Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Dani Kern from Desperate Deeds

  1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)
My name is Danielle Kern but everybody calls me Dani. I’m eight years old and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio in the first floor apartment of an old Victorian with my parents and my little brother, Davey. I have long brown hair and brown eyes, like my Mom. I used to want to be an English teacher but I've changed my mind. I've decided I want to be a mystery writer when I grow up.

  1. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read! My Dad always says, “Give Dani a book and put her in a room by herself and she’ll be happy.” Of course, he’s kidding, well, maybe not. A while ago, Angie, who is the girlfriend of our landlady’s son, Lawrence, gave me a huge stack of her old Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton mysteries and I've been reading them ever since. My Mom loves a good mystery too and she’s borrowed a few of them. She’s the only person in the world I’ll lend my books to because I know she’ll take good care of them and return them when she’s finished.

  1. What is your favorite color and why?
Pink! I don’t know why it’s my favorite; it just is. I call my bedroom my “cotton candy” room because my Mom, who is an interior decorator, painted the walls pink and made the curtains and bedspread herself – in pink. I love my room!

  1. What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?
My Mom’s a good cook and I’m not a picky eater like my brother; I’ll eat just about anything, well, except coconut and sweet potatoes. Yuk! I love chocolate Hershey bars and chocolate ice cream. Really, anything chocolate. Why? Because it tastes so good! Last Easter, I got a big, chocolate Easter bunny in my basket but Davey got a hold of it and ate the whole thing! I was so mad! Davey got punished and Mom bought me a new one but, believe me, it’s not easy living with a little brother.

  1. What would you say is your biggest quirk?
Sorry but I had to go away for a minute to look up “quirk.” That’s what I do when I’m not sure what a word means. My aunt Marnie bought me a really good dictionary because, when you want to be a writer, you have to know what words mean. It said that a quirk is a peculiar habit, mannerism, or aspect of somebody's character. So, I guess my biggest quirk is rolling my eyes, usually at something my little brother said or did.

  1. What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why?
I had to look up “antagonist” too and I’m glad you asked me this question because, as a future mystery writer, I definitely need to know what that word means. The thing is I don’t really have an antagonist, unless you want to count Davey who is constantly driving me crazy.

  1. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?
My Mom and Dad are the most important people in my life and I would do anything to keep them in my life. My brother too. Even though Davey can be a total pain, when he went missing, I prayed and prayed that God would bring him home safely. I also love our landlady, Mrs. Koch; she’s like a grandmother to Davey and me. And, Lawrence, Angie and Mr. Koch too. Mom calls them “our extended family.”

  1. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?
Well, I’ll tell you but this is kind of a secret. Sometimes, I pretend to be reading when, really, I’m listening to grownups talking. For example, a few months ago, my parents were having lots of problems. My Dad was drinking a lot and staying out really late at night. Mom and Dad tried to keep their arguments behind closed doors, if you know what I mean, but I knew what was going on. I’m so glad my Dad finally started going to AA and my Mom goes to Ala-non because they’re getting along really good now. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you this. When there was a serial killer on the loose in our neighborhood last year, I kept my eyes and ears open then too even though Mom tried to keep it from Davey and me because she didn't want us to be scared.
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  1. If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?
I would love to solve a real-life mystery. I know I’m just a kid but, after reading all of the mystery novels I've read, I’d like the chance to put all the clues together and figure out whodunit.

  1. Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.
I’m dying to know what it feels like to be a real mystery author. What’s it like? Is it exciting? Do you make a lot of money? Can you give me any writing tips I can use when I grow up? I’d really like to know!

So you know, I also used to read Nancy Drew mysteries. I think that it's what first sparked my interest in writing mysteries. Writing a mystery is kind of like solving a really terrifically difficult puzzle; the kind where you put all of the colors together, and then do the edges (I've always called puzzle edges the crust) and then assemble the puzzle from easiest pieces to hardest. 

Yes, writing a mystery can be exciting, but it can also be difficult. You have to keep all of the characters straight and all of the clues even straighter. You want to make sure that when you get to the end of the book everything is sort of wrapped up tightly in a box or you'll have the reader wishing they'd read something else. 

When it comes to making a lot of money, nope. I make a little money (at least right now) but my greatest joy is meeting other writers and readers. It's fun to talk to them about writing.

As for writing tips... Write every day. Don't stop writing even when someone says they don't like your work... Write what you love, not what is popular at the moment... Be willing to take constructive criticism (that means stuff that actually helps you to become a better writer, not stuff like I hate your writing). Above all, have fun! If writing isn't fun you're not writing the right thing!


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  1. Kathryn,
    I want to thank you for inviting me to be here today. And my author, Patricia Gligor, thanks you too!
    Danielle Kern

  2. Kathryn and Dani,
    very nice interview. Dani, I think you'll be a great mystery writer because you're curious and look up words when you don't know what they mean.

    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I just love doing these interviews!

  3. Loved this interview. People your age, Dani, have an interesting point of view. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Marja McGraw

  4. Marilyn and Marja,
    Thank you for your comments. And, Kathryn, thank you so much for sharing your writing tips with me! This was fun!

    1. Your're welcome, Dani. Always happy to share writing tips!


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