Mooney grad’s love of reading leads to writing
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BOARDMAN — Caitlin Danks is used to being noticed with her long, dark hair and slender, athletic build.
But there is more to her than meets the eye. The 2008 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, then known as Caitlin Parrilla, is not only a medical assistant, but she also is a full-time writer.
Scratching a little more under the surface, Danks has an array of hobbies.
In addition to reading, “I also love playing video games,” Danks said, as well as drawing and working out with husband Bob.
That love of reading developed steadily into a passion for writing, as Danks began writing short scary stories after reading the entire “Goosebumps” collection around age 10.
“I would always write short, scary stories, and when I say short, I think they were like 10 pages. But they were so fun,” Danks said.
She took a hiatus from reading and writing, getting back into heavily reading in 2017, which led to Danks wanting to write her first novel, “Dance for Me.” The not-so-suitable for kids book was released in January of this year under her pen name C.M. Danks.
Once she finished writing the book, Danks asked herself a familiar question: What now?
“After I finished with my novel and I wrote those two words ‘the end,’ I’m sitting there staring at my laptop thinking, ‘OK, so now what do I do?’,”she recalled.
Danks reached out to an independent author, asking for guidance. Eventually, Danks self-published using Amazon, hired an editor and became active on social media.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” she said.
While “Dance for Me” is a standalone fiction romance story, on Sunday she released the first book in a new series.
The first book is called “Charger, Steel Valley Chains MC,” a biker/motorcycle club fiction romance.
“Yes, I included our hometown name in the title,” she said, adding she is proud of her local roots.
Danks grew up in the Youngstown and Poland area, and attended Youngstown State University. She graduated in 2014 with an associate’s degree in applied science.
About a decade ago, Danks began reading the “Harry Potter” series, followed by “Twilight” and the “Chronicles of Narnia” books. “They were so fun,” she said.
It was her mother who got Danks to read adult romance books.
“My love for a good romance book led me to writing,” Danks said.
J.R. Ward is one of Danks’ favorite authors. “She writes this amazing vampire romance series that I love,” Danks said, adding “if you’re into paranormal romance.”
In October 2019, Danks married her husband, Bob, after meeting him at a gym.
“He is a huge supporter of mine,” Danks said.
When she first told him she wanted to write and publish a book, he supported her. “I think he thought I lost my mind,” she said, “but he stands by my fun hobby all the way.”
While they don’t have children, they have a feline fur baby, Princess Zelda.
Her parents, brother and sister-in-law also are “always on the sidelines cheering me on,” Danks said.