Scottsdale Teen Releases Fantasy Novel Written During the Pandemic

Photo: Danit Knishinsky with her fantasy novel, Maddie Shirkoff: World of Odds.

Unlike most teens who spent their COVID-19 pandemic quarantine time on TikTok, Netflix, or playing video games, Danit Knishinsky spent it writing her first-ever fantasy novel. The 14-year-old Scottsdale resident worked diligently during the lockdown to achieve one of her dreams: write and publish a fantasy novel. Maddie Skirkoff: World of Odds is the perfect summer reading for kids ages 7-16.

“I strive to share my stories with the world,” says Danit Knishinsky, the first-time published teen author who has been telling stories since the age of two. Her first written story was at 4 years old.

As the pandemic forced teens to curb their extracurricular activities and hunker down inside, it was Danit that decided she wanted to check off one of her bucket-list items and put her energy into writing a unique and adventurous story not only for herself but for her contemporaries.  Danit spent 12 months crafting her fictional novel, while her father became her editor and helped her navigate through the publishing process.

“I think one positive aspect of the pandemic was that it cleared the calendar for a lot of people, allowing them to pursue endeavors they didn’t have time for before, like catching up on a hobby or pursuing a personal dream,” says Ran Knishinsky, Danit’s father. “Danit is a storyteller, and with time on her hands during quarantine, she was finally able to craft a fantasy novel and come full circle with her dream to write and publish Maddie Shirkoff: World of Odds – and she did it at age 14! We are so proud! Personally, I am grateful for this bonding experience with my daughter on this special book.”

A voracious reader, Danit counts the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson book series among her most treasured, and their authors as inspiration for showing her how to connect with her audience.

“I have been influenced by my favorite writers that include JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Soman Chainani, and James Patterson,” says Danit. “I wanted to write a book that kept readers on the edge of their seats with action, emotion and surprise.”

The Story of Maddie Shirkoff

Maddie Shirkoff: World of Odds is a story of a young girl named Maddie who has always dreamed of finding the extraordinary. But what does she do when the extraordinary shows up at her front door – in the form of a portal transporting her to a dream world? From goblins to fire-breathing dragons, and magic potions to corrupt rulers, Maddie will be challenged. How will she save her dying dog? How will she summon the spirit the goblins seek? And how will she ever return home? It is an adventure for certain!

Maddie Shirkoff: World of Odds is available at and in both paperback and e-book editions. Maddie Shirkoff: World of Odds retails for $13.95, and is published by Opuntia Press.

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