Wholesome Chat with Children’s Book Author Dani Smith

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What is your book called and what is it about?  
The Sparkle Kids and the Sugar Troll. 

In the Sparkle Kids’ first adventure, Summer becomes trapped by the Old Sugar Troll. She needs Sonny’s help to rescue her from the troll’s sugar-filled cave. Together, Summer and Sonny must fight the Sugar Troll to save thousands of other children who have been trapped by his treats. They have fallen under his sugar-eating spell, which is making them feel sad and unwell. 

There are subtle health messages throughout to lay the foundation of knowledge around the importance of eating nutritious food and not relying on artificial sugar for energy. It’s presented in a fun way so children are inspired. 

What is your favourite quote? 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou 

This quote is at the centre of everything I create within my workshops, content, books and retreats. Eliciting an emotion and feeling is much more powerful than just words that you speak. It allows embodiment of the experience and the knowledge you learn, allowing growth and transformation to take place. 

What is your favourite book?  

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. 

What is your favourite podcast at the moment? 

Andrew Huberman’s Huberman Lab. He takes difficult concepts on health and breaks them down so they’re easily digested and nonscientists can understand. 

Who is your role model? 

Even though I am not a singer or in the same industry, I really love Taylor Swift. She is a creative and a storyteller with her music, which creates and elicits an emotion, a connection. It’s so powerful how the creation of something can connect people. I draw to her because with every piece of content, book, retreat, workshop I create, I too want to create an impact, tell a story and spark an emotion for people to experience connection to themselves and each other. 

A lot of what I teach is around building resilience and grit, and she has shown with such grace and integrity how much grit and determination she has, whilst being at the centre of hate and the ‘cancel culture’. She didn’t let anything or anyone hold her back from doing the work she was born to do – she just kept creating magic. 

I am also connected to living a life of purpose and contributing back to the community and the world – to causes, charities and foundations that resonate with me. She too has a charitable nature of giving back to the world, so it is truly inspiring to see that the power and success she has achieved has her channelling it for good, to have an impact in people’s lives.  

I love how she does life on her terms. She is creating her own blueprint of how she wants to live, which is what I hope to be able to achieve. 

Who in your life has inspired you the most and why? 

People in my inner friendship circle. All my close friends live lives of authenticity and courage, which inspires me to continue to expand and grow and lead a life in that way – even when times are challenging. They have set a high standard of living. I’m truly grateful to have found each and every one of them in different stages of my life. 

What is your coffee order? 

Oat milk cappuccino. 

Pet peeves?  

People not listening and interrupting others. Also, when people are unkind. 

What inspired you to write this book? 

As a child, I was severely overweight, and I put myself on a healthy eating plan to help lose weight. Unfortunately, it was in the midst of the low-fat diet fad, so I developed a fear of fat and as lollies had no fat in them, I became addicted to sugar and eating jelly lollies. I was truly addicted. Some days I would eat an entire bag of Natural Confectionary Co. lollies instead of food because I got that sugar high. I was so tired and lethargic, as I had those big sugar highs but then the sugar slumps.  

I want to instil from a young age the importance of eating nutritious food for our bodies’ health and wellbeing. But I want to do so in a fun, interactive way to prevent any other child having to experience a warped sense of sugar and food, which carried on into my early 20s, along with a range of gut and metabolism issues. 

How did you find the process of writing and publishing your book? 

It was a long process, as I wrote the book initially seven years ago. Then it was a journey trying to find an illustrator that could bring the words to life. I think I wrote and rewrote this book about 20 times before I even got to Dean Publishing. But when I commenced the relationship with Dean Publishing, it was an amazing process, as they became a sounding board and were very supportive and inspired by my book, so I had fun working with their team. They handled all of the admin side of things in regard to publishing, which took a weight off my shoulders and also meant there were no more excuses for not biting the bullet and getting this book out into the world. 

What surprised you most about the writing process? 

How many times I would write and rewrite the same thing, just as a different version, ha-ha. 

What do you hope the reader gets from reading this book? 

I hope to create a connection between parent and child as they read the book together and to hopefully instil knowledge in the both of them. In the one layer, I want to subtly embed the importance of health in the developing brain of the child. In the other layer, I want to inspire the parent to prioritise the importance of nutritious food for their child if they haven’t already. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book but doesn’t know how? 

If you have an inkling to get a story out, I would just sit and start writing. You will go through a bunch of different versions – it’s definitely a process. But just sitting down and writing version one will give you a baseline; then you can continue to refine it. I was originally deterred from writing, as I had no idea how I was going to get the book published.  

I would also 100-percent engage with Dean Publishing, as they are so supportive and creative when it comes to getting the message you want out there. They handle all the nitty-gritty admin side of publishing, which removes that pain point so you can focus on telling your story. 

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