to-Lovers/Sports romance.  What I mean by more mature is that the main characters are all over the age of thirty and are more settled in their lives and careers.  Readers can learn more about both by visiting my website, https://dariemccoyllc.com/.  There are blurbs for both books as well as links to my social media platforms, Amazon Author page and a sign up for my newsletter.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?

I draw inspiration from everyday life as well as my imagination.  I tend to look at what’s going on around me and ask, ‘What If’?  From that, ‘what if’, characters tend to show up and I start daydreaming about their stories.

4) 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?  What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working to develop more of a routine, but I pretty much write whenever the words come to me.  I do make plans with my sprint partners to write together on most weekends.  However, during the week, whenever the words are flowing, I write. I had a full outline for my first and second books, but I have more of a rough plot document for the novels I’m currently working on.  I find that I’m a mix of plotter and pantser. That’s a difficult one to answer because my first novel took me six months to write.  That doesn’t include the rounds of editing and proofreading.  However, I have two novels in process that I’ve been working on for more than a year. I currently have another romantic suspense novel in progress as well as a paranormal/shifter novel that I’m hoping to have ready for release later this year.

5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally?  Who is your favorite author to read?  What book are you currently reading?

The first book to move me emotionally, I would have to say, is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou.  I was a teenager when I read it, but it sticks with me to this day. I have so many favorites, there’s really no way I can choose just one. I’m currently reading Twyla Turner’s newest release Kilts & Kinks.

6) 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?

Venturing into the fray as a published author is scary.  So, for me, my most significant achievement as writer has to be just taking the leap and pressing publish on that first novel.  Most authors dream of being able to write full time and I’m no different.  In the next five years, I see myself with a catalogue and following large enough to allow me to write full time and support myself doing what I love.

7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?

Rejection is a part of life, but it still hurts.  When someone doesn’t like your work, I liken it to them calling your baby ugly.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  But that’s the key.  You can’t take it personally.  When I’ve received rejection, I’ve allowed myself time to feel the hurt, then used my support system to help me separate the information I can use from what I can toss aside.  I take what I can use to be better and leave the rest in the past where it belongs. I’m self-published, so I don’t have advice for those seeking traditional publishing as I’m still looking at the process from the outside myself.  Everyone says it, but the best advice for anyone looking to self-publish is to really research the process.  I’m a little behind the curve, because I’m still learning so much as I go along.  I researched, but there is so much more I could and should have done before I published my first book.  Also, find a mentor.  Someone who knows the ropes is invaluable.

8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?

I, like most authors I’ve spoken with, am an introvert.  Being stuck in my own head so much, the creative part of the process is great for me.  The business side has been a learning process that pushes me out of my introverted comfort zone.  Making the teasers and promo images for the marketing pushes was far easier that putting myself out there, joining groups and networking to maneuver into position to promote my work. My author platform is growing slowly, but it’s growing.  It hasn’t been easy because, while I’m a confident person, I don’t like to come off as pushy.  In some respects, to grow your platform, you have to push. Another thing that pushes me out of my comfort zone.

9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?

I was told by an author I admire that I should write books that I want to read; so, I like reading my own books after they’re done.  My only issue is doing it as a reader and not trying to make additional corrections.

10) 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?

I don’t believe in age limits on creativity.  It’s never too late to begin a career as an author.  I hit publish on my first novel at the age of 46.  I wouldn’t change a thing. Since, I don’t believe creativity has an age cap, being successful can come at any age as well.  We put our life’s experience into our craft as well as our imagination.  There is a target audience and demographic just waiting to hear the stories we tell.  No one can really say what will resonate with people and lights a spark that leads to being a successful writer.

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?

As a reader, I’m all over the place with what I enjoy reading.  I’m an unapologetic nerd and while I read romance the most, I also read fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and young adult.  I think my love of variety as a reader and my love of learning in general bleed into my life as a writer.  There are so many different story tropes out there, but the stories I’ve published and those still in progress are stories about women in their prime and who don’t necessarily conform to society’s body nor beauty standards.  My characters typically have careers and regular jobs and aren’t living the jet set life.  The female characters are independent without making announcements about their independence.

As I said earlier, I’m taking to heart the advice I was given to write the stories I’d want to read.  My female leads, of the characters that have presented themselves to me, aren’t in fields/careers that I’ve read about often.  Having worked in a male dominated profession for more than twenty years, I was hungry for characters that that looked like me and did similar work.  Having my characters pull from those years of experience helps me build stories that make my books unique and interesting to women like me who don’t see themselves on the page very often.  That makes me feel empowered.