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Iowa Author to Beaverdale Books


The former Iowa native and current author is visiting Beaverdale Books on Sunday, June 4 at 1 p.m. — 2629 Beaver Ave. in Des Moines. But first, here are 10 Questions with Danelle Lejeune.

Who is the smartest person you know?

My dad. Cliche, but true. He forgives easily, laughs long and often, and always has a story to tell. He can also fix anything, including broken hearts. I am grateful every day for the day he actually fell out of the sky and landed in my mother’s life.

As a second grader, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer. I have this journal from my second grade class of letters I wrote to the teacher. I was very direct and clear about this goal. At 10 I changed it to trauma surgeon but a stint volunteering at the local hospital ended that dream. Sight of blood = loss of consciousness. Not a good trait for a surgeon, eh?

Prep Iowa

What is the best 60 consecutive seconds you ever had in Iowa?

Iowa State Fair. 2008. Skyride, raspberry jam competition, Chocolate Moose, live music, corn dogs, butter cow. Never was life better in Iowa.

If you could have lunch with anyone alive today, that you’ve never previously met, who would it be?

Margaret Atwood. Hands down. She based Piggoons on the Ossabaw pigs that I used to raise and it was her name on the legacy list that was the final decision to attend the writing retreat on Ossabaw that was the beginning to writing this book. I once got her to respond to me on twitter and I was over the moon.

In 100 words or less: Why are you… you?

As Ann Sexton wrote, “I am a collection of dismantled almosts.” That’s just it. I’m done with almosts and instead saying yes to what the universe throws at me, even when it lobs me one in the face and knocks me off my feet for a bit.

Choose your own adventure: What’s your least favorite poem (and why)? Or… What is your least favorite thing you’ve ever written (and why)?

Least favorite thing? Ooooh. I wrote an awful paper on a book called Evelina in college. I’m embarrassed to even bring it up. Worst last minute paper ever. I even ended it with an apology to the professor, knowing how awful it was.

What question would you ask yourself if you were interviewing you?

Don’t you think you are a bit old for these shenanigans?

What would the answer be to the question you asked above?

Totally. I just turned 40 and to start out a life of poetry, first book, travel, navigating single parenthood, a move across country, a trip around the world? Way too old to be starting over and yet, it gets better every day. I recommend following long lost loves at any age, it is never too late to begin to tell your story. Do it. Say yes.

Why should I buy your book?

Poetry. Gossip. The gorgeous cover. To give to your poetry loving cousin that thinks no one “gets” her. Play Dvořák’s symphonies when you read it and you’ll get a feel for how it felt when I wrote it.

If you were writing a story about you, what part of your story would grab the reader’s attention?

It’s a toss up between the time with the picture I took of very large alligator in Georgia that led me to a stranger in a bar in Minneapolis that offered and followed through funding a residency in Prague for the summer of 2015 or that one time my kids tried to set me up with Ben Affleck in the toilet part aisle of Lowes, and I ran out of there completely embarrassed, without toilet parts, and when we got home a hurricane was moving in. Or maybe the night we moved into our new house and found out that we live near an army artillery testing site (cannons), wild pigs mating sound like velociraptors, barred owls like monkeys, there’s an indigo snake that lives under the kitchen, and the signs that warn of tank crossings are not a prank — no children, we do not live in a remake of Jumanji.

Danelle Lejeune is a farmer, beekeeper and a photographer as well as an accomplished poet.






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