C. D’Angelo is an Italian American who lives in Winter Garden, Florida with her husband. A psychotherapist for twenty years, she began writing in 2013 to add to her many hobbies (playing ukulele, drawing, painting, crocheting, cross stitching, sewing, and any other craft available to try!). Soon writing became more than a hobby and now her passions and life experiences have made their way into her relatable stories of the Italian culture in women’s fiction. The Difference is her debut novel, and more stories are on the way.
Here I catch up with the story behind the person and the novel. And if you have an interest in The Titanic, she’s the woman to know!
Tell us about The Difference?
The Difference is about a woman who has it all but feels empty. Rachel hasn’t been her energized self since her grandpa and hero died years ago. In trying to find an ounce of happiness, she stumbles into an ancestry mission, which turns into her hoping to find out why her grandpa was secretive about his immigration from Italy as a child. If she doesn’t reveal her family roots and pull herself together, she may lose her boyfriend and worst yet, herself.
How did you come to be a writer?
The story of my book came to me out of nowhere and I knew I had to write it. I always loved writing, but never had a desire or thought of writing a novel. I thought why not go ahead and try, so I started typing it in January 2013. I took many breaks before finishing in May 2018, but since that year, it’s been nonstop in the writing world.
Your non-writing life spills over into your writing – tell us about that
I’ve been a psychotherapist for 20 years, which is why I can write a well-developed character. Rachel is complex in her personality and mood, which I have a lot of experience with in my therapy career. I love to get into the character’s head and lay it out on the page, leaving people with an internal view of someone’s thought processes. My writing style is conversational and first person as well, so readers can feel as if they are experiencing what the character experiences.
What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?
My aim is to leave the reader in a state of reflection about their own life. I want them not to be able to put my book down until finished and to sit in thought upon its last sentence. I would love if they related to the story in its many aspects as well, from the moodiness and anxiety of Rachel to the need to feel more whole as a person. I find stories about persistence and emotional growth inspiring, which I hope is what my readers feel. Maybe they will make changes in their lives, just like Rachel did in the story.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
In fact, I do! Some names and phrases are only going to be known by those closest to me, but a few patterns can be pieced together by people who read all of my books (future books included because I’ve already integrated them in). A secret I can reveal is that I purposely named a few characters similar names to beloved people in my life, mostly off of the name Anthony. One particular name ended up being the name of a relative I later discovered in my own family research. I couldn’t believe it!
How much do you base your characters on real people?
I don’t base characters on real people, but they do influence them. When I create characters, I make them their own, yet when I write, people from my life do slip in sometimes. So, there are tidbits of my husband, myself, my best friends, and who knows who else in many of my character traits, all mashed together.
How much do you draw on real places for your scene-setting?
There’s a creative mix in my book, having been to some of the cities visited, but not to others. I have travelled a lot and take experiences from being in those locations or in similar places, as well as research online. If I haven’t been to an area, I reach out to locals if able, through social media connections. Regarding places within the cities, I create many establishments. For example, I created a church in The Difference. How I wish that church existed because it’s beautiful in my mind.
Have you ever gone on a ‘literary pilgrimage’?
Are you ready for a super nerdy answer? I have been on my own take of a literary pilgrimage because of my love of the Titanic, which happens to be a love of Rachel’s in my book. I have dragged my husband all over the US and Europe to certain locations that are related to the building of the ship and so forth. There isn’t a museum I won’t visit if there is one tiny piece of a relic from the ship. It’s always been a topic that fascinated me, so of course I pulled from that in Rachel’s fictionalized strange interest.
When can we expect a new book from you, and can you give us a hint what it’s about?
I have already written The Visitor, a book about a woman fighting to save her new age store from being demolished by her developer high school ex-boyfriend and nemesis. It is set in New Orleans and has a paranormal twist. I have been querying it to agents and hope to publish it not too long from now. Stay tuned!
Where to find The Difference
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Google Play, Apple… etc https://books2read.com/u/m0KR7Y
Target paperback: https://www.target.com/p/the-difference-by-c-d-angelo-paperback/-/A-83932255#lnk=sametab
Follow C.D’Angelo on twitter @CDAngeloAuthor
(Read more author interviews here)