Trussoni was born November 9, 1973 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and was named after her father Daniel Trussoni. She is one of four children (she has a younger sister, a younger brother and an older sister who was adopted out in 1970, before Danielle was born). Danielle met her older sister for the first time as an adult. After her parents divorced, she lived for a brief time with her father. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison summa cum laude with a BA in History and English in 1996; and from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she received an MFA in Fiction Writing in 2002.