I started writing when I was in early Elementary School. I can’t pin down just how old I was, but I remember my very first little book. We had a cow pasture behind our house. My older sister was walking through it one day when she found 3 baby bunnies that had been abandoned by their mother. She feared for their safety, so she picked them up and brought them home. We were in love with those little bitty baby bunnies. There were 3 of them, just like us—my sister, my brother, and me. They were the inspiration for my first book. I wrote it in my little scrawly handwriting, misspelling words right and left. I had cut one 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper into smaller squares and stapled them together. On those hallowed pages, I told a story of 3 bunnies. I named them appropriately for my sister, she was Snowball (she was beautiful); my brother, he was Cottonball (he was fun); and me, just Ball (I was the baby).
I was so proud of my first book. I ran to my Mom to show her. She read it and said it was cute. I was scooted off to go play. I remember feeling a little disappointed that Mom didn’t think it was as grand as I did. But, I didn’t let it stop me from writing. I wrote many other books. I just didn’t show them to my Mom. (I know that’s sad, but hang on, the story gets better).
In Middle School, I wrote poetry—kinda dark poetry, as teens will do. But, in school, we were studying Greek Mythology. I LOVED Greek mythology! What fantastical relationships and powers the gods had. I was very intrigued. I realized how important stories were to our lives.
In High School, we studied some of the ‘greats.’ I loved going to English class and dissecting the plot and characters. I was truly hooked. So, in College, I took 16 credit hours of Literature. I cannot tell you how excited I was to go to class! I loved the teacher, the other students, the literature, and I loved analyzing the stories together. Wow—I was turned on! But, I didn’t feel like I could make a living being a writer, so I turned to another subject that interested me—Psychology.
I worked for 10 years in a Community Mental Health Center and felt truly called to that work. I loved it and I loved helping people. But, when I had my daughter, I wanted to have hours more like her (well, I actually didn’t want to work at all, but my compromise was to be off when she was off). So, I switched to Guidance Counseling in the Public School System. I have never been happier that I switched. Those were great years! But, then, my daughter grew up and left for college.
There’s a picture on Facebook of an owl just looking with his eyes wide open like he doesn’t really know what he’s seeing. That’s exactly how I felt when my daughter left. It was the ‘now what do I do?” kind of feeling. It didn’t take long for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my new found free time. You guessed it! I picked right back up where I had left off–writing. I had written a story when my daughter was 5 years old. I tried to get it published the traditional way for several years. I gave up that route and self-published. I’m so glad I did! It was a dream come true to see my work in print! I had written another book while she was growing up, so I self-published that one this year. It’s selling like hotcakes. I guess people like Turtles (2nd book) better than Princesses (1st book). Anyway, I tried my hand at poetry again and wrote a rhyming picture book. I’m getting ready to launch it this September.
I feel so fulfilled. I’m so very happy that I’m writing and publishing. I love the Indie Community. I love my readers—those sweet little Elementary aged children. I love their parents, especially those that still read to their children. I believe the path I chose brought me here today. I think I appreciate being able to write and publish so much more now. I believe I’m a better writer than I would have been had I just pursued writing from the get-go (although those that do, I’m sure are fine, this was just my path). I believe I have a message to share. I want to encourage positive character in children through entertainment and quality literature. I have combined my love of people and developmental psychology with my passion for writing.
And guess what? My Mom is my biggest fan! She sells my books regularly. (I told you the story got better!)
Wanda Luthman (children’s author)