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"Where Are They Now?": Award-Winning Local Author Danielle A Vann Fills Us In

Sep 01, 2017 07:58PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

In 2015, we interviewed Danielle A. Vann in an article where she talked about a book that she had collaborated on. Since then, to say that she has been busy would be an understatement! 

We got in touch with Danielle to see where she is now. Read on to learn more.  

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you always had a passion for writing?

A bit about myself. Well, I’m a wife and mom to three beautiful kiddos ranging in age from 12 ½ to 5-years-old. Our oldest is starting Danny Jones this year. Our middle daughter will be at Lillard, and our son is starting Kinder at First Faith. It’s an exciting year! The three of them keep me on my toes all—the—time!

I’m an avid runner and yogi. Those two things keep me grounded and help me clear my mind when I’m writing. A distracted mind doesn’t make for great fiction. My day job is ALL books, too! I’m the Marketing Specialist for Waldorf Publishing. I have the pleasure of helping other authors grow their careers.

As far as my passion for writing, it has always been a part of me, innate even. In fact, I’ve jokingly said that it was breathed into my soul at birth. I started marking 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.” When I was in high school, I had an English teacher that pushed me to write more, be better, to focus my intention and skill. She submitted one of my pieces in a contest and it won! It was even displayed in the White House and then the later in the halls of Congress. It inspired me to keep writing. 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.
 

You interviewed with us back in 2015. What have you been up to since? 

WOW! How much space do you have? I kid. I’ve been extremely fortunate. I don’t use the word lucky as that implies something falling into your lap, and that is most certainly not the case. It’s taken countless hours and hard work to get where I am today—all of which I never take for granted.

I self-published my first children’s book “Gracie Lou and the Bad Dream Eater” in 2015. Soon after, I went to work on another children’s series. I was picked up by Waldorf Publishing shortly after I started the query process to select publishing companies. During that call, I was asked if I by chance write young adult fiction, too. Roughly four weeks prior, a spark of serendipity landed right smack at the tips of my fingers—literally.

A dear friend 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 hour. Wondering if everything was okay, I grabbed my phone. As the photo came through, with it came the idea for the first book in my Young Adult series, “The Whizbang Machine.” I sprang from bed and began outlining what would become my award-winning book. Unbeknownst to my dear friend, 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 way through my fingertips.
 

I see that you have a new book. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Thank you! I’m excited about the second installment in the series, “The Whizbang Machine, Tunney’s Curse.”  The book has won 4 major writing awards before its release date of August 1st! It’s really been an amazing experience thus far. 

Book two is definitely a game-changer for the characters. This part of the series relies heavily on actual historical events in the city of Leiden, the Netherlands. I fell in LOVE with country, the culture, and Leiden when I began researching the first book. This time around I blended history with fiction, giving the readers a guide in the back as to what was history and what was fiction. Leiden has become my creative muse.

 
What are your goals for the future? What's next?

 

I’m currently working on the third book in the Whizbang series, Book Three, “The Whizbang Machine, Royal Deception.” That is expected to be released in November of 2018. We currently have four books in the series slated, but I’ve not decided if that will be the end just yet. It may be, it may not be. I will have to let the story and the characters decide.

Once this series is complete I will first revisit a book that I wrote many years ago. It’s completed, but I want to reframe the story and work on the characters. I’m excited and am looking forward to returning to something I greatly loved.
 
 

What has been one of your most memorable moments so far while being a writer?

Oh, there are so many. From traveling to Chicago and then followed up by New York for the Book Expo of America, to winning awards, to meeting readers, speaking to students with my young writers program, it is truthfully hard to pick just one. Yet, if my feet were placed to the fire to choose, I would have to say the most memorable moment has to be traveling to Paris to accept my international writing award with the Amsterdam Book Festival in June of this year. The first book, “The Whizbang Machine” won the gold medal in the Young Adult category. The awards were held in Paris, France.

My husband, Todd, and I took off two days after I returned from New York. We spent three beautiful days in Paris, hopped a train, and found ourselves in Leiden, the Netherlands. Yes, the very place my book series is based. We checked into the hotel I write about in the series, too. When the clerk asked how we heard about them, I told him I was an American author who wrote about their hotel in my book. I was a bit worried about enlightening them of this fact. What if they hated the book? What if the owner wasn’t excited about what happens in their hotel, fiction or not?

The clerk looked up, a bit confused. “Why our hotel?” he asked. “I needed the characters to stay in a quaint space and the Rembrandt room came up in my research. We had to stay here.” He may have relocated the guest who had already reserved the Rembrandt room to another suite and gave it to us. I said may have. Okay, I still feel bad about kicking someone else out of the room, but we did get there first…ha!

Walking in to the room was somewhat like having déjà vu and realizing that my life and career had changed in that moment. I left signed books at the counter when we checked out days later. The owner and I have become  friends and they have invited me back to be a part of the 2020 Leiden celebration of the pilgrim’s journey to U.S. I do hope I return before 2020, but if not, I will look forward to that year. 

Truthfully, those days are still surreal. We walked nearly a hundred miles—I’m not exaggerating—in a span of eight days. We explored every place I wrote about, and I gained hundreds of ideas for the next books in the series.
 
 

Are there any upcoming events that we should know about?

YES! 

I get to wrap up August and another year of life, {cough}, my birthday, in South Dakota at the base of Mount Rushmore. Book 1 and Book 2 won the SILVER and GOLD awards in the International Literary Classics Writing contest. The awards are celebrated with an amazing book festival and a formal gala. I’m very excited to be featured and honored at this event.
When we return I head to my home state of Oklahoma to do some live television interviews and book signings.

The next local events I will be featured at are:

Lone Star Book Festival Appearance & Signing
Dallas, Texas
October 7 & October 8, 2017
Dallas Fair Park
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day
 
Fort Worth Book Festival Appearance & Signing
Tarrant County College, Trinity River East Campus 76102
October 14, 2017
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
 
You can also catch me on:

The Author Lounge Radio Show 
Guest Host on award-winning writing & publishing today
Arlington, Texas
December 5, 2017
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Or if you want to spend some time looking at the Christmas lights and sipping wine, I’ll be at:
  
Sip & Sign at Majek Vineyard
Majek Vineyard and Winery
12508 CO RD 957
Schulenburg, TX 78956
December 16, 2017
2 p.m.
 
I’ll be in multiple other states, but these are the closest to home.


Book Awards


 

The Whizbang Machine, Book 1

ISBN: 978-1-943847921
All awards were in the Young Adult genre

2016:
  • International Readers’ Favorite Book Awards: Awarded: Finalist (Awarded in the U.S.A)
  • Literary Classics: Awarded: Seal of Approval (Awarded in the U.S.A)
  • Earned Five Star Review Seal from Readers’ Favorite
2017: 
  • International Literary Classics Writing Awards: Awarded: Silver Medal (Awarded in the U.S.A.)
  • Amsterdam Book Festival & Writing Contest: Awarded: Winner (Awarded in the Netherlands)
  • San Francisco Book Festival & Writing Contest: Awarded: Runner-Up (Awarded in USA)
  • North Texas Book Festival & Writing Contest. Awarded: 2nd Place (Awarded in USA)
 

The Whizbang Machine, Tunney’s Curse, Book 2

ISBN: 978-1-945174544 Release date 8-1-2017
                        
2017:
  • Earned Five Star Seal from Readers’ Favorite (Awarded USA)
  • Literary Classics: Awarded: Seal of Approval (Awarded in the U.S.A)
  • International Literary Classics Writing Awards: Awarded: Gold Medal (Awarded in the U.S.A.)
  • New York Book Festival & Writing Contest: Awarded: Runner-Up (Awarded in U.S.A.)
  • Hollywood Book Festival: Awarded: Honorable Mention (Awarded in U.S.A.)
 
You can purchase Danielle's books at: Target, Walmart, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Half Price BooksAmazon, the list goes on. 

Keep up with Danielle by visiting her 
website or by following her on Twitter.

The Whizbang Machine, book 1 in The Whizbang Series. A debut series by Author Danielle A. Vann.

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