Thursday, August 24, 2017

Outgoing Co-RA Secrets Revealed: Dana Arnim edition

We're about to kick off the 2017-2018 programming season with a new pair of co-regional advisors! They're busy getting ready, and we realized that our outgoing leadership team, Dana Arnim and Dana Sullivan, now have a lot more free time on their hands. Like, a bunch. Our former regional advisors never really go too far [*editor waves*], but we'll let them have a breather to catch up on reading and their own creative projects.

Before we get to know new Co-Regional Advisors, Julie Artz and Holly Huckeba, a little better, let's have a chat with our most recent leading duo. First up, Dana Arnim! 

SCBWIWWA: How did you get involved as a volunteer with SCBWI?

Dana: I first learned about SCBWI from Rollin Thomas after taking his certificate program “Art for the Children’s Market” from UW extension. He pointed us all towards attending a meeting and then joining. I could tell he was right about the value of SCBWI, and when Sara Easterly & Jolie Stekly became RAs, and invited me to join the Adcom (our advisory committee) as webmaster, I was all in.

What have you learned about our region that you didn’t know before volunteering?

I learned that our region is overflowing with talent. Not everyone can get to the meetings, but reading our membership roster makes me think it’s something in the water… I also learned that reaching out to introverts yields treasure. The vast majority of writers and many illustrators (most notably NOT Dana Sullivan) are introverts. Being a volunteer and creating opportunities to engage with them was a privilege. These (you) people are both humbling and inspiring.

What has being co-regional advisor taught you about the children’s and YA book industry?
Wow – so much. Some top take-aways: 1. The professionals in this industry are lovely, reachable people. 2. No matter where you are in the pursuit of the storytelling craft, others have been there too--you are not alone in your agony or doubt, 3. Kid Lit people are the BEST!

What are you looking forward to now, with all of this delicious time on your hands? 

That’s an easy one – doing my work. I have made only agonizingly slow process on my own projects for quite a while. I look forward to getting deep into the creative zone and going on a ride wherever that takes me. (Down time? What is that?)

Tell us about a highlight of your tenure.

There are many, but one recent experience fills my heart. David Small confided in me after our recent conference that he came to our event with a little trepidation, but was astounded and energized by our members and our program. He said the level of interest, creativity, and commitment in our corner of the world made him want to go home and work harder. We inspired him while he inspired us! And of course, to meet he and Sarah was to fall in love with them both.

How has your work day changed since handing over the reins?

The beauty of passing the baton is having many fewer distractions. However, now I have fewer excuses for not getting S--t done!

What’s next for you?

Although I created the art last year, I’m excited to promote Drawn to Color, A Coloring Book of the Pacific Northwest, out from Sasquatch this month. Ben Clanton put together an amazing group of illustrators and the result is fabulously fun! My other immediate focus is to finish a much-revised manuscript and get it dummied up for agent submissions.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Sharing the RA-ship with Dana Sullivan has been one of the best times in my life. We clicked right away as work partners and buddies. I could always count on D2 to come up with brilliance and/or a laugh when needed. Best of all, to know him is to love him. I already miss spending so much time with him.

I worried right from the beginning that, following the charming and hilarious Kim Baker & Jaime Temairik, I would be a bumbling idiot when taking to the stage. However, being the straight “man” for Dana 2 was a delight. He allowed me to just be me and not worry about embarrassing myself. Thanks D2, I owe you eternally!

And then there’s the Advisory Committee. I’d have stayed on just for the pleasure of all their company, but I think my husband would have divorced me. He had come to think of the time I spent with SCBWI as my “gambling problem.” Time to let someone else step in while I spend some quality time with my honey. 



See more of Dana's work at

1 comment:

Rebecca Van Slyke said...

Dana, it's been a privilege to get to know you better. As one of your "AdCommies," I can testify about how hard you and D2 have worked to strengthen our region.
Now go make some art! :-)