Author’s Bio: Award-winning author Danielle Y. C. McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and grew up in a home where books were valued and plentiful. Creative writing and foreign languages were among her favorite subjects in school, and she spent hours composing poems, short stories, and skits. Danielle went on to earn advanced degrees in French, Spanish translation, and law and currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and two children where she is also a translator, interpreter, and Spanish teacher. In 2016, her debut novel, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, won a CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
What inspired you to write your book?
DM: I wanted to introduce my children and others to various aspects of my cultural heritage in a fun and engaging way. Writing a story that would incorporate all those elements was, for me, the best way to accomplish that.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
DM: Paul Keens-Douglas has always been one of my favorite Trinidadian authors and performers because he so perfectly captures our language, culture, and humor. I’m also a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling and their ability to so masterfully draw readers into their rich fantasy worlds.
Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
DM: Yes, The Protectors’ Pledge is my first book. I started writing it in 2006, put it down, picked it up again, and finally self-published the first version in 2015.
Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
DM: I work from a very detailed outline. There are times when I deviate from it because the story evolves as I go along, but it is very helpful for me to have a plan for where I am going before I get started.
Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
DM: I prefer to write without music. I frequently read aloud as I write and music would be a distraction because I would want to sing (and dance) along.
What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
DM: I’m still working on that myself, but making use of social media; identifying the target audience for your book and pursuing/creating opportunities to get it in front of those potential readers; and working with a publicist have all been helpful for me.
What advice would you give to new authors?
DM: Edit, edit, and edit some more. Learn from constructive criticism and don’t be afraid to share your work and talent.
How about sharing an excerpt from The Protectors’ Pledge?
“Studying the dark skyline, he wondered why he’d never gone exploring on his own. Granny B wouldn’t have minded, and he wasn’t afraid of the ever-shifting shadows or intimidated by the way the Caribbean sun never fully reached the forest floor. And he certainly didn’t believe all those stories about the Oscuros Forest being a haven for the soucouyant—an old crone who shed her skin at night, turned into a ball of fire, and drank human blood—or the shape-shifting lagahoo who prowled during the dark hours always ready to sink his fangs into his next victim. Those tall tales were for babies and JV was twelve, after all.” (Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, 2017).
What’s next for you?
DM: I enjoy doing school visits and readings so I’m working on scheduling those. I am also writing the second book in the Secrets of Oscuros series.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
· Website: www.daniellemcclean.com
· Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/danielle_yc_mcclean
· Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanielleY.C.McClean/
· Twitter: ww.twitter.com/Dani_YC_McClean
· Book buy links: www.caribbeanreads.com/the-protectors-pledge/
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.