We are so excited to have you here at Collage Collage for your wonderful debut book.
Collage Collage: We love Zinnia, she is crafty with a bit of a rebel in her. How much are you like Zinnia? Where did the inspiration for her come from?
Danielle: I’m like Zinnia in that my creativity is important to me and and I’ve always felt different the way she does. I’m not like Zinnia in that she’s super talented with her hands, at making stuff, and that she uses knitting as a way to cope with her life. I admire Zinnia because she learns to be vulnerable and trust even when she feels betrayed and anxious and is going through some pretty strange circumstances. The character emerged from an image my husband told me he’d envisioned of a girl with bees around her head. From there, her personality and way of being in the world developed naturally as I spent time (years!) with her.
CC: Zinnia is a flower, such a clever name for a girl that bees would be attracted too. Did you always have the character’s name in mind?
D: Yes, she was Zinnia from the start for that very reason.
CC: Have you ever yarn bombed?
D: Not yet, but soon! While I haven’t yarn bombed myself, I’ve seen quite a few yarn bombs—trees and parking meters in my neighborhood, and I even saw yarn bombs when I traveled back to Hong Kong, where I grew up. Plus, I recently participated in a project with Yarn Bombing Los Angeles where everyone contributed a flower to a fiber native flower garden.
Some of my favorite yarn bombers are:
Knits for Life
CC: Your book is written in two perspectives, Zinnia and the bees that inhabit her hair. I truly had no idea how they story would unfold. It all comes together seamlessly, how did the concept of both sides of the story come about?
D: Thank you! The sections of bees narrating their story were present from pretty much the beginning—I liked the idea of bees as a collective telling their side of the story and thought it would add another layer as well as humor. Colony Collapse Disorder was in the news quite a bit when I was embarking on the manuscript and in the context of how much humans need bees, I’d also heard about agricultural bees who beekeepers take around to orchards and fields to pollinate fruits and veggies. Something so big and bizarre was happening to Zinnia, but I was curious about the bees’ perspective too. What would this be like for them? Why are they on Zinnia’s head? Where did they come from and what are they looking for? And as I wrote, the colony’s story and Zinnia’s story naturally mirrored each other in their journeys of searching for home (one literal, one figurative).
CC: You teach young writers, do you have a favourite writing prompt?
D: It’s been a number of years since I taught middle school and later community college students, but recently I mentored a teen writer through WriteGirl here in Los Angeles. One WriteGirl-esque writing prompt I really like is something along the lines of:
Think about an object you have in your room or that you’re carrying with you and write about it.
What does it look like? Where does it come from? What other kind of thing would you compare it to? What significance does it have to you? What does it remind you of? What does it say about you?
CC: We have a Write and Illustrate class, what is some advice would you give to young future writers?
D: My advice is to believe that you have something to say—that whatever you feel an impulse to create matters. Make it a priority to create. And be open to how creating will take the time and process it’s going to take.
See the book trailer below and come meet Danielle and get your book signed this Saturday from 12-2 pm. Click here for more info
You can find Danielle here:
Danielle’s website: www.danielledavisreadsandwrites.com
Danielle’s picture book blog: www.thispicturebooklife.com
Danielle’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writesinla/