Dan Hanna has been a member of my local SCBWI for years. His first picture book, Pout-Pout Fish, written by Deborah Diesen, just came out. He also has four book trailers on Youtube, 1, 2, 3, 4, I am so pleased that Dan agreed to be interviewed.
When and why did you start writing for children?
Long ago, when the dotcom wave crashed, the animation
company I worked for capsized and sank into oblivion.
Having saved up some money, I decided to pursue my
long held dream of writing and illustrating a
children's picture book.
I made a deal with myself to keep going as long as my savings held out.
Unfortunately, my finances have recently soured because of an unfortunate investment in pickle
What is the most valuable advice you can give to a newly published writer?
Become a celebrity. I can't emphasize this enough. I wish I'd thought of it when I was younger.
What is one of your favorite children’s books that you'd like to recommend?
I love anything by William Steig but "Amos and Boris" is my absolute favorite.
Also, "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" byMordicai Gerstein. It's beautifully illustrated and the fact that it's a true story illustrates something I heard long ago: "Be bold in life - and strange, unknown forces will come to assist you".
Two more of my all time favorites are from my distant childhood. I highly recommend them but unfortunately I don't know who wrote or illustrated them. I must have read them when I was about 4 and they'vepercolated in my brain ever since. One was about a trip to the Moon and the other was about a migrating family of whales.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a "How To" book for writer/illustrators
called "Dummies for Dummies" (not really).
I'm continuing to try to breathe life into my collection of picture book dummies. Perhaps someday, like Pinocchio, one of my dummies will become a REAL
book. Until then, I'll keep chipping away and hoping for some editorial fairy dust to land on one of them.
I don't have any kids and so I like to think of The Pout-Pout Fish as a "chook" (i.e. a child/book). I
hope to raise a large family of these chooks. Likeany good parent, I hope they grow up, achieve great success and then support me in my old age.
What is your favorite dessert and why?
The Sahara, because of its mysterious vastness, thegiant shifting sand dunes and the variety of exotic life clinging to the edge of existence beneath the harsh blazing sun. And also because a Root Beer Float tastes a lot better there.
Dan Hanna has over 10 years of experience in the animation industry. His work has appeared on BBC America and The Cartoon Network. After many years as a writer/illustrator of extraordinarily unpublished picture book dummies he was finally chosen to illustrate The Pout-Pout Fish (which will be available starting on 3/18/08). This is his first book and he's very excited about it.
In the distant future he hopes to live a life of quiet solitude, high in the Bavarian Alps, where he will
devote the remainder of his life to writing and illustrating. He will supplement his income with a
modest bee-keeping operation from which he willproduce a thick and tasty Bavarian honey.