Welcome to Author Danika Dinsmore!
Danika Dinsmore is a poet, filmmaker, educator… and accidental novelist. She has been working with children in a variety of settings for 20 years. While Executive Director of the Northwest SPokenword LAB, she co-created Washington State’s first youth poetry slam and developed a curriculum guide for teaching poetry in the schools. She also created the Seattle Poetry Festival’s Emerging Voice spokenword program for teens. After moving to British Columbia she turned her attention to film, television, and new media, writing, producing, and directing numerous short films as well as showrunning an educational broadcast TV series. She has worked as an artist-in-the-schools and media literary educator for Learning Through the Arts and has taught writing courses at Vancouver Film School, Capilano University, and Creative Writing for Children. She accidentally became a novelist when she adapted an original feature film script into her first book: the middle-grade fantasy adventure Brigitta of the White Forest. The accidental novel accidentally became a series and the second one (The Ruins of Noe) is due out in Spring 2012.
Her awards include the Washington State Poets Association award for Performance Poetry and the “Best Fresh Voice” Screenwriting Award from the Female Eye Film Festival. Her poetry compilations include Every Day Angels and Other Near Death Experiences, Her Red Book, and All Over the Road (CD). She lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her husband and their spoiled cat Victor Gato.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Night owl, or early bird?
My default mode is Night Owl, but I’ve been practicing being an early bird for the past few years. I’ve discovered that I like writing first thing in the morning. And I love that feeling of being up before life had kicked in.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I think it will surprise people, actually, by how developed the world is and by how the story unfolds.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m working on the second and third books in the series a bit simultaneously to make sure everything lines up properly. The Ruins of Noe is Brigitta’s next grand adventure and Ondelle of Grioth is a prequel that takes place years before Brigitta was born. I keep changing my mind as to whether the series will have five books or seven. I’ve outlined seven, but might write the first five and move on to something else. I hate to sound so trendy, but I’m also working on a young adult dystopian novel called Islands of the Moon.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Great writing I could fall into over and over again. The magic of it all – that I could become so emotionally invested, so moved, by a story or poem. That ideas appear out of nowhere and take on a life of their own. The beauty of language. The miracle of language. The playground of it.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I think it’s about to happen. My book tour starts March 12 and I’ve been looking forward to it for months. I think that’s going to be an entire month of rewards. Other than that, I’m still amazed whenever a complete stranger buys my book and reads it.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write for you, write what you want, and write for the love of writing. That has to be your reward because it’s a tough way to make a living.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
For sure. I think there are little pieces of me all over the place. As a teenager I always felt a bit like an outsider, the way Brigitta does. I’ve felt called to do something that I wasn’t confident I was up to. There’s a bit of me in both Auntie Ferna and High Priestess Ondelle as well. I don’t see how anyone could not find themselves in their stories somewhere.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
The “craziest” writing idea has actually been going on for the past 13 years. Since 1993, a shifting menagerie of poets has been getting up every night at 3:15 AM during the month of August to write. I started this experiment with poet Bernadette Mayer after doing my master’s thesis on her work and it’s been going on ever since. I honestly can’t not do the experiment each year, although I have had to figure out ways to wake myself up without waking up my husband.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Don’t quit before the miracle happens. That was from Fred Jameson (Aka Beaver Chief), a spiritual mentor and friend who passed away about 10 years ago.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
How about book to movie? I work in the film industry as well, so I understand the challenge of adaptation. It’s difficult to satisfy fans of books, myself included. That said, I’m really looking forward to The Hunger Games and Water for Elephants. Two very different books that I couldn’t put down.
What was your favorite children’s book?
It’s so hard for me to pick favourites of anything… when I was a kid I adored The Phantom Tollbooth, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and Harriet the Spy. I even had a spy notebook and spy route. As an adult, I think The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane is one of the most beautiful children’s books ever. I can’t read it without crying.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
So you Think You Can Dance. My guilty pleasure.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought it was a painfully beautiful and perfect story.
Favorite places to travel?
I love to travel in general. Invite me anywhere and I’ll go, especially if I can travel by train or ferry or bicycle. I like greenery and water and mountains, so the islands here in B.C. are terrific. But I like cities as as well! I’ve been to London, Paris, Prague, Madrid, Athens, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore. . . I’d love to go to South America. And my mom lives in Hawaii, so I have to go see her on a regular basis. Did I mention that I love to travel?
Brigitta of the White Forest:
Brigitta is a young Water Faerie from the village-nest of Tiragarrow. She’s anxious about going through The Change, as she doesn’t see how destiny markings on her wings should determine her life’s path.
A few days before the annual Festival of the Elements, Brigitta is flying an errand with her tag-a-long sister when a mysterious curse turns everyone in the White Forest to stone, except for the two of them. They have no idea why they were not cursed, but they do know if they don’t turn everyone back in time for the festival rituals, the Hourglass of Protection will run out and so will its protective field around the forest.
With no one in their forest left to help them, they must leave the protected realm to seek an exiled faerie they have only heard about in ancient tales.
1 copy of Brigitta of the White Forest
Open to US & Canada
Optional Extra Entry:
+1 Like Brigitta of the White Forest on Facebook