Author Interview: Daniel Craig Roche

Today you get a glimpse into the mind of a talented author friend of mine. Daniel Craig Roche is a New England native who writes mostly for young
adults. He has over thirty short stories, poems and memoirs published
both in print and in several online magazines, including YARN (Young
Adult Review Network.) His YA novel ‘Corpse Lily,’ is due for release
in 2019 (Rhetoric Askew Publishing.)

(Here’s a link to one of my stories. If you like this kind of writing,
then you should enjoy my novel, Corpse Lily, coming later this year.
http://yareview.net/2019/02/the-writer/)

Can you share a snippet of your work with us?

This is my favorite scene from Corpse Lily because it’s a pivotal
moment in the book, where the main character is forced to reconsider
the way he’d been treating his family.

“Her moron boyfriend had too much to drink and got behind the wheel of a car. My Adrianne was in the passenger seat. He ran that stop sign back there, and that was the end of her.”

A tear streaked down Gene’s cheek. It surprised him, so he wiped it and held his hand in front of his face.

“Oh my God! Gene, are you crying?”

“Looks that way,” he said. “Sorry about that.”

Her face exploded in a smile. “Don’t be sorry! I didn’t know you had it in you. That’s so sweet!”

“But I still don’t understand. You said your relationship with Adrianne grew, but how can your relationship grow when the last thing you two shared was an argument? Your final feelings toward one another were anger.” He reached for more words but couldn’t find any, so he repeated himself. “I just don’t understand.”

“It’s hard to explain,” she said. “I drive through that intersection every day, and it wasn’t easy, not at first. When I started working for you I avoided it, leaving for work early, just so I could take a detour. As time passed, I guess I realized it was something I needed to deal with. My Adrianne was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. And now I’m thankful, because one day I finally built up the courage to face that damned intersection, and everything became clear from that moment on.”

“How so?”

Sylvia eased onto the highway and focused her eyes straight ahead. “I remember it like it was yesterday. My hands shook uncontrollably when I first approached that stop sign, and when I finally peered over at that tiny white cross — all that remained of my daughter… I burst into tears. But then, out of nowhere, this overwhelming feeling of peace came over me. I just knew she was right there in the car with me. I could feel her.”

Gene tried to understand. “You could feel her?”

She waved her hand. “Oh, I know it sounds silly, but believe me, a mother knows when her children are around. There’s this feeling of emptiness when your child is gone.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely. I remember the first day Adrianne started kindergarten. I could sense it the moment she stepped onto the bus, like some invisible bond was broken. I didn’t feel right until she came back that afternoon. I remember lifting her up into my arms and carrying her into the house. I was whole again. I felt the same way when she had her first sleep-over, and when she left for camp every summer, feeling lost until she returned to me again. And of course, I really felt it when she died.”

“But she never came back,” Gene said. “How did you ever feel whole again?”

“That’s just it, Gene. She did come back. She comes back every day. Back there at the intersection.”

little girl.jpg

Which qualities of yourself do you pour into your characters?

I poured a lot of myself into the antagonist, a seventeen year old named Paul. I suffered with the same alcohol addiction when I was his age, and used that to create his character. Paul doesn’t care about anything except drinking and spending time with his girlfriend, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure both happen as often as
possible.

Where do you find the majority of the books you read?

  I find most of my books in used book stores, thrift stores and the like. There’s also a restaurant I go to every time I’m back home in Massachusetts, where they give away three used books with every meal. That’s where I find all the new writers I’ve been missing out on. I typically search for literary works, because that’s my favorite, but since I’m a YA writer, I also like to pick up YA’s and see if I can learn any new tricks from the writers who came before me.

Where do you live? Have you always lived there?

I currently live in Maine. I’m not from this state, though. I’m from Massachusetts, where I rented real estate for about eight years. One of my tenants was growing cannabis in the basement of one of my properties, so I evicted him and asked my lawyer about legal repercussions. He told me what the guy was doing happened to be completely legal, so some friends and I used the operation this person set up and began growing our own stuff. Then the laws for medical marijuana became much better in Maine, so my buddies moved up there and set up shop. They invited me along, so I came up to Maine, met an amazing woman, partnered up with one of my friends and bought a property up here to grow cannabis in.

pressed flowers

You have a Saturday all to yourself. What do you do?

I write and I read. No question. Those are my two favorite
things to do, so I do them often.

Do you have any special dedications in any of your published works?

Corpse Lily will be dedicated to my dad, because the book
is about a father who becomes terrified of losing his family. I have a
lot of books written, and so far they all have people in mind, but
that will have to wait till they are published.

Do you have anyone you’d like to thank right now for helping you on any part of your writing journey?

So many people to thank. My first published story was about a man who lost his daughter to cancer. A waitress who I knew was going through chemo, so I gave her a copy of the magazine and signed it for her. The story left such an impact that she told people about it. Her co-worker approached me and told me about her sister, who is a major player in Hollywood. She’s worked with James Patterson and helped turn his book, Along Came a Spider, into a screenplay. She also worked with James Cameron on the screenplay for The Titanic, as well as many other major titles. She was so impressed with my work that she helped me out by offering free writing advice, and she edited my first two books, absolutely free. I love all three of these women. I also have my parents to thank, my wonderful girlfriend, and a very dear friend for all of their support.

joanna-kosinska-547324-unsplash

Do you hide any secrets in your stories or books?

I have many secrets in my books. I write about things that happened to me and no one is the wiser because it’s disguised in fiction. Writing is very therapeutic that way.

Why did you start writing?

I started writing for all the right reasons: By the time I was fifteen, I had already been to rehab, prison, and I had to go to reform school in order to finish high school. While in prison, we had a cart go around once a week where we could choose a book. I never thought much about reading until I had absolutely nothing better to do with my time. I picked up a book by a writer named Richard Laymon. His book was so deranged that I flat out couldn’t believe people could get away with writing that kind of stuff. I soon discovered that reading was an escape, and as long as I had a book in my face, I was no longer in prison anymore. I wanted to write after that, to set some other kids free someday, to return the favor.

Dozens of readers want to know what inspired you to write your story. Care to share?

What inspired me to write my story? The same thing that inspires me to write every story. People. They are interesting. Good people, bad people. boring people. I love reading about them and I love writing about them. It helps me understand the world I live in. I
have a saying: “writers don’t write to live life. They write to live life twice.

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