Dani's Story

The Emancipation of Mary Sweeney is Dani Larsen’s first novel. She started writing it in the 90’s after delving into her ancestry and spending time with an aunt, who told her wonderful stories about her great-grandmother, Mary Sweeney. Dani was living in California at the time and was attending the College of Alameda. Fictional History became a favorite genre for her, while she was tutoring for her Creative Writing Professor.

Betty Roberts, the first female Oregon Supreme Court Judge, had been one of Dani’s high school teachers. When she spoke with her at her 25th class reunion, in her Oregon home town, Betty encouraged her to go back to school. After raising five children, with a ten year old daughter still at home, she worked hard at getting her Associates Degree in English at College of Alameda, where she tutored for Professor Jon Ford in his Creative Writing and English classes. She minored in History, and her 4 point GPA earned her the title of Class Valedictorian. She was thrilled when UC Berkeley called to accept her application and offered her a scholarship in the English Department, from where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature.

This historical fiction novel about her great-grandmother began while she was attending classes, raising her daughter, and her three year old granddaughter, who had been dropped off on her doorstep during her last year at Berkeley. She continued working part-time throughout, and went back to her sales career after graduation.

Dani wrote a story for a national Magazine that was published in 1997 and won 2nd place in a creative writing contest about the Millennium in “The Olympian” Newspaper in 1999. She worked as a freelance journalist for several years, publishing seventy plus human interest articles for the Sandy Post and the Clackamas County Gazette in Western Oregon. These were all published under the name Dani Bailey.

A High School boyfriend, who had recently lost his long time wife, contacted her in late 2006. A year later, they were married and bought a home in a retirement community, in Arizona. They spent a lot of time traveling and researching for her book. Finally, feeling her novel was perfected with the added research, she decided it was time to publish.

The Secret Saddle: Anna Troy’s Emancipation is the second book in her Emancipation Series. This novel follows her grandparents in their young married lives in Eastern Oregon through the trials and tribulations of raising a growing family in the Wild West in the early 1900’s. This historical fiction weaves the family through the struggles of the time as they are pursued by an evil ne’er-do-well whom the kindly George Hempe mistakes for a friend.

Dani has raised six children (including her granddaughter). She has twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband has two grown daughters and five grandchildren. She enjoys writing, traveling, ball room dancing, swimming, golf, and arts and crafts. The third book in the Emancipation Series is in the planning stages.

 Dani Larsen
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