Daryl Janney took an unusual route on the way to his education at Boston University. Before earning his degree with distinction in English literature, Janney worked for two years as a professional model.
That’s the setting for Nineteen, his debut novel. Now Janney is working on Twenty, the sequel. But he’s no longer a determined young fashion model trying to make it in a cutthroat world where physical beauty hides deep and ugly emotional scars. Photo shoots don’t show the truth: a son whose father tried to drown him; a youth who was denied affection or encouragement while growing to maturity; a young man whose dazzling good looks concealed painful self-doubt. Readers who read Nineteen are clamoring for a sequel, and Janney wants to satisfy them.
Janney, the father of seven, works as a contractor supporting his family, enjoying a happy marriage and writing when he can. He explains the yearning to be a writer while firmly anchored in the adult world of responsibility: “I wanted to be a writer but then life happened.” Or, to put it in another way, “In September of 1989, I want to sleep . . . a single man and aspiring writer. I woke up in 2009, a 47-year old father of five, expecting the birth of my sixth child.”
But in addition to being a husband, father, and carpenter whose hands have built many houses, Janney discovered that those hands wanted to wield a pen as much as they did a hammer. He had given up on his dream of becoming a writer. He was too old, he thought. It was too difficult. There wasn’t any time. But the carpenter’s hands were writer’s hands too, so every morning, he got up early to write. Yes, the process was slow and laborious. But after four years, he had a finished novel, Nineteen. The young adult novel recreates the fashion world that he remembers well; the 1980s, when a young man who was adored by the camera’s eye could be both naïve and worldly, a cynic and a dreamer, worldly and idealistic. It’s the world of fashion modeling and it’s a world some readers might shy away from, reluctant to accept the truth of what’s going on when models leave the runway.
Janney has begun a Kickstarter campaign to write Twenty, the next in his series about young Macklevane, a sought-after model who travels from Milan to Paris to New York City. With crowdfunding support, Janney hopes that this novel will only take nine months to finish, so that a paperback and e-book version can be ready for eager readers by the summer of 2016. He’s seeking $19,000 by September 2 so that his writing dream can continue its course, because with a family to support, he knows he can’t be a full-time author, But his memories of his life as a model are a fertile field for those writer’s hands
Janney’s crowdfunding revenue will be used for the marketing and promotion of Nineteen and the writing, editing, and designing of Twenty, which delves deeper into the glossy world of 1980s glam-fashion, the world where Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein are not only designing clothes but also designing the look of an era. This is uncharted territory for the young adult genre, but in Janney’s writer/builder hands, it’s one readers will want to explore.