Drexel University junior James Christopher Darling knows why you can’t keep a boyfriend. He also knows how to dress well, kick addictions and deal with awkward situations, among other things. Great! Does he have counseling sessions? Unfortunately not. He has, however, documented his knowledge of good personal and social practices in his hilarious self-help book “Flaming Honesty.”
I sat down with Darling to discuss his Drexel experience, the writing and publishing process of the book and his future projects. Read on for a sneak peak at Darling’s secrets to life:
The Triangle: Where are you from and how did you end up at Drexel?
James Christopher Darling: I’m from central New Jersey; a town that no one has ever heard about. But, for some reason, a lot of reality TV stars came from that town. I ended up here because it was the only college that I applied to, and I wanted to study interior design.
TT: How did your Drexel experience affect your writing of “Flaming Honesty?”
JD: I actually wrote it before I got here; it was complete before I applied.
TT: Oh, really? Was this during high school?
JD: I went to a community college before I came here to figure out what I wanted to do, and while I was there I wrote the book. I have been writing a sequel to it while I’ve been here, but it’s still early in the creative process.
TT: So then what inspired you to write “Flaming Honesty?”
JD: You’d have to read the first chapter to actually know, but it involved an old friend, a holiday ritual resulting from the birth of Jesus and people fighting over merchandise at Wal-Mart.
TT: That’s the best answer I could have asked for. What was the most difficult part of writing your own book?
JD: Sitting down and doing it. I have a very big problem with procrastination, which means I am a hypocrite, I guess, because it’s a self-help book. I would sit down and write 20 pages and then I wouldn’t go back to it for probably a month and a half at a time because I needed people to inspire me. I would go out into the world and I would see one little thing that would inspire an entire chapter and then it wouldn’t happen to me for probably two months.
TT: So how long did the whole thing take?
JD: A year and a half, but if I were to sit down every day and do it, it was probably maybe 30 to 40 days.
TT: Did you have any previous writing experience or was the decision to write a book more or less random?
JD: It took me until I was probably 14 or 15 to learn how to read. I was a very late learner. I guess that’s where my pride is in the book. When I want to do something I’m very strict and diligent with it, but I wasn’t interested in writing until I graduated high school.
TT: What is the target demographic for the book?
JD: Originally I thought that only young women would be interested so I would say women, 18 to 30. When I published it, I discovered that women in their early-30s to late-50s found it entertaining. Even a man in his mid-30s told me that it was hysterically funny, which was very surprising to me because it is geared toward women.
TT: Why should these people trust you to tell them what to do?
JD: They should trust me because anyone who has ever gotten to know me, for some reason, always comes to me for advice. I’ve been very convincing in the things that I tell people, whether they’re true or not.
TT: So they’re always going to do something, right?
JD: Right! They usually tend to take my advice.
TT: What was the editing process like?
JD: I had it edited four times by four different people. The publisher was through Amazon, CreateSpace. It’s a self-publishing company, which I chose because I knew someone who knew someone in publishing. She encouraged me to go through self-publishing because it had become a little more mainstream.
TT: So you mentioned these other books you’re writing, can you tell us more about your future projects?
JD: There’s two books and two movies. One book is a sequel to “Flaming Honesty,” another one is a novel, a comedy. I’m working on a video comic series and a movie that is a play on the sequel.
Although he said the book is targeted towards women, I, a 20-year-old male, found it hysterical and insightful. I usually am unable to continue reading anything longer than a New Yorker story, but Darling kept my attention with a steady stream of humor decorating his sound advice. If you think your life needs an update, grab a copy of “Flaming Honesty” on Amazon today.