Vintage Sundress is back with another installment, this time featuring Sundress author Danny M. Hoey, Jr.
Danny wrote his debut novel, The Butterfly Lady, in 2013, and he took some time to speak with intern Lauren Sutherland to touch base on life since his first publication and take an honest look at the struggles of publishing and the literary community.
Sutherland: What has changed for you since The Butterfly Lady was published?
Hoey: Since The Butterfly Lady was published, honestly, I have become a little more anxious. Not because I can’t write or produce, but because I am afraid that what I write next won’t be good enough. I have been invited to a lot of readings/panels; people have taught my book, and I have gotten great feedback about the work. And, every time, the question comes up, “When is the next book?” So, that makes me anxious and nervous and fearful that I can’t write a good enough book again.
Sutherland: Has the publishing of The Butterfly Lady altered your perspective on the literary community?
Hoey: Honestly, I thought more folks in the literary community would be more supportive. I support other artists by reading their books and telling folks publicly that I read their books. I have folks who read my book and tell me in private that they loved it but never say it publicly. That bothers me, and I hate that I feel bad about that.
Sutherland: Was your rise to publication smooth or a struggle? What obstacles did you face?
Hoey: It was rough—I got a lot of rejections that were “positive” with remarks like, “I like the book, but it’s not for us.” Also, because of the subject matter, I was fearful of folks not accepting the work. But once it was accepted, things moved smoothly, and the book was received very well. And, I am thankful for that.
Sutherland: What is something worth noting about being published that you would want unpublished writers to know?
Hoey: You must keep going—keep producing, writing, creating—even when the book is out. Because the work must continue.
Sutherland: Have you published other full-length works or chapbooks since being published at Sundress?
Hoey: I have not. I have had some stories published as well as some academic articles. Also, my book was a feature at a Writing Festival at Broward College in South Florida—all students in the ENC 1101 courses read my book and did various projects/research/responses over the work.
Sutherland: What are you working on now?
Hoey: I have a complete draft of my second novel, and I am in the process of polishing it. I am kind of superstitious, so I don’t want to divulge too much information, but it is about a soul singer and race riots.
Dr. Danny M. Hoey, Jr., an Associate Professor of English, joined Indian River State College in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of English. He most recently served as the Administrative Director of Minority Affairs and English Department Chair in addition to his professorship. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing, along with a Master of Arts degree in Africana Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He actively participates in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Modern Language Association, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His stories have appeared in WarpLand, Women in REDzine, Mandala Journal, Connotation Press, African Voices Magazine, SnReview, The Writer’s Bloc, and The Hampton University First-Year Writing Textbook. His pedagogical essay, “Dutchman, The Black body, and The Law,” is forthcoming from the Modern Language Association’s Series Approaches to Teaching Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman. The Butterfly Lady, his first novel, won the ForeWord Firsts’ Winter 2013 debut fiction award and the Bronze Award in the IndiFab Book of the Year Award. He is currently at work on his second novel.
Some of Hoey’s work: