Danielle Larsen Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
My name is Danielle Larsen and I categorize myself as a blogger, photographer, and author. I run a website called The Mindful Fight which houses my blog and photography. Recently I released my memoir, From Voiceless To Vocal, which chronicles the years I spent with an abusive partner. I live in Washington Heights, NYC with my cats Mojo and Magnus and they definitely keep me entertained.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
It’s a heart-breaking story of survival. A story about learning how to love yourself when you’ve been told you’re unlovable.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
In my apartment because due to the pandemic I never leave. Though I think even if I weren’t stuck at home I would still write here surrounded aspects of my life that inspire me.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
The motivation to do so! I find it difficult to just open up the computer and start writing. I need the words to speak to me first otherwise I’ll just sit and stare at the blinking cursor and never type a word.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
As I was writing my memoir, I found myself pulling ones I have off of the shelf. Not necessarily for inspiration, but more so as a reminder that I’m not the first person to tell my story and I won’t be the last. Memoirs can be inspiring both as an author and a person because watching the things that someone goes through makes you look at your own life and think, “hmmm, how would I have handled that?”
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
This is my first book so it’s hard to say, really. I had a blog for about a year before my book was published and writing in that style definitely helped me to be more open and honest while writing the book. I think learning to trust myself was the biggest lesson.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
I hope that my story helps people. That was my main goal in writing it. My story isn’t unique but many people in abusive relationships are stuck or feel as though they can’t speak up. Even after you leave that relationship (if you’re able), you still feel as though you don’t have a voice. My hope is that my book can help inspire other people to find theirs.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
Yes, actually. This was one of the first reviews I received and every time I read it I smile: This was a powerful read giving insight into how a controlling relationship can cause the passive partner to lose all sense of self. I recommend it for anyone struggling with power dynamics or for anyone who is considering a major life change. It was a quick read that kept you wanting to get to the end to see hope and resilience shine through.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
Because I self-published that part was actually pretty easy. The writing was the hard part. Diving into all of the trauma I went through was like an extreme version of immersion therapy. I was constantly thrown into the pool over and over again and eventually I had to learn how to swim.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I ask for help! That’s been a big area of growth for me since I started writing because I’ve always been a very self-sufficient person and never liked asking for help before, but I knew I needed more than just my own eyes. I knew I needed friends who knew my story to look at what I was writing and give complete honest feedback. Asking for help has been the biggest improvement by far.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
I wouldn’t know. I actually had a friend offer to be my copyeditor and that was pretty ideal for me. We worked as a team bouncing edits off of each other and it worked out great.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
For anyone that doesn’t enjoy my style I would just like to know why and if they have any tips or suggestions on how to improve. We can always make adjustments to the way we do things, but I can’t change who I am. If you simply don’t like me then I can’t really help you there, but if you don’t like how I write or what I write about, then tell me what you’d like to see.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Just write! Write what you like and be honest. Write about what speaks to you because you feel the need to tell that story and don’t worry about what may or may not happen when you’re finished. Write because you love it.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
I wish I knew. I’ll keep blogging as topics come to mind and we’ll see what happens with other things in the future. I have a couple of WIPs right now, but I’m just dipping my toe in the water of fiction writing. Right now it’s just fun to explore that part of my creativity.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
This is where another friend comes into play. I have a lot of extremely talented friends who love sending me art and I asked one of them what she thought my book meant to her in terms of a cover. I didn’t know what would come of it and was honestly just looking for some ideas. Right away we had a dialogue going and it ended up being better than I could have imaged. I think the best cover art tells the reader what the story is without misleading them. I’ve seen so many covers recently that I’ve been intrigued by and others that have actually put me off a bit. I don’t know if people are enticed by mine, but I like it.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
I try to read a little bit every day, but it doesn’t always happen. Right now I’m rereading the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman. I tend to read a lot of YA dystopian type books and, as I said earlier, lots of memoirs.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
I’d really just like to thank everyone that’s helped and encouraged me as I was writing. They know who they are so no need to name-drop. Though if anyone is really curious, they’re all in the acknowledgements section of my book.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Danielle and her writing, please do visit her at: