Women Who Work: Marissa D’Angelo, Self Published Author

As many of you (or I hope most of you know if you’re regular readers), I am a huge fan of reading. So, you can not imagine my excitement when I got the chance to interview an author.

Marissa D’Angelo has been publishing a ton of content as of late. Within the last year, D’Angelo self-published a short-story (Presence) and a memoir (Chasing Time — you can read my review on it here). She began her writing career with fantasy and mystery, however, her memoir is truly one of my favorite reads of the year.

D’Angelo took a few minutes to answer some questions about writing, and about her advice on writing and self-publishing. So, be sure to keep reading to learn more.

Photo Credit: Marissa D’Angelo

How did you get started with writing?

I started writing when I was in elementary school. It began with journals and then transferred into story writing as early as 5th grade. In 6th grade, I developed a screen play for my classmates to perform during our free time and I directed this. Then, this idea sparked a talent show for the 6th grade at my school by the end of the year. Ever since then, I have continued writing more and more.

Who are your biggest influences with writing novels?

Many people have influenced my writing. In particular, my great grandmother who I had never met enjoyed writing so much but was too shy to put anything out there. I feel like I get my love for writing from her. Growing up, my parents and I made many memories together by traveling all around. The experiences that I had helped to shape my love for writing and imagination. I mostly write fiction because of this. You can make it your own and that freedom means everything.

Photo Credit: Marissa D’Angelo
Photo Credit: Marissa D’Angelo

Where do the ideas of your novels come from?

My first book, Deja Vu, came from a dream that I had. I started writing as soon as I woke up from this dream about a man in an old antique shop and thought how cool would it be if some of the dreams did actually come true and feel like Deja Vu.

I wrote Presence right after I lost my dad. I would go to Silver Sands each day to help me cope. I was busy writing apocalyptic books because of how I felt on the inside when a photographer came up to me at Silver Sands and asked me what I was writing about. He was quick to tell me about the mysteries of Charles Island and how he has caught many unexplained things on camera when he went over there. He begged me to write a book about Charles Island and at first, I hesitated. But eventually it was all I could think about and ended up writing it based off of a younger version of him as a photographer discovering the secrets of the island.

My most recent book, Chasing Time, is a non-fiction memoir. After losing many people in less than 2 years, I felt the push to tell my story so that others could not feel so alone. I also wrote this for myself to look back at someday. My grandmother has dementia and my stories help her to remember. If you had gone through bullying, grief & loss, or battled with having a family member that struggled with addiction, you will definitely be able to relate to this story. And just know that you are not alone in this.

What is the writing process like for you?

I mostly enjoy handwriting my books in a fresh notebook and eventually transfer it to a word document. I like to begin with the setting so that I can paint a picture for my readers. It honestly starts from one small idea and it just branches out. With Chasing Time, I wrote this in pieces and created a chapter outline. I knew I was missing some parts from the beginning and middle so I went back and put these in when I was ready to write them. Some of the chapters took me a very long time such as the one about losing my father. I felt like it was necessary to write about it as well as other painful chapters as they are part of my story.

What is it like to self-publish a book? And, can you please go into
detail on the process to publish a book on Amazon?

I self-published all 3 books through Amazon. This is actually a very simple process. As long as the book is on a word document, you can alter the layout by changing the page sizes so that they will transfer to a book. I also saved my book as a PDF so that I could upload it on Amazon to submit it as a paperback. In terms of making it accessible through Kindle, there is a Kindle Create app that you download and basically import your word document into that. There are only a few fonts available for Kindle so it may change it a bit for you, but the entire process took just a few hours. Once you submit this, it takes about one business day for them to approve and officially publish it.

Photo Credit: Marissa D’Angelo

How was the writing process for Chasing Time different than the other books that you’ve written?

I absolutely enjoy writing fiction. So, when I wrote Chasing Time it was uncharted territory for me aside from writing journals, especially being that it was about my life. I thought about how much therapy had helped me to open up and started there. Then, I put each chapter into chronological order of my life. I also had to go searching for some of my diaries from the past because I knew there were some things I really wanted to include such as my entries when I visited Italy and how I felt when I was going through certain hard times.

Was it different?

Writing Chasing Time was extremely different for me than my other books as I was unable to make up the characters and imagine things as I would with my fiction stories. After writing each chapter, I definitely felt a release like I was glad that I got it off my chest.

Are you working on anything now?

Always! The writing just never stops. I figured that after my latest book, I would take a break but I am working on another nonfiction book and writing a few fictional stories. My next nonfiction is about a person who discovered my stories and was able to connect to them all and how it has helped them through their life. One of the fictional texts is a mystery. In this story, a group of people find themselves in a trance as they enter a church. When they become paralyzed and unable to move, the statues in the church come to life. The main character in this story is a detective and she is also a realist so she is unable to believe anything she sees, but eventually has to accept her fate as she goes down a certain path. I also plan to write a sequel to Presence. I won’t give away any details on this because I don’t want it to ruin the ending of the first book, but stay tuned. 

What is your advice for anyone who is reading this who may want to
write a book, but have zero idea on where to start?

My friend gave me very good advice before I started writing Presence. Just begin. Get a piece of paper out or open up your computer and just start writing. If you don’t like it, you can always start again but I feel like as long as you have that pen in your hand and you’ve gotten your start, it will all come to you. I made the mistake of putting my stories off for many years because I was thinking about it too much. Don’t make that mistake, you can come out with something great. 🙂

Be sure to check out Marissa’s website and her author page on Amazon here.

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