by Len Lear
I have interviewed dozens of local authors in my 25 years at the Local, but the most prolific one by far is Daralyse Lyons, of Mt. Airy, who is only 36 but has written 26 books, 22 of which have been sold to publishers and 20 of which are already out and available for purchase. “I have a not-so-secret wish of writing 80 books by the time I’m 80 years old,” she said last week, “which means I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”
How does Lyons possibly find the time to write so many books? “I don’t see time as a barrier,” she explained. “I see it as an asset. There are a lot of hours in a day and a lot of days in a week, and I think that when we prioritize our passions, getting things done isn’t difficult. I always make time to write and consider it my greatest gift and an essential form of self-actualization. But there are a lot of other things I don’t make time for, like cooking for myself, cleaning my apartment or balancing my checkbook. There’s a lot that I procrastinate. Writing just isn’t among the seemingly endless list of things I put off until a tomorrow that never seems to arrive.”
Originally from Greenwich, Conn., Dara grew up the only child of a single mom until age 11, when her mother got married again. Lyons graduated Summa Cum Laude from New York University with a double major in English and Religious Studies and a minor in History. She moved from Connecticut to Philly in 2009 and has been living in Mt. Airy ever since. “I LOVE it,” she insisted. “Mt. Airy is the quintessential Zen zone. I also love Chestnut Hill.”
When Lyons was growing up, therapists, doctors, nutritionists, hypnotherapists and social workers and all the talking in the world could not cure her of an eating disorder that afflicted her for more than 10 years. It was only after an episode of binging and purging that led to a suicidal phone call to her mother that Lyons, who was becoming a wealthy young woman climbing the ranks of a Greenwich financial firm, hating it and wondering what her real purpose in life was, began to climb out of the tunnel of despair.
Lyons, who is bi-racial, learned to combine yoga and something called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and cured herself of a decade of binging and purging, a technique that has refocused her life. “Yoga helped me connect my mind and body and begin a long and imperfect but infinitely rewarding recovery journey.”
Since becoming an author, Lyons has written adult-themed books such as “The Lost Daughter,” “Dunkin and Donuts,” “The Dating Diet,” “The Emotional Yoga Experience,” “The Lesbian Love Diaries,” “Family Ties,” “Attorney’s Alibi” and “Confessions of A Straight Gay Woman” under her given name, but she also writes children’s books under the pen-name Maggy Williams.
Lyons’ latest book, published last month, is “Yoga Cocaine.” According to the author, friends and acquaintances who hear the title “assume I’m in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction. Oddly enough, even though the book is at least partly autobiographical, I’ve never tried cocaine, and the last time I had a sip of alcohol was at a family party when I was nine years old.”
How much of “Yoga Cocaine” is fiction, and how much of it is non-fiction? “This is always an interesting question for me. Both as an author and an actor, I have a tendency to strongly identify with my characters. But in the case of Jessica, the main character in ‘Yoga Cocaine,’ I feel like a lot of her life story is based on mine. She experiences early sexualization and childhood sexual abuse, which I also did. She acts out sexually, which I did, too, in my younger days. She becomes self-destructive and, at points, suicidal. Check, check and check. I see a lot of myself in Jessica; there is a lot of overlap in our stories.”
Jermaine Quick, an award-winning movie director, has agreed to make a movie out of Lyons’ latest book. “This is really exciting!” she declared. “He has the script, and we’ve begun working together on the budget and overall shooting schedule. He’ll begin the process of casting the film in the next month or two and will start shooting in May. The film will likely come out in November or December.
“I feel very lucky to have such a talented indie filmmaker take an interest in the project. I wrote the screenplay, and I’m incredibly grateful that Quick wanted to not only make a movie based on my book but also to use my screenplay. Honestly, I can’t stop pinching myself.”
Lyons is also a member of the improv group, ComedySportz Philly, and Philly Improv Theater’s Not Yet Rated, and a producer of the We the People Improv Festival.
For more information, visit www.daralyselyons.com. “Yoga Cocaine” is available at www.amazon.com/Yoga-Cocaine-Daralyse-Lyons/ and through other online retailers. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org