Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author C D’Angelo about her career, her writing experiences, and what inspired her hit novel, The Difference.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m an artist via my writing, crochet, cross stitch, playing instruments, drawing, painting, sewing, and more. These activities fill my heart with joy and there isn’t a craft I won’t try. My day job is working as a psychotherapist for the last 20 years. I live in Florida and love the heat. Give me a pool and flip flops any day.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I thought of the idea for The Difference in 2012. Before that point, I never thought about writing a book. But when the idea came to me out of the blue, I knew I needed to write the novel. I viewed it as another way to express myself artistically but soon it became a second career. I’m glad it found me.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I started The Difference in January 2013. It was a great way to kick off a new year. I love setting goals, not resolutions. Now there are many goals related to writing.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I think of the time period from when I started writing, not from the idea, which is 8 years. A few factors contributed to the length of time. First, I was writing as a hobby for a few years, not taking it as seriously as it needed. I would write some weekends then not for months (once there was a 3 year gap- eek!). Once I made finishing my book a priority, I wrote consistently and finished in a few months. Then, I edited for a year, queried for a short time, and was with a publisher for a while. I decided to leave the publisher for various circumstances and finally published on July 29, 2021. What a story within a story, right?
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
In stark contrast to The Difference, I wrote my second book in 3 months. I was disciplined with writing and editing it. The Visitor has been beta read but I will go through it once more, then send to professional editors. I want to continue to write novels in that time frame versus 8 years!
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Difference?
The year 2012 was the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, a topic that always fascinated me. There were countless documentaries and specials in the media about it, so I was thrilled. Also, I was researching my family history during that time. These two interests combined and the story for The Difference was born. My main character, Rachel, also likes learning about the Titanic and is on an ancestry mission. I used some of my life experiences and interests as a jumping off point for the book.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Difference?
I wrote it in 1st person past and changed it to 1st person present to make the reader feel every bit of what Rachel felt. Making sure I edited all of those changes took some time. The other piece was trying to get it ready for publication in a “short” period of time. I wanted this book done in the summer of 2021, so I needed to move fast with the professionals I hired once leaving the publisher. There needs to be time in between each edit (because I’m such a perfectionist) so getting the book done on my timeline was a challenge I brought on myself, but one I don’t regret. Would I do it again though? No way! I need much more space between edits. With the first book comes many learning opportunities and I had my share of them. They will make it easier for me the next time.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
I thought about Rachel as a heightened version of both myself and my best friend combined. There is a lot of exaggeration from our personalities, but again, it was a starting point for me as a beginning author. I think it is common to use yourself and those you know when writing your first book. So, Rachel is someone I know well!
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
They are the same person. Rachel is her own worst enemy. I think that is pretty common when dealing with mental health, which she does (anxiety and on the verge of depression). Barriers in her path of revealing her Italian immigrant grandpa’s secret past feel like the antagonist, but it is really herself because she gets in her own way all the time. I loved the irony of a psychotherapist who is somewhat clueless about herself.
What is the inciting incident of The Difference?
Rachel has a conversation with her boyfriend, Brian, about the state of their relationship. She expects to get answers to what has been bothering her about them, but not to have more questions develop and to hear his answers, which blindside her. He informs her of the emotional changes he has noticed in her and his concern for her, and them. The thought of losing him, and herself, scares her and she tries to think of how to feel fulfillment and happiness in life.
What is the main conflict of The Difference?
When trying to think of what brings her happiness, Rachel stumbles onto an ancestry website where she begins a new path of trying to discover her roots in order to inform her future. She faces many challenges on her adventure, but has a drive that won’t let her quit until she finds out why her grandpa wouldn’t speak of his immigration to the US. Along the way, she discovers herself and has an emotional growth that I think the readers find satisfying.
Did you plot The Difference in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I plan everything, especially because this book relied on many dates and historical facts. I integrate in history, the Italian culture, and travel into all of my books, so I need everything to be accurate. I like to have an outline of the main points, then flow when writing between the points. As long as I hit those points, I am free to follow where the story takes me.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Difference need?
Yes, I did. I was thankful for my talented writer and artist friends who beta read for me. Next came a few editors, all having different specialties (content, copy, proof…). There is no way I would send a finished product into the world when not professionally handled. I edited throughout the years, but the most concentrated edits were from April to July (publication) this year. Finally having some free time now feels strange!
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Just write. It is an over-used phrase but it’s true. That’s why everyone gives the statement as advice. Don’t worry about how sentences sound until editing. Get words written. The rest will fall into place.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Yes, The Visitor is set in New Orleans and about a fiercely independent woman needing to save her new age store and home above from being destroyed by a developer. Her high school ex-boyfriend and nemesis is leading the charge, which adds to her dilemma. She needs to learn to trust others in her community or she will lose all she’s worked for in life. There’s a paranormal twist in this book that I think readers will enjoy. I want to release the book close to fall next year. Also, I have my 3rd book plotted out already. It includes wine and music, set in Italy and California at this time.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am extremely proud. I fought every step of the way for this book to be published and I can’t believe it happened. It was all worth it. To hold The Difference in my hands has been a monumental achievement in my life’s book.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Purchase The Difference:
eBook: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Google Play, Apple Books… https://books2read.com/u/m0KR7Y
Website (newsletter with giveaways, books, Behind the Scenes blog, Pitch Party Prosperity writer services): www.cdangeloauthor.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/C.DAngelo.Author/