Her stories are a brutally honest view into a part of life people experience but rarely discuss. Her e-books have topped Kindle's "Top 100 free Best Sellers in Biographies & Memoirs of Women," and she was #3 in the "Top 100 free Best Sellers in Love & Romance." I spoke with Daisy Danger about everything from her beginnings as a newspaper reporter, to her trials and tribulations as a blogger, twitter personality and fulltime writer.
: Do you remember when you started writing? Or what made you want to write?
DD: I started writing as soon as I learned to spell. I don't think I ever consciously decided to learn to write, it's just what I always naturally did. I was totally the geeky high school newspaper editor, and I took it way too seriously, but I loved it. I had big dreams of becoming a journalist and an editor. I was hired a year or so out of high school as a news writer for the local paper, that was thrilling. I loved that job, I loved the writing and seeing my name in the by-line. The editor told me I was the only real writer they had on staff.
At the time, I was involved with an abusive boyfriend. He showed up to the newsroom and called so often that I finally got fired because of it. As I was being fired, the editor-in-chief told me they had seriously considered me for the night editor position. I would have been second-in-command of the entire newspaper. I think I was twenty years old. To be so close to my dream so early, then to lose it... That devastated me so much that I didn't write again for ten years. Not a word.
When I finally went back to school in my 30's, I accidentally took a poetry writing class. I was taking a science and math heavy course load, I was studying to become a nurse and needed an elective. I signed up for creative writing, thinking it would be an easy credit and a nice break from the more difficult courses.
The night of the first class, the instructor announced that the focus of the semester would be poetry. I hated poetry, I went out of my way to avoid it. I almost left during the break, but she was so enthusiastic that I decided to stick around. She got me hooked. I had my first poem published in a literary journal within a couple months. I ended up taking her class three times, and really haven't stopped writing since. I never did become a nurse. * * *
: How long have you had daisydanger.com? What inspired you to start?
DD: I started my blog in May of 2010. I was still writing poetry, but it wasn't selling. A friend asked if I would proofread a piece for an anthology she'd been asked to submit for—an anthology of real life sex stories. I was enthralled with the idea and asked if the editor would let me submit too. The editor said yes. I spent three solid days working on a piece. When it was finished, I thought it was one of the best things I'd ever written. I sent it to my sex-positive friends for proofing and they went crazy for it and wanted more. I knew I was on to something.
I waited for months for a response from the editor. She sent me a rejection letter. I was devastated. I absolutely knew that my writing was solid and that there was an audience for it. I’d had a domain name that I’d bought a couple years before, but I wasn’t ever sure what I was going to do with it until then. I took another look at my original piece and broke it into a few parts, and published those as the original blog posts. I decided I was going to tell my entire life story framed only through my sexual experiences. I wasn’t going to review sex toys or post photos, I was only going to do one thing and do it well. I started out with a handful of readers, then Warren Ellis, the comic book writer, linked to me on his blog. Everything exploded overnight. It’s since expanded into a print book, three ebooks and a podcast. I feel like a micro-media company.* * *
: Did any specific writers inspire you to write about sex and relationships
DD: Stephen Elliott. I had read his book “My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up,” before I’d submitted to the anthology. His stories in that book are so raw, so real. It absolutely blew me away that someone could write about sex like that. Sex isn’t always pretty and romantic. It’s also ugly, primal, painful, it can ruin you or bring you back to life. When I realized I wanted to write about real sex, it was his writing that showed me the way. * * *
: Do you have a day job or do you write fulltime?
DD: I’m lucky enough to work from home, so my days are very flexible. I don’t write every day, but I spend a fair portion on Twitter and doing other blog related stuff, like the podcast. * * *
: You share extremely personal moments with your readers, what is that like?
DD: So much of the really bad stuff happened to me so long ago that it doesn’t feel real anymore, so that’s not as tough as one might think. I’ve disconnected from it, and I was also in therapy for awhile. I couldn’t write this stuff if I wasn't safe and mentally healthy, it would kill me.
There have been a few pieces that have been incredibly hard to write. I published one recently about having sex in a mall parking lot. It took me nearly five months to write. The story itself is fun and sexy, but having to conjure up the memories of that particular person were really difficult. He’s someone who was really terrible to me and it was hard to separate that out and just write about this one good experience.
I write all my stories in the present tense. I think it works better for what I write. I’ve published pieces about some really horrible things that have happened to me, like being assaulted and abused. Sometimes readers get in touch with me to make sure I’m safe; I have to reassure them that the event happened years ago. One of my favorite comments is “Daisy Danger writes like pulling the goddamn fire alarm.”* * *
: I know you change names, but certainly those who were involved in those stories realize when the story involves them or is about them. Has anyone ever gotten upset?
DD: Absolutely. There are a handful of people who know about the writing. I don’t tell everyone. I haven’t talked to some of these people in years and years, I don’t see any point in telling them now. However, there are a couple people who I’ve told, and they read what I wrote about them. One person was shocked that I saw him in that light when we were together. He stopped speaking to me for several months. We finally spoke the other week, and he still isn’t totally over it.
Another person, who’s mentioned in several of the stories, said he found it interesting to read what happened from my point of view. He knew the stories were going to be really ugly when he read them. I was prepared for the worst, but it never happened. The stories actually healed a lot of old wounds between us. * * *
: Unless your parents were comic book heroes, I assume Daisy Danger is a pen name. How important is it to maintain anonymity for you?
DD: I write under the pen name to protect the people close to me. I’m very aware that once something is out on the internet, it’s out there forever, so I try to exercise reasonable caution.* * *
: How do you remember so many details from your experiences? Do you keep a notepad by the bed?
: I like to say that I have a poetic license and I'm not afraid to use it. I combine some experiences and tweak some details for readability. Do I remember ever single word of dialogue? No, of course not. I do, however, have a strong sensory memory and I notice details that most people miss. A lot of the stories I tell are pretty emotionally and physically charged, it's hard to forget such important events.
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: For your book (and ebook), The True Life Sex Adventures of Daisy Danger
, how did you choose the stories included?
DD: I’ve always thought of each individual story as part of an overall story. On the blog, you can read as many as you like in whatever order you feel like reading them. Each story is self-contained, you don’t need to know anything from any other story to read the others. The book, however, contains all the stories in chronological order. I feel like it’s there that the reader can really get a sense of my whole story. There are recurring characters and continuing story lines, all those pieces fall into place by reading them in the proper order. I’ve written with that intent from day one. * * *
: What do you see as the difference between porn and erotica?
DD: I just read this quote the other day: "The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."-Gloria Leonard. It’s all essentially people fucking, it’s just the wrapper you put around it. I’m not sure what I write is even erotica, it’s just the easiest way to describe it.