PNG grad asks readers how much can loyalty & love be tested in latest novel
Published 12:28 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Danielle Olivier Jackson has always been a reader.
So much so that a second grade teacher put the idea of writing in her head because she was routinely ahead of her peers on reading expectations.
“From there, writing has always been a comfort for me,” Jackson said. “Even if what I created stayed in my journal, the process of creating was cathartic.”
Jackson’s creativity and leadership blossomed at Port Neches-Groves High School thanks, in part, to the efforts of quality mentors.
Journalism teacher Linda Briggs guided to Jackson to become the yearbook editor and a feature writer for the student newspaper. Dance team instructor Rosie Einkauf helped Jackson’s achieve captain status
Jackson graduated from PNG in 1993 and earned a bachelors in political science from Lamar University in 1997 and a masters in English 2003.
The accomplished author eventually earned her PhD at Oklahoma State University and currently lives in Greater Houston with her family and three rescue dogs. You can follow her on Instagram at @daolivier24.
Her most recent project is Her Neighbor, a novel largely written during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The story begins with 9-year-old Julienne going to live with her aunt and uncle. Her next-door neighbor is a boy named Daniel.
Their childhood friendships is complicated in adulthood as Daniel is an artist with a penchant for whiskey and one-night stands. Julienne is a wife, a mother and a teacher.
They are loyal to each other through marriage, miscarriage, divorce, addiction and death. When their friendship reaches a crossroads, they must decide how they will proceed, possibly not being in each other’s lives at all.
The story asks how far can loyalty and love be tested?
“The story was always centered around Julienne and Daniel’s childhood friendship, so the themes of loyalty and love naturally evolved from there,” Jackson shared with Port Arthur Newsmedia.
“With Her Neighbor, I did not know the exact ending. In fact, I had two other endings, but the ending we have is the one that felt the most authentic to these characters. However, in meeting with various book clubs and fans of the book, everyone has a definite opinion about the ending. I truly appreciate their perspective, because they are taking their life experience and interacting with the book to consider how they thought the story should have played out.”
Her Neighbor is available via Ingram, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and other online retailers.
The novel is published under the D.A. Olivier authorship by Atmosphere Press and is now available in paperback.
Jackson says she usually starts her writing process with a notebook to develop characters and get a feel for them down to what is a favorite color and what playlist songs would apply.
“I also like to draft a timeline; this helps me connect the story to the characters and the setting,” Jackson said. “From there I compose on my laptop. Her Neighbor was written primarily during the height of COVID, so most of the writing occurred upstairs in my home office, which is really a part of the attic that has been converted. My desk sits under the slanted roof. It’s cozy and conducive to creating.”