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Adam Interviews... Tina D'Angelo!

Time to put down that work, grab a cuppa, and settle back for another interview!

Dropping in now is Tina D'Angelo, and she's here to talk about her memoir.

Hello, dear book lover. For many years I've been a quiet housewife, mother, grandmother, and Sunday school teacher. Beneath that meek exterior was a hidden past that has been clawing to be released. As a nineteen-year-old college student, I entered an amateur dance contest and was swept up into what I thought was the glamorous lifestyle of exotic dancing. I soon found out that it was anything but glamorous. My love of dancing held me prisoner on strip club stages for over a decade.

Fighting the demons of obsessive/compulsive behavior and impulsive choices, I kept on dancing, no matter what the world threw at me. Bad relationships, betrayals by friends, and injuries always seemed to accompany my life during that time. Despite always having to start my life over again from scratch, I managed to put together shows which put me at the top of a business, that, quite frankly, I had no business ever being in. I trusted everyone in places where most of the people would have been suspects in the next crime.

At the age of thirty-one, I quit dancing to start a baking business and get married. Forty years later this story gurgled up from the pits of my heart and landed in front of you. I hope you enjoy the first book in the three-part series, G-Is for String, the story of an unlikely stripper, told with a touch of my native tongue, sarcasm.

My instagram is: tinadangelo8

Star Trek or Star Wars- Star Trek because it takes a lot of imagination and skill to keep this storyline and the characters interesting year after year.

MCU or DCU- Marvel because my son-in-law doesn’t allow DC comics in his house, and I once made the mistake of buying him a DC character t-shirt for Christmas. He just began speaking to me.

Have I always wanted to be a writer? Yes.

Writing has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. Letters, torn up and tossed away were always pieced together and read by nosy parents. Diaries were public domain in my house. Random notebooks in which I wrote down my thoughts became the evening meal discussion. You would think that by now I would stop pouring my heart onto paper. But no. Now I’m an author, my family’s social standing (as if) be damned.

Where do I get the information for my books? Everywhere

In my memoir, the characters were people I had known, with a few adjustments. When writing about places I hadn’t been in a long time I had to research online. I’m a map- aholic, and if I can find something on a map, I usually can decode the rest of the information I need.

In my fiction stories, the characters are still people I’ve known. They simply have new names, faces, and vices. There is nothing so satisfying as taking a rotten person from your real life and turning them into a buffoon or villain in your fiction stories.

There are certain things I had to look up in my latest fiction story and I sure hope no one near me ever dies of foul play. The detectives will have a field day with my google searches; how to hide a corpse, what is the best way to remove blood stains from the carpet in your trunk, what countries don’t have an extradition agreement with the United States?

What is my work schedule like when I’m writing? People have schedules for this?

Who knew?

After my first cup of coffee in the morning until I take an hour break to make dinner, then back to writing until I can’t keep my eyes open. Seriously, when I’m writing I can do 10-12 hours a day without noticing the time.

What is my interesting writing quirk? I don’t know if it’s a quirk or just a bad method.

I tend to get an idea for the ending before I begin a story and build the story around it. On a good day, things just fall into place. On a bad day, I still think things have fallen into place. Only my editor will tell me the truth. I weave from the seat of my pants and can’t imagine trying to fit all my new ideas into a stodgy old outline. My characters don’t want to be forced into an arc either. I’ve asked them.

How old were you when you wrote your first book? 68

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I’m a professional baker and candy maker, so if I can’t get to my computer I head for the kitchen.

I also love to garden. This year I was busy writing, so I didn’t even take care of my small gardens.

Reading- I am now trying to read through all my writer friend’s books. It’s quite a task.

What does my family think of my writing?

My immediate family is very happy for me. My daughter thinks my memoir is a good message for women who are in bad situations. She thinks it’s a women’s empowerment story. Then again, she was homeschooled, so she has to love me.

My family of origin will only read my book if I put it in a diary and leave it lying around. Then, it will become a dinner-time discussion about my failures as a human being. Hey, I just turned 69. Too bad for them, right?

What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing your book?

I was most surprised at how quickly the words can pour out onto paper and how slowly the editing, formatting, cover design, and publishing go. I wrote my first memoir in three months, and it took nine months to turn it into an actual book.

I’m also surprised by the attitudes of many writers about the publishing business. They would rather wait for Simon and Schuster to call them and beg for their books than hire a “vanity press” to publish for them. I don’t quite understand that. If you want something done for you, you generally have to pay for it. Getting your book published is no different. I cringe when writers complain about scam companies who take an author’s money. No. These companies offer services to help an author take their story from manuscript to book form. Some offer promotional services. You have to pay for these things, unless you’re Steven King.

Personally, I’d rather have my books out there being read than sitting around waiting for that magic call from Mr. Simon.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written three books. One has been published on Amazon and the other two are waiting their turn to be published. The first was a memoir about my years as a stripper during the 1970s. That was something I had wanted to write for a long time. Although I enjoyed writing it, the story brought back many bad memories from my life back then.

G-Is for String

I’ve written a sequel to it because many readers asked what happened next. That is done for the most part, except I’m trying to figure out where to end it. The sequel wasn’t as scary as the first memoir, but it had some sad parts that I really didn’t want to re-live.

G-Is for String, Oh-Canada!

My favorite so far is Save One Bullet, which I finished a few days ago. It’s a fictional romance/thriller that was so much fun to write that I’m going to begin a new one with different characters and a unique plotline after I finish all the details with Save One Bullet. I love writing action scenes and cliffhangers.

Do you hear from your readers and what do they say?

Yes! I love hearing from my readers. Mostly what they say is, “What happened to Frank?”

Or, “do things get easier for Tina?” One of my readers wrote that she has decided to write about her struggles with Lupus as a young mother trying to finish her Master’s Degree. Women, especially seem to resonate with my character, Tina, in G-Is for String. They recognize the courage it takes to get knocked down by life and refuse to give up.

I hope there is a life lesson in every book I write. Some small statement of hope or realization that will give someone the boost they need to keep going.

My first reader told me that I was my own hero in G-Is for String. I had never considered that. The story was what happened. I hadn’t planned on it being any great eye-opening parable.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

That’s such a funny question we all wondered about. I was certainly surprised to find that when I grew up, I was still me. How disappointing.

A ballerina. That was my lifelong love and my ultimate goal. I’m 69 years old and still begin my day and end each day with ballet exercises.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Yes

Yes. It gives me the freedom to write from my heart without worrying about the repercussions from my family, and acquaintances. Also, in my first book there is a person who I do not want to find me.

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?

My pals on Vocal, The Prose, Reedsy, and Medium have given me invaluable feedback on my short works. I write poetry, short stories, and submit chapters from my books on those platforms.

I’m also making writer friends on Twitter and Instagram.

It amazes me how many writers are out there! We all have so much in common with each other. Sometimes it’s nice to share with another writer when you’re stuck or need to iron out a plot point in your story.

I would give a shout out- but I would be sure to miss someone and they are all such good friends.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

For goodness sake, girl, get a pen and start writing. Don’t wait until you’re almost 70!

What do you have coming next?

Glad you asked!

Save One Bullet, a romance/thriller based in Syracuse, NY. A crumbling marriage, revenge gone wrong, an incredibly stupid mistress, a narcissistic boyfriend, a fun-filled funeral, lots of snow, and a best friend who helps the main character hide a body.

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