1. What is your name (and pen name, if applicable)?
2. What book(s) have you published with MeeGenius?
3. Where do you currently live? Please include city and state (or town and country if you’re non-US based).
4. Do you have any other occupations (excluding writing)?
I am a prosecutor at the New York City Law Department in Queens Family Court. I specifically handle the cases within the Major Case Unit and Special Victims Unit.
5. Did you attend any secondary education institutions (college/university)? If so, where did you go? What was your major? Did you complete any post-secondary education (Masters, Ph.D. programs)?
I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I double-majored in English writing and psychology. I went on to Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I earned my juris doctor.
6. Do you have any children? Significant other? Pets? Dust bunnies that keep you company?
I have a daughter that is 8 years old, who made her appearance in Little Brooke. I have a 5-year-old son, who wants to know why Bryce and the Sticky Rice is not yet published, so I continue to tweak that one. I also have an amazing husband, who also happens to be my very best friend.
7. When did you first start writing stories?
I started writing stories when I was around 8 years old. I filled up entire notebooks and told anyone who asked that I was going to be an author when I grew up. I continued writing stories in college when I took writing courses, but then didn’t write again until I had children.
8. Do you have any interesting writing habits? Love a specific type of tea to warm your creative juices, or do you listen to any particular bands/genres of music?
It has become my habit to write while I am commuting home from work on the train. In fact, my last several stories, including The Popcorn Predicament, were written entirely on my iPhone.
9. How do you overcome writer’s block?
If I don’t have something to write, I just don’t write. Luckily, my writing is not my livelihood otherwise writer’s block would certainly be a big problem. Since I primarily write because I enjoy it, I don’t stress over not having an idea. A story eventually comes to me, and then I type away on my iPhone for several days at a time to get a draft done. I tend to leave it alone for several months and then come back to it.
10. What inspired you to write your book? Did you learn anything from writing this book?
My daughter inspired me to write Little Brooke. She came up with a rhyme of “bees on her knees,” and I just went with it. I remember sitting at my kitchen table with a pad of paper and writing frantically to get the story out. I learned from writing Little Brooke that not only can I write a children’s book, but children actually like my story! That is an incredible feeling.
The Popcorn Predicament was based off of my own childhood experience of trying to make popcorn on the stovetop with my brother, Jason. It’s a story that always seemed to come up as my brothers and I reminisced about our childhood, and my kids always thought it was hilarious. I thought many times about writing it down, but it appeared nearly impossible to put into rhyme. Then one evening, the story just started to come to me in rhyming form, and I frantically typed it into my iPhone over several days until a draft was complete. I learned from this book that making a child laugh with my writing is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I read The Popcorn Predicament to a Brownie Troop and when they laughed, I was amazed at the response; it was awesome.
11. How are you similar or different from the main character in your book?
I am the main character in The Popcorn Predicament. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that my brother and I couldn’t figure out that the missing lid was the real issue, but it is a true and funny story.
The main character in Little Brooke and I have the love of food in common. Brooke encountered several animals that wanted to take different food items from her. I too, get defensive about my food. One of the worst things that could happen to me at a restaurant is if a waiter tries to take my plate before I am finished.
12. What is your favorite children’s book?
My favorite children’s book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It actually makes me cry every time, and I mean lips quivering, tears-streaming-down-my-face kind of a cry. Given my response to the book, I don’t know why I consider it my favorite, but it is.The Giving Tree
13. What is your favorite adult book?
Honestly, since the birth of my first child, I have not read an entire adult book. But when my children are grown, I want to print out one of those top 100 lists of books to read in a lifetime from the internet; that’ll be one of my retirement projects.
14. What are your hobbies?
I love to scrapbook, garden, travel, and read to my kids.
15. How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend my free time being on vacation with my family and friends.
16. If you were forced to live in another country for the rest of your life, where would you move?
I would move to England where there wouldn’t be a language barrier, and I could still have access to the equivalent of a Broadway show. However, I would need consistent shipments of the food I love from home such as Chicago-style pizza and the occasional gyro.
17. If you could spend an afternoon with any one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Hmm, I would have to say my grandfather. He was a character. He was a hard-worker, and a great father, grandfather and husband. He had incredible experiences including his immigration from Hungary, serving in the military, and working in the steel mills. He was a true example of the American dream. But I was young when I knew him and didn’t have the full opportunity to learn from his experiences.
18. If you had to spend a week inside a book, interacting with the characters and environment, what book would you pick?
I would choose any one of Mary Pope Osbourne’s Magic Tree House books. My daughter loves them. We recently read one together, and I just love the concept. The kids in the series travel to different times in history through their magic tree house and learn about how life was then.
19. Please provide three random facts about yourself. Feel free to make them as wacky and interesting as you prefer!
- In high school, I worked on a farm where I heard my boss, who I still refer to as “Farm man,” say that I was the best darn bean picker in those parts!
- I was a pre-medicine student in college. During a summer internship, I conducted research at a Houston juvenile detention center in which I collected urine specimens from incarcerated youth to test them for chlamydia trachomatis. That experience made me realize that the legal histories of the juveniles interested me far more than their medical histories. I then changed to pre-law.
- I would love to be a team mascot for a professional sports team, so I could act silly and make strangers happy without anyone knowing it is me.
20. What was your favorite part of your story?
My favorite part of The Popcorn Predicament is when the father makes a dramatic fall after being smacked in the face with unruly popcorn kernels. My favorite part of Little Brooke is when the poodle takes Brooke’s strudel. My grandmother made the best homemade apple strudel; that part of the book always makes me think of her.
by Danielle Boccio
Little Brooke has a strange adventure– there are bees and knees and cheese, even a poodle and strudel! Why do they all want her things? Will she learn to share?
by Danielle Boccio
Two siblings try to make homemade popcorn with some hilarious mishaps along the way.