Words. Heart. Imagination.
Dannika Patterson writes stories that delight children. Her stories engage the minds and echo in the hearts of little listeners and grown up readers alike.
She believes picture books are critical to children; to fuel imaginative play, to encourage early literacy, to teach, to linger, to promote change and for the pure and simple LOVE of reading and writing.
Over the past 15 years Dannika’s writing has been published internationally across a range of business and marketing platforms including radio, mobile, print and online media. She has created bespoke content for large multinational telecommunications companies, provided copywriting services for successful Australian brands in health and education, and runs her own small business marketing and copywriting consultancy.
Although she has enjoyed writing stories for children for over a decade, 2017 is the first year Dannika has sought publication. Her first picture book is due for release in 2018 and she is excited to begin sharing the stories and characters she loves to create with the world. She currently has 2 manuscripts under review by traditional publishers, a handful of stories on the polishing block, one exciting collaboration with an incredible illustrator in progress, and big dreams to chase.
What has your background been before you starting writing?
I’ve always been a writer…but I took the scenic route for 15 years or so before finding my way to the writing path that is most aligned with my heart – writing creatively for children.
Over the past 15 years I’ve enjoyed various management, product and content development roles around the world. All of these roles involved writing in some form or other and my work under various brands has been published internationally across a range of business, marketing and creative platforms including radio, mobile, print and online media. Working in dynamic spaces and in places like London, Miami and Silicon Valley was bundles of fun and taught me a lot but in the end I chose to settle back in my hometown of Brisbane, where I’m raising my young children (Tom, 5 and Olivia, 3) with my lovely husband Richard. For the past 5 years I have run my own, Brisbane-based, marketing, business development and copywriting consultancy, fitting work for clients around family life as best I can. It’s a patchwork kind of work-life balance, with no two weeks of my year ever looking the same, but it works for now…and I can say that I’m never bored!
Late last year, the little voice in my head that had been persistently whispering that it was time to do what I had always dreamed of – to write books for children – became an obnoxious shout. That’s when I started to make more time to write the stories I love, and became brave enough to share some of the stories I had written in secret for years, with a handful of other people.
How were you introduced to writing?
My Mum read to me. Every night. And morning. And in the middle of the day. As many books as I requested. The same stories again and again and again. Even when she was tired, which as a mother I now appreciate was ALL. THE. TIME. She loved reading and I loved being read to. Then I learnt to read and loved reading. Then I learnt to write and loved writing. As a child I always had a random assortment of too many notebooks to hand to scribble story ideas and poems in. And I never stopped. I love working with words. And it really all goes back to my Mum and the time she invested in reading to me as a child. Thank you Mum!
What was the one thing that impressed you the most about becoming an author?
The generous spirit of the creative kid lit community. I have met a wonderful group of aspiring, emerging and established authors (and publishers and illustrators) who support, inspire and lift each other up. In an industry that could easily foster narky competitiveness (the cold hard odds on getting those elusive publishing contracts are brutal!), I have found the opposite to be true.
How is your writing making a difference for you right now?
When I write, it’s the only time I feel what some people call ‘flow’; when you’re completely focussed, transported and carried-away in your own little world. When you look up and see that 3 hours have passed, but you swear it couldn’t have been more than five minutes. It’s how I know that I am doing what I am meant to be doing.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
Love. Just pure, enchanted, jump-straight-into-another-
What is the most important thing about what you want to do?
I want to write books that make children feel good. Books that will not only be enjoyed as entertaining stories in themselves, but that can be used a springboard for other childhood things to be encouraged and savoured – curling up for storytime cuddles, child-driven conversations, creativity through craft and imaginative play – anything that leads them a little further down a path of joyfully curious exploration than they had ventured before they opened the book.
Do you believe books can change the world?
I believe books can change people and that people can change the world. The power of a book for me is in the way it opens the windows of our minds to other perspectives…we absorb, we think, we empathise…we grow.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing?
What is your ultimate goal?
To continue to write. To continue to grow. The rest will come.
Has Share Your Story helped you in any way?
Share Your Story has been an incredible resource on my author journey this year. I have attended a number of workshops as well as participating in the Share Your Story Dream Team mentoring program. The quality and variety of speakers that I have had the pleasure of learning from has been invaluable. I appreciate all the submission info that is shared via the SYS facebook page – it saves SO much time investigating which publisher is open, for what genres and when. And the cherry-on-top of my entire SYS experience is definitely the firm friendships I am forging with like-minded creatives.
What results have you experienced, good or bad, about being a part of the publishing industry?
A highlight has definitely been securing my first publishing deal with a fantastic Aussie publisher who has been wonderful to work with so far. My first picture book will be published in the second half of 2018…all going to plan! I have also had some generous feedback from other publishers, which I love because I can learn and grow from feedback. I find the generic rejections a little hard to take…I don’t mind being rejected, I just want to know why! I crave even just one personalised line to let me know what it was that made this particular story “not what we are looking for right now…”
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Personalised feedback with every rejection letter 😉
Also, world peace.