Daralyse Lyons – author, speaker, actress, and yogi.
As a creative, Lyons has many talents and many interests that keep her imagination ignited and her ideas fresh. However, she is first and foremost a writer. She has written twenty novels under the name Daralyse Lyons, which include nonfiction, memoirs, articles and numerous short stories. Under the Maggy Williams pseudonym, she writes children’s books and young adult literature.
1) AMA: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on Amelia Writes. I know you have a busy schedule with writing, speaking, yoga, etc. How do you manage your time with all of your responsibilities? What’s a regular writing schedule for you?
DL: Thank you, Amelia for taking the time to speak with me. Yes! My schedule is almost always overflowing, and I’m not sure I do the best job of “managing,” but I love what I do and feel restless if I’m not working on at least half a dozen different fun and exciting projects. As for a regular schedule, I try to start each day off by writing, even if it’s only for a few minutes. For me, early morning writing is like a compass. It gives me direction and purpose.
2) AMA: Does one job or hobby affect the other’s practice?
DL: Great question! Yes. I write fiction and nonfiction, I act, I do yoga… There are a lot of seemingly disparate elements of my life, but they all impact each other. For example, I never could have written my most recent novel, YOGA COCAINE, without my personal experiences as a yoga teacher and practitioner. I find that my history almost always informs my writing, even in the journalistic space. The things I write about and the characters I create stem from my lived experiences.
3) AMA: The inspiration for Yoga Cocaine makes sense. But, what inspired you to write a serious novel, like The Murderer’s Wife? How are you typically inspired to write your fictional stories?
DL: At this point, having published 20 books so far; there is no one place where I derive inspiration, but I’ve been a lifelong daydreamer and I tend to imagine various scenarios and then try to work through them in my writing, or even as an actor. The specific inspiration for THE MURDER’S WIFE had to do with my fascination with true crime. So many times we hear stories of people doing terrible things and, very often, these people have families and loved ones. It seems to me that these interpersonal connections between “evil” people and the people who love them aren’t often explored, so I decided to write about a seemingly ordinary marriage, with the twist of the husband being a serial killer.
4) AMA: Was it difficult to get into the mindset of the characters, Thomas and Laura Cutty? How did you manage to relate to your characters to give them a voice?
DL: Not at all! I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I relate a lot to Laura’s character. She’s a complicated woman who sees the good in a complicated man and I really felt like it was important to show that very few people are entirely good or entirely evil. I hope my readers will read THE MURDERER’S WIFE and be confronted with their own complexity in ways that inspire and challenge them.
5) AMA: You have written various works in different genres. Do you have any favorites? How would you classify your style?
DL: I think writing is a constant process of evolution and expansion, so my favorites tend to shift as I shift. At the moment, I’m enjoying writing nonfiction and editing some YA fiction but, three months from now, I might be in a different place. One of the very dynamic things about experimenting with various genres is a writer can expand their skillset and then bring stylistic elements from one genre into another. For example, I find that my nonfiction work is infinitely more interesting because I’ve written a lot of fiction and know how to engage readers’ emotions. Likewise, my fiction has taken on more specificity as a direct result of my time as a nonfiction author.
6) AMA: Is there any genre or story you’d like to write, but haven’t had the chance to?
DL: I’m a terrible poet! Perhaps, one day I’ll be more willing to experiment with the form, but poetry is something that currently intimidates me.
7) AMA: What made you decide to become a writer? Has it always been your calling?
DL: I can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of my life. I’ve always loved making up stories and I’ve always been an avid reader. For me, there’s something about allowing myself to imagine things that makes me feel alive. I’d never want to lose that. I will say that it wasn’t until 2010 (So ten years ago, now) that I gave myself permission to pursue writing as a career. Before that, I wrote as a hobby, which was gratifying but not nearly as fulfilling as being able to devote myself to the craft more intensely.
8) AMA: What is your greatest hope when someone reads a book like Yoga Cocaine?
DL: I think people who read YOGA COCAINE and other books about recovery and personal struggle come to them for different reasons, but I would like to think it can inspire at least some of my readers to develop greater self-love and to be more empathetic to the struggles of others.
9) AMA: What is your greatest dream for your career?
DL: I’d love to be a NY Times Bestselling author, but not for the fame or the fortune. I want my work to impact as many people as possible.
10) AMA: What has been your greatest achievement in your career thus far?
DL: I’m going to answer this question in a slightly different way than you probably intended it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my career, and there have been many, many highlights so far, but my greatest writing assignment ever was given to me by my grandfather. Before he died, he asked me to write the epitaph for his tombstone. That was incredibly meaningful for me. Being entrusted to memorialize someone’s life in words and having those words exist as a permanent reminder of a man who was my surrogate father figure… I still get choked up when I think about it.
11) AMA: What is the one piece of advice you’d like to pass on to other writers?
DL: Write. Write often, write badly. Just write. I think a lot of aspiring authors are of the opinion that writing requires inspiration but my experience has been that it’s a lot of perspiration. Inspiration will come, but only if you discipline yourself to stick with it. And trust that you have all the stories within yourself. All you have to do is express them.
Learn more about Daralyse Lyons’ books by following her author page.