First, tell us, in your own words, a little about you.
I’m a High School Guidance Counselor and hold a license in Mental Health Counseling. I love helping kids figure out their dreams and passions and help them pursue them. I’m married. I have one child and four step-children. One grandbaby and one on the way. I have two yorkies that I love dearly. And my neighbor and I have rescued 15 feral cats. They are all fixed but we feed them and provide a comfy porch for them to get out of the rain. I live in Florida so it doesn’t really get cold here. Life is good!
What are your likes, and dislikes?
I love God and my country, even though things seem kinda crazy right now. I love people. I love my family and friends. I really have a passion to help kids be the best little people they can be so one day when they grow up, they will be happy, fulfilled, and productive people.
Dislikes—well, I’m sure I have some but I can’t think what they are. I tend to put myself in other people’s shoes before I judge. I believe we’re all trying to do the best we can. I do hate war and terrorism. I don’t understand why we have to kill each other. I would prefer a world where we understand each other’s differences and live and let live.
What are your hobbies?
I cycle and swim. Not as often as I should but I do enjoy both activities. I love to bake which is another reason I should cycle and swim more. LOL. I love to read and of course, write.
What motivates you to write?
I get inspired from things around me and a little story will pop in my head. I am motivated to write magical, adventurous stories with positive messages woven into them to encourage children to be the best they can be.
What motivated you to write your first book?
My very first book, when I was 6/7, was inspired by 3 wild baby bunnies that my sister found abandoned in the cow pasture behind our house. She brought them home and I fell in love. Since I am the youngest of three children, it was only natural that a little story would pop into my head about the three bunnies being siblings, just like the three of us and I wrote a little story about us. My sister, the eldest, was named Snowball; my brother, the middle child, was named Cottonball; and I, being the youngest, was just Ball.
The first book I decided to publish was inspired by something deep inside of me because I woke up one morning with the story bursting out of me. I had to stop and write it all down. The words came faster than I could write. I published that book, The Lilac Princess, in 2014 and just re-published it under my own label this summer (2017). I re-read it recently and realized it was my story—a story of a girl who needed to learn to forgive her dragon. At the time of writing the story, I hadn’t been able to forgive. But, a few years later, I was. It was amazing to me that this story mirrored my life so much.
What keeps you going?
Other authors, my parents, and the children. When I read to an audience of children and look into their faces and see how they enjoy my books, that’s a thrill and I know I don’t ever want to stop writing and encouraging children.
In what conditions do you write? Do you have a favorite writing space?
I write on paper, notepads, even napkins, but mostly I write on my computer. My computer isn’t in my office which has double doors that face our pond and wildlife which would be an ideal place to write. My computer is shared with my husband and sits on our dining room table.
If you could create your dream writing space what would that look like?
Really, my office is pretty ideal. But, if I could have a cabin in the mountains on a lake—man, that would be ideal! A quiet, beautiful place would be so inspirational!
When you begin your writing process, do you create an outline, or do you simply write from your heart?
I write from the heart. I almost feel like an outline would stifle me. But, I know many authors do that.
What is your favorite song?
Forever Young by Rod Stewart
What is your favorite movie?
I don’t have one single favorite movie but I love Goldie Hawn movies
What is your favorite book?
I love The Hobbit trilogy or it might be called The Lord of the Ring Series
Who is your favorite author?
It’s most definitely Dr. Seuss although I also love A.A. Milne. I think Winnie the Pooh is my favorite character ever.
What is your favorite food?
Steak, most definitely steak. I do wish I didn’t love steak but I grew up eating meat and well, I just can’t stop.
What is your favorite quote?
Your past does not determine your future.
(I don’t know who said that but it certainly has been true of my life)
What is your favorite affirmation?
“All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well”
(I don’t know who said this either but I learned it at a retreat I was at during my divorce)
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People talking in meetings. I think it’s so rude and I can’t hear what is being said.
What do you think your best strengths are?
Understanding others and having an analytical mind
What are your weaknesses, and, how are you working on making them stronger?
I don’t have a lot of trust in myself. I am, at least, aware of it now whereas before I wasn’t. That’s step one. Now, I’m working on catching myself when I realize I’m giving my power away. That’s step two. Then, it will be making a different choice in the moment. That will be step three and I believe change will occur at that point.
What is your dream for the future?
I dream that my books help kids be better people. I dream that my books catch the attention of others and they share them with the world. While it’s okay if I only make a difference here in my backyard, I hope to be able to make a broader difference in the world.
What books have you written?
The Lilac Princess
A Turtle’s Magical Adventure
Little Birdie Grows Up
Gloria and the Unicorn
(soon to be released—Franky the Finicky Flamingo)
Are you planning to write more?
Yes, many more! I have several others written but I don’t have the time and money to get them published as quickly as I would like.
What of all you have written is your favorite?
My favorite is The Lilac Princess because it’s a story that reflects my own story.
How can readers contact you best?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything about you, that you’d like to share, that I’ve not covered here?
No, I can’t think of anything. Thank you so much for this interview. I enjoyed answering the questions. Many of them made me stop and think and I love that!
WOW! Wanda! Thanks, so very much for sharing so very much about yourself with us.
I, for one, truly enjoyed getting to know you better. Now, before we go, I’d like to share just a few book reviews, that folks have written since reading Wanda’s work.
A Turtle’s Magical Adventure – A Magic Turtle will be free on Amazon between September 1 and September 3.
What more could a parent want in a read-aloud book for children in an age range (guessing here!) anywhere from two to eight? This little turtle adventure is an introduction to chapter books and it has plenty of symbolism and metaphors for parents to discuss with their tots. It is a mix of fantasy and nature and incorporates a bit of Norwegian troll influence and wizardry from the Gawain era of English lit. That makes it a nice introduction to more advanced classic stories found on the bookshelves of any good library.
Gloria and the Unicorn
Young Gloria is a lot like many children today. Ashamed of her ‘sagging’ face, she struggles with her self-worth, and the adults around her, seem unable to help her build self-esteem. The miraculous appearance of a unicorn begins a friendship that is warm and comforting. A series of adventures cements the friendship and helps Gloria realize just how strong and wonderful she really is. Without giving away too much, this tale by Guidance Counselor, Wanda Luthman, is the charming ‘feel-good’ pill that can trigger discussion that parents, educators, and children will enjoy. Mark H. Newhouse, author of Welcome to Monstrovia
Little Birdie Grows Up
I’m not sure what took me so long to review this story because it is one of mine and my little one’s favorite bedtime story. It is really cute story about a bird who grows up. You get to quickly experience life in the egg until flight. My little one giggles so hard when it talks about eating worms. I would recommend this to anyone with a little one. We absolutely love listening to it on audio as well. The narrator did a fantastic job.
The Lilac Princess (2nd Edition)
Any little girl would love to read this book!. The story line is incredible!. It is a story that teaches forgiveness can right many wrongs. It is so fun to read that Adults will enjoy reading it to their little ones. Even little boys would love hearing this story as you have Knights and a Dragon. This would make an awesome story time book. And with the right materials a great teaching aid to. You will love the little Princess Dreamer, Dirk the little boy who befriends her and even The Dragon they meet.
More about Wanda Luthman…
Wanda Luthman has her M.A. in Mental Health and Guidance Counseling and has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a High School Guidance Counselor. She has published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie Grows Up). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She resides in Brevard County, Florida with her husband and 2 dogs. To download a free e-book, visit her website www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com