Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Danielle Calloway, Author of The Lost Child

12 October 2019

Special Guest Interview with Danielle Calloway, Author of The Lost Child

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Nicolás is a deaf boy on the run and trying to survive in a dangerous hearing world. Lily moves to Ecuador from the US to teach the deaf, full of uncertainties and trying to adjust, she meets Nicolás. 
Now Lily must gain his trust to save him.

I'm pleased to welcome author Danielle Calloway to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

“The Lost Child” is based on a true story. Eight years old, deaf, and abused, Nicolas runs away and lives on the streets of Ecuador, South America. Four years running and hiding from dangers, he braved the streets while looking for a loving family to let him be their little boy. A Child Services police officer, Antonio Morales, using his vacation time and own money, scoured the country trying to find information about Nicolas, and, most importantly, finding Nicolas to keep him safe and to place him in a loving home.

In the meantime, Lily, a volunteer from the United States, and Nicolas crossed paths. Safe in Lily’s home, Lily must find a way to get Nicolas to trust her enough to open up. Lily and Officer Morales now have a timeline: find a way for Nicolas to trust them enough to tell them what they need to know so they can find a home for him, otherwise the state would lock him up in an institution.

What is your preferred writing routine?

In order to fully open my creative side, I need to limit my distractions. My writing desk is bare, with only a picture of my Dad and his wife, who are my greatest supporters, and a cup of coffee or tea.

In the late afternoon or evening, after my to-do list is done and my schedule cleared, I can concentrate on writing. I work best with an uncluttered mind. Relaxed, I delve into my creative world and my fingers fly over the keyboard. My dog, Harley Davidson, usually lays on my lap, creating a nice, fuzzy and warm arm rest as I type.

What advice do you have for new writers?

My Dad gave me the best advice, “Write, just write. Don’t go back and edit what you’ve written until you’re done with the first draft. Make notes, if you must, about parts you need to fix, but don’t edit. Because, if you are constantly going back, you won’t go forward, and you will disrupt your creative flow.”  Following his advice made all the difference.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I’m still trying to figure that one out, this is all very new to me. Any advice is warmly accepted.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Ten years had passed since Officer Morales and Child Services here in Manta had contact with Nicolas. Over the years many children had passed in and out of the system, they’ve saved many children from kidnappers, abusers, and abusive homes. 

Yet, when I went to their offices to gather more information about Nicolas, they immediately remembered him with fondness and smiles, asking how he was doing. Everyone I contacted remembered him, even after all those years. That’s how special little Nicolas was, that’s how much he touched people’s hearts with his innocence and wanting to love and be loved.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The Lost Child is not only based on a true story, it is a story I was very much a part of. A lot of the scenes I wrote while crying. The hardest scene to write, however, was the day Nicolas spilt milk and begged me to beat him. 

Curling up on the floor in a fetal position, he waited for me to hit and kick him. When I wouldn’t, he begged even harder, “Just beat me and get it over with so I can drink my milk.” It still breaks my heart to remember his pleading eyes, full of pain at the thought of me, his new friend, hurting him.  My heart twisted in pain, realizing he not only blamed himself for the abuse he’d received, he also truly believed he was unlovable.

Reasoning with him I saw his expressive eyes and face slowly grasping the truth: although deaf and a little boy, he deserved love and deserved to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect.  He then signed, “Thank you for not beating me,” and hugged me tightly, crying. At that moment he started to trust again, moving him to later open up, allowing me to see his true inner beauty.

Every time I edited that scene, I needed a box of tissues at my side. Even now, thinking about it, brings tears and sniffles from me.

What are you planning to write next?

I’m currently working on the second draft of To Hold a Rainbow, about three sisters driven apart in their childhood by their mother’s psychological torment. Now, in their adult life they start sifting through the lies to find the truth about themselves. Will this truth drive them further apart or closer together? Will they ever be sisters?

Danielle Calloway

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About the Author

Danielle Calloway, a San Francisco Bay Area native, made a permanent move to Ecuador, South America, in 1997 as a volunteer worker, to teach the deaf. Until becoming disabled with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, she experienced many adventures: visits to the rainforest, the Galapagos Islands, wading with white-tipped sharks, surfing, and horses, to mention a few. She continues to teach the deaf and their families as she enjoys the little things life offers. Danielle is currently working on a new novel, “To Hold a Rainbow” and two Sci-Fi chapter books for young readers. You can find Danielle on Twitter @AuthorCalloway

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