Since she could hold a crayon and read a book, Darlene Reilley, 33, has been reading and writing.
Although writing has always been intuitive to Reilley, she didn’t know it was possible to live off of it.
Six years ago, Reilley took the challenge from a friend to write a novel in a month. She didn’t succeed, but it ignited her addiction to writing.
Reilley not only writes, but also supports other writers in the community as well through several writing groups and projects.
November is a busy month for Reilley, because she writes a 50,000 word novel and is a municipal liaison for the international National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.
During the rest of the year, Reilley works part-time for Pierce College’s Peers to Peers Mentors and attends school full time. Reilley has her own freelance writing business called Reilley Writes and she had a blog of writing and publishing advice that she’s now making into a book. She’s the president of the creative writing group at Pierce College Puyallup, Ink and Ingenuity.
She writes every day and founded a local writers group.
Reilley is originally from Michigan, but has bounced around the country. She ended up in Washington when her sister was deployed to Iraq and someone needed to take care of their mother. Reilley’s mother has a heart condition.
After two tours in Iraq, Reilley’s sister, a military police officer, is now stationed in Hawaii and Reilley still cares for her mother.
Reilley’s writing addiction has fueled many writing projects. She has self-published two books, a fantasy-fiction book called “Zombie Slayer” and a book of poetry called “Poetry from the heart: God, guys and the rest of it.”
“I don’t feel normal if I don’t sit down and write for at least 20 minutes everyday,” Reilley says.
She will write anytime and anywhere that she can. Whether that is at Starbucks with her local writing group, the Sock Monkey Writer’s Group, the middle of the night at home, or at Madigan Army Medical Center when she takes her mother to appointments—Reilley can and will write no matter what.
Reilley goes through seven edits of her books by herself, then gets a peer review and formats them for Createspace.com.
Reilley started a local writer’s group called “Sock Monkey Writer’s Group” two years ago. The group derived from NaNoWriMo when Reilley was organizing events as a municipal liaison. The group still meets about twice per week and has eight core members according to Reilley.
NaNoWriMo has brought many writers into Reilley’s life. One participant was 8 years old.
Bringing writing and people together is what Reilley is all about.
In Reilley’s NaNoWriMo group she’s noticed that about 80 percent of group members finish their 50,000 word novel. Outside of her group, she estimates 10-20 percent of writers complete the challenge.
“I like it when they get the kids involved,” Reilley said. “It’s fun.”
Reilley is proud of a 16-year-old girl who completed a 100,000 word novel in a month in Reilley’s group.
Reilley was getting so many questions about writing that she created a blog called DarWrites of tips, inspiration and practice writing prompts. Reilley explains the blog as an extension of her NaNoWriMo mentoring.
Reilley recently took down the blog in order to start formatting her material into a book, which is now in its basic manuscript stage.
Reilley’s favorite thing to write about is science fiction romance. Her writing is influenced by everything around her.
“Life influences writing…the writer takes all that in and runs with it,” Reilley says.
This February, Reilley finished a short story about zombies. It took her a week and a half to write it.
She is currently looking for an agent to try and get her book “Divantinum” published. It is about ancient Atlantians and the story of the human race.
Reilley says it’s a fun time to be a writer as the book industry changes. She hopes to someday get her books available for eReaders. Reilley received her first eReader, a Kindle Fire, from her sister for her birthday this February.
“This thing (Kindle) is dangerous, you can buy a book in one click,” Reilley says. “Kinda breaks my heart because I miss Borders, I did a lot of writing here.”
Reilley is also working on a novel called “Beyond the Darkness” which she describes as a Tolkinian fantasy: a futuristic good versus evil struggle in a mid-evil time frame. This manuscript is currently in its third self-edit by Reilley.
Reilley has written about many things, though. A private investigation story could be next. Reilley studied Private Investigation at Penn Foster Career College in 2008. She spent two months with a private investigator and realized that it was too dangerous for her.
“I want to write and help people to write,” Reilley says.
Reilley will graduate from Pierce College in June and is applying to universities to continue her studies to become an English professor and author. Her dream is to continue helping people write.
Find Reilley’s self-published books here:
Zombie Slayer: createspace.com/3463024
Poetry from the Heart: createspace.com/3612088
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost