Interview with Dara Michele
Dara Michele is a New York native. She holds a master’s degree in childhood education and is a former teacher who transitioned into education management.
She enjoys living in New York and all the splendor it provides her. Ever since she learned how to read, she couldn’t put a book down. She has a deep affinity for writing and is very passionate about her blog. Her other interests include puppies, iced coffee, fashion, films, and going to the gym. Dara Michele is looking to begin a new endeavor and open to opportunities.
What got you into writing, and what do you enjoy most about it?
What got me into writing is when I first created my blog. The incentive I have for creating my blog is to help me segue into a new career by showcasing my talent as a writer. It is used as a portfolio if you will, which displays the passion I have for subjects while using color and flair to each sentence.
To be honest, in the beginning, I thought my blog was going to be about fashion because that is another passion of mine. However, the blog sat empty for months at a time because I couldn’t think of any ideas about what to fill it with. Then one day, I did some soul searching, asking myself what I am passionate about that I could create in this blog? The subject of reading was the first love that popped up into my mind, so I started writing about my passion for reading and who I was as a person. I realized after my introduction to my blog that it was all filled with reading.
Then I had an epiphany filled with all ideas to write about, from funny stories, serious stories, anecdotes, any kind of topic I feel passionate about the same way I feel passionate about social justice reform. These are all true stories, by the way., all experiences that have happened to me and other stories I feel strongly about writing.
What I enjoy most about writing is the ability to be creative. I love how I am the author of my story literally and figuratively, and writing allows me to explore my creative mind by coming up with clever, comical, raw and serious ways to convey my meaning through the written word. I feel like I could do anything when I write, there is no one to tell me what to do, and I come up with my own flair and style of writing, and in the end, I feel like all of my stories give me a cathartic sense of self.
Which writer influenced you the most, and why?
Paulo Coelho. I think he is a genius, and his writing and books are unique and unlike any other. I love how his stories are realistic and not convoluted like most Hollywood endings. He influenced me the most because after reading two of his novels, Adultery and Eleven Minutes, it transformed the way I formulate my words.
Paulo has a genius way of making you feel you are feeling what the main character is going through. In the novel Eleven Minutes, Paulo told a tale of prostitution in Brazil, based on real events. He had wanted to write something sexually explicit, and while he was on his book tour, a prostitute approached him at the hotel he was staying at. She had told him all about the unconventional job she had in Brazil, which was uncanny because the wheels were turning his head to write something of this nature. I don’t know what genre Paulo Coelho considers himself to be a part of, but I think of him as being in a category by himself. I love how he adds excerpts of his spiritual beliefs. I do not adhere to organized religion, and that is what I find so endearing with Paulo Coelho.
He is unique because he doesn’t add religious excerpts from the bible as Christian Lit does. All of the quotes I have been collecting his and emphasizing in my blog is what he writes about in his stories. I love that in his stories, instead of adding religious messages, he adds what he believes with the universe and law of attraction. I feel like his novels are almost in a way made to make his readers feel good about themselves, and that is the same goal I try to accomplish when I write. Thanks to him researching one of his books, I too followed suit and got some great ideas in writing subjects that piqued my interest.
When I read Paulo Coelho’s books, I feel like he is speaking to me and helping me. There was a part in Adultery that struck a chord with me: “You don’t choose life; it chooses you. There’s no point in asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs; you just accept them and carry on. We can’t choose our lives, but we could decide what to do with the joys or griefs we’re given.”
What turns a good story into a great one?
What turns a good story into a great one is a story that is filled with many details and descriptive parts that makes it so exciting to read. I find great stories to be true ones, where the author has such a gripping tale to tell that completely changed their life but made them a stronger person in the end. In my opinion, great stories are either memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, where the author paints the picture as if you are in their shoes.
They go into descriptive detail about what it was like for them to go through their story as if you are in their shoes. The author uses adjectives describing how their feeling, many characters along the way that were indirectly and directly involved with the story they have to tell, and most importantly, the end and how they are different today but stronger. Those to me are great stories where I admire the author so much for going through such a challenging time but come out reborn, healthier, more determined, and positive than ever.
The author keeps fighting to survive and knows with much work and determination, this too shall pass, and they will be happy, and the outcome will work out in their favor. A great story is written in such a fashion where it keeps the reader wanting more. The author writes each sentence to tempt the reader in wanting to get to the end to find out what happens. Each character that is introduced is given an in-depth description and background about them and how they are significant to the main character.
Where do you get your story ideas from?
I get my ideas from real accounts or topics I feel passionate about. I write in an eclectic way from serious to witty and amusing. I find that so many hysterical occurrences have happened to me that would make for a great story! What I also love about my writing is that these are all true stories, and I have grown fascinated with reading only non-fiction for some time now. There are certain subjects that I get heated about, and I feel I have a lot to say and am very curious about what my audience thinks. I don’t think I am always right and always encourage as many opinions and viewpoints as possible; sometimes, there is no right or wrong answer. If I am not writing about that, I am writing comical stories that either directly or indirectly happened to me that I feel passionate about writing that makes me laugh.
What do you aim to evoke in the readers of your stories?
I aim to evoke many different reactions from my readers, depending on the topic. Some stories I want them to feel better about themselves and look at it as a self-help kind of story, or I want them just to laugh and find it funny. Other topics I write about involve mixed reactions, and I hope to get their viewpoints and opinions on that subject matter.
Please tell us about your latest work, what inspired you to write it, and the research involved.
I am currently writing a memoir about the challenging relationship I had with my father. The research it took to do was on a cathartic level; I had to do a lot of soul-searching as far back as I could remember my first memory of my father and what began our tumultuous connection.
Can you give us a story outline of your latest book?
My story outline starts with a prologue. The prologue consists of introducing myself and what kind of person I am from my personality to my childhood experiences. After you read the prologue, it goes right into Chapter 1 and so on, and each chapter my readers get inside knowledge of what it was like for me to grow up and various incidents in my life that had shattered me at the time which now makes me a stronger woman. My memoir starts with me as a toddler up until the adult I am today.
What was the most challenging part of writing this particular book?
I must say the most challenging part of writing this book is how much I wanted to censor what happened. How raw and blunt do I want my memoir to be? Would I be embarrassed and regret adding that much detail into it? Do I just water it down, use euphemisms, or just omit it entirely? In the end, I decided to add the parts that struck the hardest with me and leave out the parts that were too uncomfortable for me.
Are you done writing the book yet?
No, I am not done writing the book yet. I have an outline and am now reading it over and seeing if there are any parts I want to add. I am almost done with it, though; it took me a few years to write it, and I am thrilled with the progress I have made with my memoir so far.
What do you want your readers to gain after reading your memoir?
I want my readers to know never to give up. Despite all the struggles and challenges you face, with enough determination, you will get better and, most of all, stronger. I want my readers to feel great about themselves and know that you are your own biggest supporter. And it is a great feeling to be independent and not have to rely on anyone to fight for you; your biggest supporter is yourself, and that is a robust and powerful feeling no one could ever take away.