Meet Author Danielle Benji

Hello again, everyone! Hoping you all had a fantastic Memorial Weekend. I'm back with the gorgeous and talented Danielle Benji, whose children's book Emily Discovers Psychology is available now on multiple platforms.

Tell us about your book, Emily Discovers Psychology.
Emily Discovers Psychology opens up with a girl “Emily” who looks at a commercial on TV about bullying and how kids like her can prevent it. She becomes very interested in the subject and eager to learn more about it. After getting advice from her parents, Emily finds out that one of her classmates named “Mitchell” is a victim of bullying. Using her parents’ advice, she becomes friends with Mitchell, but she is puzzled . Emily begins her quest for answers and discovers the career of psychology.

Bullying and Asperger's are both heavy, important subjects, but you found a way to make them easily understood by children. What drove you to tackle these topics in that way, with youngsters as your audience?
At the time Autism was a very hot topic in the news especially with the Sandy Hook incident where they released a statement saying he had Asperger's, and the media linking autism to violence. I wanted to help clarify that their is no link between Asperger's Autism, and violence. A year ago my spouse was diagnosed with Asperger's, and I decided to release the book I wrote on the topic. I wrote it from a child's perspective because I wanted children and their parents to get a better understanding of this condition because there isn't enough acceptance.  Also, bullying affects everyone, and I thought maybe if I reach the younger generation it's one step closer to stopping it with them.

Regarding the stunning illustrations in your book, did you do them yourself or did you work closely with an illustrator? If the latter, what was the experience like?
No, I didn't do the illustrations, but I hired a very talented one name Kalifia. I loved working with her. She is so pleasant and professional. It was almost like she knew exactly what I wanted when it came to the details, and emotions, and the characters. I wanted to display in the book because I wanted the readers to feel the emotions of the characters in the book.

A quick look at your bio is enough to show anyone that you're a woman of many talents. Do you still pursue artistic endeavors outside of writing?
Back in 2012, I sung the introduction for a local artist on their album back in 2012. As of today I'm more focused on my writing.

You're also a mother, aren't you? How does your toddler react to mommy's books?
Yes, I'm a proud mommy of a very smart two old little girl named Alicia. When she sees Emily she instantly yells "Emily!" in excitement no matter where she sees her - on the computer screen, or the actual book. I think she is very proud of me, because she also says "Mommy's Book!"

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
The advice I can give them is if you choose to go through a traditional publisher and it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the road for you as a writer. You self-publish your books, and it's not going to be easy because noting is, but at least your words will be read. Also, before going through with any of those options do a lot of research. Just don't don't jump into these without the prior knowledge.

What's next on your schedule? Do you plan to take Emily through more learning experiences?
My books are about different career professions, so Emily will definitely learn a lot about about life and what it has to offer while learning about these different careers. The next book will possibly be about something in the photography field. I can't reveal much, lol.

You're very open about living with Cerebral Palsy. How old were you when you were diagnosed and how did it change your perspective?
I was two when I diagnosed with a mild Cerebral Palsy. I pretty much had a normal childhood. I could walk, but it was a little different then the other kids. Of course, I have gotten bullied for it in school, but I stood up for myself, and my parents never knew about it because I was raised to hold my head up high and be proud of who I was, despite my CP.  I had the support of my parents who loved me. I also believe in a higher being who watches over me, and made a promise of  human perfection at the time. Despite my challenges, which are very little, I'm a published author. I have a loving little family as well as extended family support.

If you could change one thing about your writing career thus far, what would it be?
I would like to be best-selling on Amazon. I think all authors would love that, but other than that I love what I'm doing, and I do have high hopes for my future.

Most important question: ninjas or pirates? 
I would have to say ninjas, lol.

You can connect with Danielle on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or on her website.

Vivienne's Review of Emily Discovers Psychology

For a children's book to delve so intelligently into a serious topic is a rare thing indeed. Not only does "Emily Discovers Psychology" deal with bullying and Asperger's (a specific form of Autism), it teaches children of the importance of psychology as a profession. Emily herself makes for a wonderful role model -- empathetic, thoughtful, and quick to communicate with the most helpful grown-ups in her life. An important read for any child. And any parent, for that matter!

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Leave ye scrawlins 'ere, but mind that ye treat one another wi' decency, yeah?