Archive for the ‘The Lilac Princess’ Tag

Interview with Wanda Luthman   2 comments

Today’s interview is with children’s author Wanda Luthman.. Welcome to the blog, Wanda. Tell us something about yourself.

Luthman WandaI grew up in St. Louis, MO but moved to Florida as an adult after college. I am a High School Guidance Counselor. This is my 18th year doing that job. Before that, I worked at a local Mental Health Center for 10 years doing counseling.

I’m married. We just celebrated our 20th Anniversary by taking a cruise to Alaska. It’s an amazing place and everyone should try to get there at least once in their lifetime.

I have a daughter in college that I’m very proud of. I also have 4 grown step-children whom I love dearly.

I have two yorkies—Scruffy and Tessa. They didn’t come from the same litter. Scruffy went with us to pick out Tessa.  They love each other very much! As evidenced by all their kissing! I had never seen dogs do this before!

 

So we actually have quite a lot in common. I worked in the mental health field as an administrator for 15 years and I live in Alaska, but not on the coast. We’re interior — Fairbanks. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I wrote my first story when I was maybe 10 years old. I don’t remember exactly. I wrote a bunch of stories. I had them in the bottom drawer of  my dresser. One day, I heard my sister and her boyfriend reading something and laughing hysterically. I realized, they were my books. Now, they weren’t comedies, but I have to say, I enjoyed that people were reading my books and enjoying them! I loved Greek mythology in middle school. I had a wonderful English Lit teacher in High School and thoroughly enjoyed dissecting books. I went to college wanting to study Literature and to become a writer and even took 16 credit hours, but felt I wouldn’t be able to make a living. So, I double majored in Psychology and Sociology. I wrote my first book that I actually wanted to publish when my daughter was 5 years old. A friend encouraged me to follow my dream to become published. It took a lot of time to find someone to edit my work and figure out how and to whom to submit my work to get published. I didn’t get picked up by anyone, so I had heard about this thing called self-publishing and started checking into those companies. I felt they were all a rip off. So, I sat on it awhile longer. One day, I got an email from a company and I felt they were one I could trust so I emailed and told them I was interested. I had to wait a whole year until I had saved up enough money and then I self-published my book with them. It was an amazing feeling to hold that book in my  hands for the first time. That was last year and just a few weeks before I turned 50. I felt like that was a great present to give myself!

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I write children’s books. Maybe because I started writing as a child and that’s just what comes naturally. But, I do love to write for children. And they are so much fun to give a presentation to or to work on a craft with at an expo.

I read mostly spiritual inspiration books. I read a book a few years ago that my Pastor wrote about contemplative mediation and it changed my life. Now, I’m hungry to get my hands on anything else related to that.

 

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about life. I want to live life to the fullest. I want to make choices and grow and learn. I don’t want to become stagnant. I want to contribute in the best possible way to this world before I leave it.

 

What is something you cannot live without?

I cannot live without my family. I love them so much. They are what makes the world go around for me.

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

Besides work, I love to ride my bike. I’m a cyclist and I enjoy riding with my local bicycle club.

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Not yet, but I do intend to write my memoirs someday. I imagine that will have a transformative effect.

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

That’s part of the presentation I give to the children. Inspiration is everywhere. I get inspired by a thought, a song, a sunrise, a flower, people, animals, really just about anything will inspire me. Just tonight I heard an ice cream truck’s song playing and I thought I could write a poem about the end of summer and the sound of the ice cream truck.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Well, they are fantasy so I don’t have to do too much because it comes from inside of me.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

It’s a good moral rolled into an adventure and tucked into a fantasy

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

I can write anywhere. I write on the sofa, at my work desk (shh, don’t tell the boss), in a waiting room.

 

I get some of my best writing done waiting for airplanes or when I’ve worked myself out of paid work at my money job. Why waste time, right? Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I think my recurring theme is someone wanting something they can’t/don’t have. I do feel I’m finding the answer through contemplative meditation. It has helped quell that anxiety and find acceptance with what is.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Plot driven. The story is exciting to me. Of course, the characters have to be believable and grow through the story. But, the story is where it is at for me.

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I’m a discovery writer. I haven’t really tried writing from an outline, but I believe somewhere inside of me is the outline, I just don’t write it down.

 

That explains it exactly. What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I tend to narrate a little with some dialogue from the characters thrown in

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

After just having been there, this would be such a dream. I, of course, would be writing supplies because in Alaska you can completely unplug. It would be so fantastic to have this quiet time to myself to just sit and write. I would want some good hiking boots because I’ll need to get outside and enjoy the outdoors which is so beautiful there. This would give my brain the break it needs to continue to create and my body the exercise it needs so I stay healthy. I would bring every book I could find on contemplative meditation because Lord knows, I’d have plenty of time to practice that!

 

Talk about your books individually.

My first published book is called The Lilac Princess. This story, while it is inspired by my daughter, who is an only child just like the main character, is ultimately “my story.” I have always had a wanderlust to go somewhere I can’t go to and when I got there, I realized that’s not really where I wanted to be after all. But then, consequences occur and you have to deal with them. It’s not like anything bad, but I wanted to be grown up so bad when I was a kid and then I grew up and left home and then I cried and cried and cried because I wanted to go back home. I went back home and then I cried because it’s not the same. We’ve all been there. Then, you have to deal with forgiveness. Somewhere along the way, someone wronged you and in order to get on with your life, you have to forgive or forever be stuck. I have found forgiveness to be terribly hard to grant. So this book discusses forgiveness.

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Yes

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want them to think about the “dragons” in their own life who have hurt them and think about granting them forgiveness not because the dragon deserves it but because when you think over your own life, you realize you need forgiveness too. Sometimes we have to give the hardest thing because it’s the most necessary.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Not getting picked up by a big company. But, now I feel it’s the greatest gift that could have ever happened. I love the Indie Community and knowing what I know now about having to market anyway, well, why would you spend all that time marketing so other people can pocket money off your creativity and hard work?

 

 

There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I think they can both co-exist

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Retaining my rights as an author as well as profits. Plus, the self-satisfaction of doing it from the ground up. The wonderful support from other Indie authors. I have met such wonderfully giving people on this road that I would have never met otherwise. I’m truly grateful for this experience.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

I would think that you get more connections and publicity from being with a big company but I’m not really sure that is true.

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Yes, I think so. I don’t really know how to get my book to stand out. I just know to do my best and put it out there in all the venues I know and hopefully it will stand out.

 

Luthman Wanda Lilac PrincessWho designed your book cover/s? Which, by the way, is striking.

The self-publishing company that I went with asked me what I wanted and I told them and they designed it.

 

 Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Absolutely! We need good writing, good editors and good artwork.

 

Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

I belong to a couple of local groups. I enjoy meeting people face to face and finding out about the local avenues. I’ve also joined some groups in social media. They have been absolutely fantastic to be just an email or FB message away and they are incredibly helpful!

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

No, because I want to reach a broader audience.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

Having non-Christians consider your work. Having  Christians consider your work. Hahaha!  It is a double-edged sword.

 

It is! As a Christian who is a writer myself, I find you kind of get scrutiny from both sides. Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

Some Christians don’t like books that have fantasy or magic in it but I find that’s more appealing to kids and helps get the message across in a less “preachy” way. So, I feel me writing to appeal to my audience while keeping a good moral message is how I do that.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

Yes, but I feel so do certain professions. Teachers, policemen, politicians…

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I think they should write really great stories. I mean, the gospel is the gospel. I don’t think you have to couch it into a story. It’s already the greatest story to tell.

 

How can interested readers find you? 

 

 

Website: www.wandaluthman.wordpress.com

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/wandaluthman

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wluthman

Twitter: @wandalu

 

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