Manon Daniels (Massari)
Where do you live?
Tell us a little about yourself (your education, family life, etc.)
I grew up in South Africa. My parents emigrated from Holland shortly after the 2nd World War.
I am one of eight children and grew up experiencing all the joys of a large family. I attended Iona Convent and then secondary school at Clapham High in Pretoria.
I always loved art and studied at the Italian School of Art after I finished secondary school. I then went to study nursing at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, Natal.
After I completed my studies I married my first husband, Michael Kuhn, and in 1990 we adopted a beautiful baby girl. We named her Gabrielle. Michael died three years later and I home schooled my daughter on our farm in Mooiplaats, near Pretoria for the duration of the Foundation Phase.
I began teaching at St. John the Baptist Catholic School where Gabrielle also attended and where I met Ivano. We got married four years later. Ivano later transferred to another school and I remained at St. John’s for 15 years.
What is your genre?
As an author – illustrated children’s books.
As an artist I work with various genres such as fantasy, humour and novellas.
When and why did you begin writing? (What inspired you to write your first book?)
We immigrated to Ireland in 2010 and it was in this beautiful country of saints and scholars that I felt inspired to fulfil a lifelong dream of writing an illustrated children’s book. After all the years of teaching I now found the time and desire to turn back to my art. My husband and I have the joy of being able to collaborate on different projects such as his first novel, Sirion, which I illustrated.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying to visualize what I wanted to say through the eyes of a child and to hold the audience’s interest as well as ensuring that illustrations would trigger the child’s imagination.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When Gypsy Shadow Publishing accepted my book for publication. I really felt like a writer then.
Do you have to travel much to market your book(s)?
All over the world, via the internet. At this stage Lucy’s Dreams is only available as an eBook. I’m hoping to have it in hardcopy in the near future.
Who designs your book covers?
I do my own cover illustrations.
What is your current project?
I am working on the sequel to Lucy’s Dreams as well as freelance projects in conjunction with other authors. In addition I am working on several colouring books and illustrating my husband’s books.
What, if anything, are you reading now?
A book called Silence, by Shusaku Endo. It concerns the seventeenth-century martyrdom of a Portuguese missionary.
What books and/or authors have influenced your life most?
Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, A.A. Milne, Cicely Mary Barker and her Flower Fairy books, the Brothers Grimm, the Mother Goose poems and Alison Utley’s Grey Rabbit series.
Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Would you be kind enough to share a little of your current work with us?
The sequel to Lucy’s Dreams and the freelance projects I mentioned earlier.
Do you have anything else you would like to share with my readers?
I was very happy that Lucy’s Dreams did well in the Preditors and Editors poll and received 3rd place in the children’s book category, 6th place for front cover art work and 2nd place for illustrations.