Sweet Romance Author working on a Cozy Mystery.
Daria and I first met when she reached out to me via my website, asking if I'd be interested in beta reading her sweet romance novel, Match-Made Christmas. I was both honored she asked, and excited to meet a fellow sweet romance author, so I jumped at the chance!
And I'm so glad I did! Daria is a true joy. Her bright smile and positivity are a light in the writing community, and I'm blessed to count her among my friends. Plus, she's a talented writer! And I know fans of sweet romance will fall in love with her characters in Match-Made Christmas. Which, by the way, is being released just in time for Christmas in July! But first, let's get to know a little bit more about Daria and her writing journey.
Daria White lives in the Lone Star State of Texas, USA. The middle child of three sisters, she grew up with a beautiful love story in her parents, who have been married for thirty-five years.
Daria, when did your writing journey first begin?
I started writing at thirteen, but didn’t self publish my first novella until 2013. I wrote my first story by hand in a loose-leaf notebook, and it was seventy pages long!
Wow! I can't imagine writing seventy pages by hand! Or starting that young. What inspired you to write your first novel?
My What if Christmas Wish is a novella, but it was the first Christmas story I ever published. I love Christmas so writing a story around it was a no brainer for me. I wish I could say there was a profound moment, but all I wanted was to write a Christmas story. There’s a bit of time travel in it too where my leading lady, Patrice, gets to see how her life could have been if she had made a different choice. Seven years have passed since she made her decision, and now she’s regretting it. Though I originally self-published it in 2013, I released it as a second edition in October 2018. I wanted to show my skills had grown as a writer, and while I’m still learning, I polished it even further.
It's sitting on my Kindle, and I can't wait to read it! What inspired your most recent release?
Match-Made Christmas is centered around the enemies to lovers romance trope, although my main characters don’t quite hate each other. With so many stories with alpha males (nothing wrong with that LOL), I wanted the “unlikely guy” to win the girl. I don’t believe chivalry is dead, so I want to bring it back into my stories. I write about strong women who may have their insecurities but are working through them, and confident men who will still open the door for a woman. Sure she can open it herself, but the thought is what counts. In Match-Made Christmas, Adrienne represents the women with insecurities but does her best to hide them. Trace is the man whom she never expected despite that they grew up together.
I love novels with strong heroines, but also appreciate chivalry! I consider myself to be a confident and capable woman, but my heart still flutters when my husband of two-and-a-half years opens the car door for me. What Easter Eggs do you include in your own works of fiction? Any secret tidbits or inside jokes?
I love Turner Classic Movies, especially films made between 1930-1969. I love the old romantic comedies, dramas, and even a few westerns and musicals. If my main character loves a classic film such as “The Great Race,” “Lilies of the Field,” or “On the Waterfront,” readers will know it’s me.
I see I need to add a few more classic movies to my list. ;) What do you enjoy most about the process of writing?
I love when the story comes to life and it’s out of my head. It's made the transformation of an idea to an ebook or paperback. When it’s out to the public, I remember how much time and effort it took to make the story what it is. I try not to rush the process, but I feel better when it’s out of my head.
That is an incredibly satisfying feeling! But it's a long road to get there, isn't it? What do you enjoy least about the writing process?
I don’t care for the editing or revising. Like other writers, I’m partial to my work, so when my editor, beta reader, or critique partner tells me something needs to change or be taken out, I cringe inwardly. It’s a good thing and, of course, I want my work to be clear. I don’t want plot holes or confusing spots. Once I receive the feedback, I go back to my manuscript, and I make the necessary changes. If only stories came out right the first time.
Oh, wouldn't that be wonderful? But it's all worth it when we're able to tell the story of our heart. What is the theme or message in your most recent novel?
I have another besides Match-Made Christmas. Wish for Love will be released later this year and the theme for that is loving yourself. It’s not from a selfish place, but when we’re secure in who we are, we’re able to give that much more to the people we love. There’s nothing wrong in taking care of yourself before you reach out to others.
I adore the title and your cover! I want to meet both of these characters. Besides the themes in your individual books, is there an overarching message in all of your novels?
I want my novels to bring a form of peace. Not everyone likes the “escapism” of books, but I do. While others prefer stories that show the reality of the world, there are those who love light-hearted stories. There may still be some “issues” the characters have to work through, but they will triumph with a happy ending. There’s enough going on in the world, so I don’t see anything wrong with happily ever after. Some may say “it’s not realistic” or “that’s a fantasy,” but my response is, “it’s fiction. Isn’t that the point?”
Oh, I agree entirely! I'm thrilled there's a resurgence of Up-Lit. We need more happy stories in the world. With two new releases coming up soon, and a cozy mystery in the works, where would you like to see yourself career-wise in five years?
I would love to have at least ten romance novels published and a cozy mystery series. I do plan a historical romance too, so that’s going to require extensive research on my part. There are manuscripts that I plan on querying so hopefully one of them will be accepted by then.
I've seen your work ethic! I have no doubt you'll achieve these goals. But knowing it can be a long road to get there, what advice would you give an aspiring author just starting out?
You’ll never know unless you try. I spent too many years self-conscious and worried if people would accept me or would they even read my work. I was wrong and I’m so glad I got out of my own way. God has opened so many doors, but it was up to me to take the first step. I’m still working on telling everyone about my work as a writer, so I’m a work in progress. I say at the end of every podcast I do, “If you wrote a book, it is already unique because you wrote it. No one can write a book like you.” If I don’t write it who will? Writers have to ask themselves that question. If they’re willing to put in the work and stay persistent, they will succeed. I don’t measure success by having “best seller” in front of my name. I write when no one is watching. That’s what makes me successful. I don’t quit.
I have to say, I love your podcast catch-phrase! Not only is it true, but it's incredibly inspiring. And I'd recommend every writer go check out your podcast. It's like listening to a good friend chat about writing, and I've found it informative and encouraging. What would you say is the one thing that has surprised you the most along your writing journey?
How embracing the writing community is, especially on Twitter. I joined Twitter in 2014, but I never interacted. I probably had fourteen followers. I was content on staying in my own shell, but I thought, why not? What could it hurt to comment every now and then? If I was serious about being a writer, I needed to step out. I started interacting this past February, started a podcast, shared it, and interacted with fellow writers both in and out of my genre. By me engaging, I’m close to two thousand followers! I’m still blown away! Having the support of fellow writers makes things a little easier when things get tough. I know I’m not alone in anything.
I couldn't agree more! My only regret is not joining sooner. So many of you have become real friends.
So, in the spirit of getting to you know a little better, tell us one thing about you that's not writing related.
I originally wanted to be a singer. I’ve been writing songs since I was a kid. I even had an opportunity to sing with my sisters in a group, but God had different plans for us all. In the meantime, I still sing, and now I play the piano. I’m the lead musician at our church, so I sing and play every week.
I love this! And I hope to hear you sing and play the piano one day. I'm a huge fan of both. And I also can't help wondering if an original song lyric or two will wind up in one of your novels one day. Hint, hint. 😉
Last but not least, can you share with us what you're currently reading?
Bed and Breakfast and Murder by Patti Larsen. I’ve been on a cozy mystery kick lately, mostly because I want to write one, so this is my second read in the genre. Of course, I can never go wrong with something from Bella Andre/Lucy Kevin since she’s one of my favorites.
I'm so excited you're working on a cozy mystery! It's a genre I'd also love to dabble in, one day. But in the meantime, I'll be devouring all of your romances! Although I had the privilege of beta reading Match-Made Christmas, I've still preordered it! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the gorgeous paperback. Daria, thank you so much for your time. I can't wait to see what the next few years have in store.
If you'd like to learn more about Daria, please visit her website at dariawhite.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter and be the first to hear about new releases and get more sneak peeks into her writing life.
And don't forget to preorder your own copy of Match-Made Christmas, which will be released July 6th, 2019. Simply click on the cover below.
Until next time...