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I was born in Birmingham, Alabama.  I have two brothers and one sister.  At age 5, I was crazy about dinosaurs, because of Syd Hoff’s book, Danny and the Dinosaur.  I checked out all the dinosaur and fossil books I could find and dreamed of being a paleontologist.  Dinosaurs were my proof that fantastic creatures really could exist, and that meant anything was possible.  I also loved Dr. Seuss’ books.

 

My parents read to us at bedtime, and my mother read lots of poetry to us, from an anthology called “My Poetry Book.”  My siblings and I always had lots of books of our own, and my mother took us to the library frequently.  All these things helped put me on the path to being a writer.

 

I liked Warner Brothers cartoons and my favorite is the one about the singing frog.  Other favorite shows were Underdog and Creature Feature, a Saturday afternoon monster movie double-feature.

 

When I was 11, I used to make 8mm sci-fi movies with a friend of mine and occasionally we would write stories.  We liked watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and I’ve loved that silly brand of comedy ever since.   As a teenager, I backpacked 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail with the Boy Scouts.  I was drum major for my High School marching band, and I played trumpet in Symphonic Band.   I also learned to play guitar and spent lots of time drawing spaceships and playing baseball.   

 

My favorite childhood books were:

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss,

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff,

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

any book by Jack London

any book by Ray Bradbury.  (He really captures the feeling of being a child.)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum - a collection of scary stories by various authors

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne

The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

Dune, by Frank Herbert

 

My favorite all-time books are:

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien

Siddhartha, and other books by Hermann Hesse

any book by Joseph Campbell

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho

The Old Man and the Sea, and short stories by Hemingway

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

 

 

 

I became interested in writing in third grade because of my 3rd grade English teacher, Mrs. Williams.  She gave us assignments that were well above our heads, but we didn’t know we couldn’t do them, so we did them.  My high school English teacher, Sylvia Sarrett, was also a great writing coach, as was my college writing professor, Sterling Watson.       

 

The strangest job I ever had was narrator/guide on the African Queen Boat Ride at Busch Gardens, Tampa.  (Unfortunately, this ride no longer exists.)  The ride had real animals like crocodiles, rhinos, and spider monkeys.  Noisy macaws rode on the back of the boats and squawked in your ears at 1 million decibels.  Sometimes they would fly off into the “jungle” and you had to jump off your boat and go get them because they were expensive.  When you cruised through the sleeping village, a warrior would jump out and give heart attacks to the people in your boat.  After graduating college, I worked on tv commercials as a grip, crane operator, sound recordist, camera assistant, writer, and editor.   In later years, I focused on editing and writing and worked for many years in Atlanta as a freelance writer/producer for television.  I’ve written for a number of children’s education programs for Georgia Public Television, and I did some writing for a PBS program called “Life on the Internet.”   I love to paint, and for a couple of years, I taught painting classes at our local Arts Center.

 

 

My hobbies are playing guitar, painting, traveling, browsing at used cd/dvd stores, and going to see movies.

 
                      Copyright 2003, Danny Schnitzlein