Hi, Danielle! Welcome. I have been looking forward to having our ‘chat’. Your series sounds so cool! Congratulations!
Let’s dive in.
- Tell us about yourself? Who are you and what do you like to do when you’re not a writer?
Great questions. Well, I’m a wife and mom to three beautiful kiddos that range in age from 12 1/2 to 5-years-old. They keep me busy and on my toes every second of the day. Between being a taxi to golf and swimming to school events and helping them with a foundation they are starting to help support our area food bank, I’m generally pretty busy! I am also an avid runner and yogi. I find quiet time and space for myself each day through yoga and meditation—it helps me clear my mind when I am writing. My day job is all books too! I’m the Marketing Specialist for Waldorf Publishing. Somewhere in all of that, I love to have my toes deep in the soil of my garden, and I am a curious and adventurous cook in the kitchen. After reading this I need a nap and a few sound-minded and able-bodied secretaries! HA!
About the Whizbang series: this inspiration is honestly something I like to refer to as serendipity.
One month before I was given the pleasure of signing my contract with the Waldorf Publishing team, my dear friend Erin snapped a photograph of an old Royal typewriter, seated in a beautiful tan and maroon case, which her family had been gifted. Knowing my affinity for antiques, especially those that deal with writing and literary works, she sent me a text one early Sunday morning with the words, “Look at what David’s father gave us.”
I hadn’t yet made my way out of bed as it was still very early. Hearing the familiar chime of my phone, I wondered who was texting me at that time. As the photo came through, with it came the idea for the first book. I sprang from bed and began outlining. Unbeknownst to Erin, that single photo became my muse. In honor of this gift, I named the main character after her daughter, Elizabeth. The rest of the series has honestly taken on a life of its own. I write as it comes and once I start, it’s impossible to get the characters to stop finding their through my fingertips.
3. That’s an inspiration with extra-special meaning. Tell me more about your journey as a writer. When did you start and how do you keep the creative juices flowing?
I started making up stories when I was a small child. When I learned to write, I began writing them down and stapling them together to form a “book.” Writing is something I like to say is innate for me—as if it was breathed into me at birth. When I was in high school, I had an English teacher that pushed me to write more, be better, to focus. She submitted one of my pieces to a contest called Wings of Freedom. It won and was displayed in the White House and then later in the halls of Congress. It inspired me to keep writing. I selected journalism in college so that I could write daily. I’ve spent nearly every day since writing in one way or another. I knew early on that being an author was ultimately where I would finish my professional career. I’m truly lucky to be living that dream.
4. A lifelong fascination with words and how they fit together into stories is a great pedigree for so many wonderful authors. You’re in excellent company! Give us the elevator pitch for your book.
The Whizbang Machine, Book 1: After years of running from his tragic past, Jack Yale books a flight home. With him is a typewriter that is intended to be a gift for his granddaughter, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth. The minute Elizabeth's fingers cradle the large black and cream keys the machine responses: popping, sizzling, and roaring to life with a Whiz-Whiz-BANG! Elizabeth quickly discovers the typewriter has powers beyond anything she has ever seen. The more she types, the more the machine spells out guarded secrets. Each secret leads them deeper into a haunted past. Each secret must be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries. The ultimate goal is to remove the curse. The question is: will Jack and Elizabeth be able to carry out their mission?
The Whizbang Machine, Tunney’s Curse, Book 2 (Out on 8.1.17)
Tunney’s Curse” finds Elizabeth Yale clinging to life. Her plan to save the Whizbang machine has backfired. As her grandfather, Jack, feverishly works to save her, the Whizbang factory begins to topple down around them. Narrowly escaping, the pair realizes the Whizbang machine is missing. Jack and Elizabeth must follow the clues Elizabeth’s deceased father, Jesse, left behind to unravel the secrets of Tunney’s Curse and stop it once and for all. This must be done before Elizabeth’s mother’s 40th birthday—which is mere days away. As they dig, they are sent on a wild chase into the dark underbelly of the Netherlands, into the city’s canals looking for a sunken ship, and through the private chambers of a Queen. Yet, it seems that each new clue puts the duo dead-smack into danger.
I do! Much to my critic’s dismay – I love Grandpa Jack! He is unconventional. He is feisty. He isn’t afraid of anything or anyone. He completely flips the idea of a “grandparent” on its head and I absolutely love that idea. Since when did someone have to be “old” because of their age?
Truthfully, Jack has been criticized for being a bad grandparent in some reviewer’s eyes. I laugh when I read these sorts of reviews. All that says to me is the character has become “real” for the reader. Like him or not, he is my favorite.
Elizabeth is a bit like me, but only a slight bit. I’ve given her my head-strong attitude and my determination to succeed at anything she puts her name to, but really that’s as close as any of these characters get to my true personality. I always separate my life from those I create.
6. Grandpa Jack sounds like a marvellous character. Feisty! After getting to know Jack, your readers will totally agree that a number doesn’t have to dictate your age. Who would you like to see play your characters in a movie?
I’ve been asked this before. Honestly, I just don’t know! I would LOVE to see little-known actors and actresses come in and own the parts of these characters. Readers imagine the characters as they read. Oftentimes when well-known actors play book characters readers cannot disconnect them from their past roles. I would hate to see that happen to this series. I do write with one actor in mind when it comes to Jack, but I wouldn’t want him to play him in the movies. The actor is actually much older than Jack Yale. I use him while writing because it’s easier for me to visualize how I think Jack’s face and body moves.
7. You make a great case for having little-known actors! Do you have a favourite time of day and place to write? Do you have a routine?
I have gotten accustomed to writing wherever I am. I’m lucky to be able to travel with my writing career. So I’ve written much of the third book in The Whizbang series on various planes. While I’m home I always write in my office. It’s a separate space in my home that belongs to me, and me alone.
I’m an early riser. I write 7 days a week starting at 5 a.m. I generally can whip out a chapter by 10 a.m. I write very quickly.
8. What do you do to market your book? I’m so blessed to have a group of talented people behind me. While I do market on my own, I also have the support of Waldorf Publishing and the experts at BookMasters to help me along. I have my social media platforms – Facebook: Author Danielle A. Vann and Twitter: @AuthorDanielleV. I also do lots of blog tours and interviews. I speak at schools, appear at book festivals, give magazine interviews, do in-store book signings, and do live media interviews too. My work has been advertised and featured at various events and national magazines.
9. Who are your three top author crushes? Who would you most like to meet? I swear I say his name too much, but I’m a HUGE Garth Stein fan. Love him! I would love to pick his brain and learn how to write in such a simple, yet expressive way. I feel like it takes me fifty sentences to tell you someone’s shirt is blue. HA! That’s just my style, though.
I would LOVE to meet Mitch Albom. His work leaves me breathless. In fact, my oldest daughter is named after one of his characters in “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”
Lastly, Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m never speechless, but I think I would be if I had the chance to sit down and talk writing and life with her. She truly is a masterful, soulful being.
10. A great list of wonderful authors. What are your future plans for writing? Currently, I have book 3 in the Whizbang series underway. That is scheduled for November 2018. Then I will write Book 4. I may continue the series past four books, but haven’t made plans on what the end truly looks like just yet. I also have other books to revisit and write. I don’t see myself giving up my building career anytime soon.
11. What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring authors? Keep writing. Make it habit. Do it every single day. Stop doubting your talent and your ability and just do the work. You’ll thank yourself later.
Thanks so much for joining me today, Danielle! The Whizbang series has all the qualities of a great summer read!
Please check out Danielle Vann’s links and social media sites.
This is the link to ALL of Danielle's books
Half-Price Books: https://www.hpb.com/products?keywords=Vann%2C+Danielle+A.
It’s also available through Follettlearning.com in the U.S.A and internationally.
Danielle A. Vann
Marketing Specialist for Waldorf Publishing
Facebook @ Author Danielle A. Vann
Books out now:
Gracie Lou & the Bad Dream Eater
Ranger & Keys
Building Faith Through A Carpenter's Hands with TLC's Brandon Russell
The Whizbang Machine, Book 1
Coming out AUGUST 1, 2017:
The Whizbang Machine, Tunney's Curse, Book 2
The Whizbang Machine, Book 1 has been awarded : Winner of YA at the Amsterdam Book Festival, Runner-Up at the San Francisco Book Festival, Silver in the International Literary Classics book awards, 2nd place at the North Texas Book Festival, 2016 Finalist in the International Readers' Favorite contest, and has earned a Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
The Whizbang Machine, Tunney's Curse, Book 2 won GOLD in the International Literary Classics, has placed Runner-Up in the New York Book Festival, received Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival, and has earned a Literary Classics Seal of Approval.