Thanks very much, Katheryn. The Mill River Recluse is the story of Mary McAllister, a woman who has suffered from severe social anxiety disorder her entire life. As a result of certain events that occur in her youth, Mary’s condition worsens until she becomes a virtual prisoner in her marble mansion that overlooks the tiny town of Mill River, Vermont. The townspeople are completely unaware that she keeps a secret, one which will change all of their lives.
What do you think have been the biggest factors in the success of The Mill River Recluse?
As of the date of this interview, more than 600,000 copies of The Mill River Recluse have been sold, which is still shocking to me. I think several factors contributed to result in that level of sales, but in particular, I think having a very low price (to encourage readers to take a chance on a completely unknown author), running features on large ebook-related websites and blogs (to introduce the story to readers), and being a story that resonates with readers (to an extent that I never anticipated or imagined) are the three things that really served to get my novel on an upward trajectory.
Many authors use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads to promote themselves and their work. However, you don’t appear to have used these sites as much as other writers. Can I ask why this is?
I’ve definitely used these sites – I have a Facebook author page, a Twitter account, and a Goodreads account – but I’m still a relatively unknown writer, and I don’t have the huge followings that many other authors have. Those followings take time to build, and since The Mill River Recluse is my first novel and hasn’t even been out there for a year yet, I see myself as being at the beginning of this process. Also, until very recently, I had very limited free time, which I devoted mostly to writing and not social networking. Happily, that has changed.
How has the massive success of your novel changed your life?
Until very recently, I worked full-time as an attorney. I never expected to change careers – I always thought that I’d spend my entire working life in the legal profession, and that writing fiction was something I’d continue to do in what little spare time I had. However, the success of The Mill River Recluse has resulted in an extraordinary opportunity being extended to me – a chance to write full-time, as my career, which is something I’ve dreamed about being able to do since I was a little girl – and to succeed with that opportunity, I believe I must absolutely give writing the best effort I can. I made the extremely difficult decision to give up my “day job” and focus on writing full-time because later on in my life, I did not want to be in a position of looking back at the writing path I might have taken and asking myself “what if?”
I believe you are working on a second novel at the moment. Could you tell us something about it?
Both my second novel (currently in progress) as well as my third novel will be set in the fictional world of Mill River, Vermont, and published by Ballantine Books (a division of Random House). The second novel introduces a new story and some new characters, but many of the characters from The Mill River Recluse are involved in the story as well.
I’m also VERY excited to report that The Mill River Recluse will soon be published in the UK/Commonwealth by Sphere, a division of Little, Brown UK. The e-book version will be released around the end of June, and a print version will be published the first week of December. Italian, German, and Spanish foreign rights to The Mill River Recluse have been sold as well, but I don’t have release dates for those versions yet.
When you are not writing, what do you like doing in your free time (if you have any!)?
In no particular order – I love to cook, play piano, read, garden, and travel. I also have a toddler son, and I love spending time with him – which is also something I’m able to do more of these days!
What advice do you have for other authors out there?
Write the best story you can . . . revise and edit it until it shines . . . and never, never give up.
Finally, do you have any parting comments that you would like to share with us?
My favourite quote is by Henry David Thoreau, who said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Life is fleeting and precious, and I think that’s good advice, especially for writers.
And lastly, I’d just like to thank you, Katheryn, for the opportunity to have an interview on your lovely blog. J
You are most welcome! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions and for telling us about your amazing book. I can’t wait for the next two to come out!
You can find out more about Darcie Chan at the following sites:
On the web: http://www.darciechan.com
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Darcie.Chan
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarcieChan