last try Danna

Inside the Author’s Cranium: Danna Smith

So happy to blog about one of my favorite authors, Danna Smith. She wrote her first poem at the age of six and has not stopped writing since. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Danna is a SCBWI member and the award-winning author of picture books, Mother Goose’s Pajama Party, Arctic White, Two at the Zoo, Pirate Nap, and Balloon Trees. Watch for her forthcoming picture books: Swallow the Leader (2016) and Hawk of the Castle (2017). She is currently a full-time writer and dreamer living in Northern California with her husband, two grown children, and their cocker spaniel, Peanut.

1. What’s your favorite word? Catawampus, for the sheer silliness of the sound.

2. What’s your least favorite word? Can’t. It’s a horrible little word that can snatch one’s dreams away like a common thief if one says it enough.

3. Describe your style of writing: I often feel like I have a Writing Multiple Personality Disorder because my subjects and styles are all over the map. One month I’ll write a counting book for preschoolers, the next I’ll take on a retelling of a dark tale from the 19th century. This can confuse people because they don’t quite know in which box I “fit.” I’ve never wanted to be pigeon-holed into writing books with just one style, and I enjoy a challenge, so I keep switching my focus. Luckily, I have an agent who understands this and encourages me to run wild with creative abandon!

4. Describe your work ethic: Despite the old saying “write every day,” I don’t. I write when I’m moved to write. When I’m not feeling it, I go outside and experience life. I am, however, very dedicated to my craft and determined to write good books to share with the world.

5. What is your main writing fault/flaw? I am a perfectionist. This can torment me at times, but I will not turn over a manuscript to my agent until I feel it is as close to perfect as I can get it. After all, I have just one chance to gain the attention of an editor, and I refuse to waste it.

6. Who are your favorite prose authors? My favorite authors are always changing as I revisit old books, and I am introduced to new authors. With that said, I have always enjoyed picture books by Maurice Sendak and for older kids, I adore Kate DiCamillo’s work.

7. Who are your favorite poets? Maya Angelou is one of my favorite poets. Also, I am in awe of Joyce Sidman’s poetry books for children-I own them all! Jane Yolen is a brilliant poet as well. I am greeted with a “Poem a Day” in my inbox every morning, and Ms. Yolen’s words never fail to inspire and enlighten.

8. Who are your real life heroes? My mother is my real-life hero. She did so much with so little when I was growing up, all while making me feel loved and protected.

9. What intrigues you? Words intrigue me. We all have the same bucket of words to pull from yet we all use them to express ourselves in very unique and creative ways.

10. What annoys you? Mean people.

11. What profession other than writing would you like to learn? Interior decorating and design has always interested me.

12. What profession could you never handle? I could never handle the sacrifice and risk it takes to be a police officer.

13. What natural talents have you been gifted with? Does sneezing like Donald Duck count?

14. What is your favorite writing motto/mantra? When it comes to writing picture books, I think Dr. Seuss said it best when he wrote, ‘The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

15. What motivates you? Nature motivates me and frees my mind and spirit. There is nothing like a long walk in the woods or working in the garden to get my creative juices flowing.

Please visit her website at

About Linda Boyden

Teacher. Author. Artist. Storyteller. Poet. I write a poem a day. A picture book each month. I write novels for kids. I color in and out of the lines. I help young children love words and stories. I believe laughter comes straight from the Creator who put us on this fine Earth so we can help one another do our best.

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