Monday, October 12, 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 BellĂ©sprit Magazine. She currently resides in San Diego with her wonderful husband, Jesse, and her ever-growing collection of books.

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Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Thank you for having me! When I’m not writing, I love to read or spend time outside enjoying nature. My husband and I love to go on hikes which overlook our beautiful city of San Diego or play night-time Frisbee with our light-up disk. I also work part-time as a gymnastics coach, which I’ve been doing for over 15 years after 10+ years of involvement in the sport. I still really enjoy flipping around too, though I’ve taken a hiatus lately. Soon, life will change a bit as my husband and I welcome our first baby into the world.

When did you start writing?

I began writing somewhere around 1st grade. I remember sitting in a circle and reading the stories we made up to the class. I was lucky enough to transfer to a Montessori School in 3rd grade where my teacher gave us this blue binder with a bunch of lined paper that we called our “novel.” I did not take this book lightly. Sometime in the next year or two after that, I went to work on my first novel similar to my idols at the time, R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. It ended up being 152 hand-written pages! I knew by then that this was what I wanted to do. I continued to write short stories and poems throughout my adolescence, went on to major in English/creative writing in college, and then onto my MFA.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

The most pivotal part in my writing life was releasing my first book, my first “baby”, a children’s book about gymnastics. For so many years, you are creating this thing from the depths of your soul. And then—a hope, a dream, an idea— becomes a real physical object you can hold in your hands, something that affects others in ways you hadn’t imagined when putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. It brings me so much joy in knowing my work has affected someone in a positive way, particularly a young child learning to truly believe in themselves and their capabilities.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I think it would be great to travel to some tropical island like Tahiti to start writing my next book! Although let’s be honest, would I really get any writing done there? I certainly would be inspired!

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would write more, market more, read more, exercise more, meditate more, and spend more time outside. Although right now I do certainly feel like there could be more time in the day, I continue to remind myself that I have all of the time in the world. I know I will really need that mentality once my daughter is born!

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

To be honest, I find that I receive inspiration for the story and characters first, rather than the setting. And this may sound strange, but I have the strong urge to write about dimensions that we cannot see with our eyes, that exist right here alongside our world. I also feel drawn to writing about places similar to where I grew up in New England, as well as my “newest” home in southern California.

Back to your present book, Illusion of an Ending, how did you publish it?

I published my novel independently shortly after publishing my children’s book. At first, a small publisher acquired them both, but things didn’t work out. For some reason, I felt this strong urge to get my novel out into the world because people needed the message. It really has been incredible to know that it’s indeed helped many of the people I’ve heard from who’ve read it. Also, I think it’s amazing the way the publishing world has opened up, and how independent publishing is not as looked down upon as it was say 10 years ago. I’ve enjoyed independent publishing, though I have not ruled out traditional publishing either. Go with the flow right? I am firm believer that we are led down the right path at the right time.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

My first book is set in my hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts because it is a place that truly inspires me. Spending over twenty years of my life living there and then moving away to southern California, I think it really made me appreciate it more, and I couldn’t help but include its beauty and awe in my work.

Why was writing Illusion of an Ending so important to you?

I had been trying to write a real book for many years during my childhood, but realized I did not know enough about life. The way this book was inspired—by my first car accident, and the way I moved from the east to west coast to pursue my writing, and how everything literally came together like the pieces of a puzzle—makes it super special to me. Finally finishing my first “real book” after writing countless short stories and poems. But most importantly, I felt like the characters’ had a message to deliver with this book for people other than myself.

The first idea that popped into my head was that there was this young man trying to let his mother know that he was okay after dying suddenly in a motorcycle accident in his early twenties. I remember writing down inspiration, including the final lines, and realizing that they connected to people in my life who had lost their lives in ways similar to my character. I continued to attract non-fiction books detailing peoples’ real-life experiences and memories of planning out life lessons before they were born, choosing their parents, and ultimately, when they leave the Earth. I wanted to include these experiences in a fictional story, including the way the story of our lives connect to others around us, not by coincidence. And also that while our stories sometimes seem to be cut short too soon, or end altogether, there is so much more taking place after we leave the Earth that we don’t often realize—hence the title, Illusion of an Ending.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I truly believe that our ideas and inspirations come from a higher part of ourselves, as well as from “divine guidance,” if you will. It sounds crazy, I know. I’ve always felt pretty intuitive about my life, and in my writing, I trust that it has to be coming from somewhere other than just my own mind?! Also, I think ideas come from the events in our lives. Stuff we failed to learn. Stuff we finally learned. Stuff that inspired us to keep going. It is my goal to continue to write books that make people—both kids and adults—see the world in a different way.

Any final words?

I will leave with the final line of the Afterward in my book: Trust that our stories go on, always and forever.

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 Alchemist, you’ll love Illusion of an Ending.

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