Danyelle Ferguson is a wife, mom, book editor, reviewer, and writer. She keeps busy raising four angels-in-training, the oldest of which has Autism. She and her husband, John, co-founded a non-profit organization, called Friends of GIANT Steps, which raises money to supplement an Autism preschool. Danyelle has been active in the Autism community for over eight years, during which time she learned that prayer and a sense of humor are the keys to not only enduring but enjoying the special needs journey.
Danyelle discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. During high school, she placed runner up in the Pennsylvania School of Excellence for Arts program, specializing in creative writing. Since then, she’s won several awards for her poetry, short stories, articles, and other writings. Her work has been published in anthologies, newspapers, school journals, and online. Her book,(dis)Abilities and the Gospel, was released in May 2011 through Cedar Fort Publishing.
Danyelle grew up surrounded by the beautiful Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. Then she lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and family. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing and singing in the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely the past! I’ve always been fascinated with older time periods – probably because of the books I like to read. So anything from the time periods of Pride and Prejudice to Anne of Green Gables to Little House on the Prairie. I’d love to go visit them all!
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My husband, a Wal-mart, and a furnished house!
What is one book everyone should read?
Ahem, other than mine? Yes, I know. Shameless plug. =) Honestly, this is a tough one. There are tons of books I absolutely love. To narrow it down to one, for everyone? Ack! It’s just not possible. So instead, let me throw out a list of some of my faves – Jane Eyre, The 13th Reality Series by James Dashner, anything written by Rachel Gibson, The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead . . . Should I go on?
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Ooh – it’s a toss up between Chocolate with Peanut Butter Cups or homemade Strawberry ice cream. Ooh, now I’m craving sweets . . .
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
My mom. We wouldn’t be meeting for the first time, but I’d love to spend another day with her and introduce her to my children.
Night owl, or early bird?
Neither! I’m actually an afternoon chick. My most productive hours of the day are between 1-3 pm. I’m usually in bed by 9 pm and love to sleep in (although rarely get to!)
One food you would never eat?
Monkey brains. When I lived in France, a family served monkey brains for my 18th birthday party. I couldn’t force myself to even try a taste of it. GAG! Needless to say, the family wasn’t very happy.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
(dis)Abilities and the Gospel will help you develop each person’s ability to learn and grow as you build peace in your home or church classroom.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Writing was a form of stress relief for me growing up. My mom had cancer and was sick a lot. To escape reality, I would write poetry or stories. My first newspaper article was published when I was in 6th grade. After seeing my byline, I was hooked and wanted to be a writer.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s most definitely the emails I’ve received from readers who share their stories with me and tell me what parts of the book have helped answer questions or concerns to teach the people with special needs in their lives. That’s the most incredible experience an author can ever have – to know what you wrote helped make someone’s life better.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Attend writers conferences! They are THE place to be. Not only do you learn to be a better writer, but also get to network with other writers, agents, and publishers AND walk away totally ready to hit the keyboard to write, write, write.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
This is my favorite thing to talk about when I do career day presentations at elementary schools. I wanted to be everything! Nurse, teacher, fireman, police officer, rock star, dancer, princess, actress, EMT, accountant, wedding consultant, french interpreter, fashion designer, lawyer, secretary, school counselor, interior designer . . . The list goes on and on. I actually did get to experience many of the careers on my list, but could never settle on just one. Being a writer lets me imagine and explore those different interests through my characters. I love it!
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
An ice cream sundae! Our family celebrates all good news with ice cream!
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I’ve loved writing since I was quite young, but it was actually my husband who inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. He’s been incredibly supportive and attends my writers conferences with me every year. He’s who I brain storm my plots with and is the first person to read my manuscript (and he actually gives excellent feedback!). His encouragement is what keeps my imagination flowing and my fingers glued to the keyboard.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
My husband called all my girlfriends and invited them over for Root Beer floats and cheesecake!
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
Shh! Okay, just between us – I love to watch High School Musical with my daughter. But seriously, we don’t need to share that with anyone else . . . right?
I love Taylor Swift, Pink, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Bon Jovi, Poison, Guns n Roses . . . I’m pretty eclectic and can never pick just one fave. Kind of like my reading. =)
(dis)Abilities and the Gospel
Each day, parents and Church leaders struggle to teach individuals with special needs. Using real-life stories and a touch of humor, this inspiring book guides you to teach effectively, overcome communication barriers, and build strong relationships with people of all ages with disabilities. Discover each person’s ability to learn and grow as you help them feel like a valuable part of your life.
Be sure to enter my giveaway for this book! Click Here to Enter – Ends 8/9/11