Why did you pursue writing?
When I wrote my first Sugarplum story, I didn't share it with anyone one for the longest time. I was so shy and vulnerable about my writings. Finally, I let one of the "Godmothers" read it because she appeared in that story. She raved about how much she loved it, but I was not convinced. This woman is like family--of course she is not going to crush my feelings. But, over time, I built up enough courage to share with another person and another person. One day, one of my friends asked me why I didn't try to publish it. As an English major, I knew the statistics on how hard it is to get published. But, the seed had been planted.
Every time the thought of publishing would slip through my mind, I would stamp it down and convince myself that was a one-way street to disappointment. One day in September 2012, I was typing one of my secret stories on the computer when I had that same random thought again about publishing. I gave myself the usual it-will-never-work talk. Suddenly, I clearly heard someone say to me, "I thought you truly believed that through Me all things were possible." I was speechless. All my arguments were out the window. How do you tell God that something is impossible? I googled "children's book writer." Within twenty minutes, I had joined Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and registered for a conference in October 2012 in Alabama.
I started out with literally no expectations, so I can't help but be happy about any success at all. I can say that I have been so humbled by the entire experience.
What inspired your book?
My own father died when I was five-months-old. I always had this yearning to know who he was and to know stories about him and our short time together. With that background, I knew as a new mother that no matter what happened to me, I wanted my children to know about their little family. I tried to start writing in one of those store-bought baby books when my daughter was born. The questions that they asked in the baby books were so trivial. I was frustrated because there were important things I wanted her to know. So, I went to the store on November 26, 2010 and bought a journal. I was going to just write random facts that I thought would be important to her one day. But, when I put pen to paper the facts were spun into fairy tales.
Although the actual journal entries are quite different from the chapters in the books, the Sugarplum stories grew from those journal entries. In addition to writing my daughter's stories, I wrote stories about her friends and family. Almost every character in the books is a blend of loved ones in my daughter's life that I can tell her about one day.
The cookie baking plotline was inspired by baking cookies with our children's cookie ministry. The children in our church and their families bake cookies and tuck those cookies in bags or boxes. Those cookies are delivered to people in need of a little cheer along with just the right Bible verse.
Baking cookies is a family tradition for the Salter's as well as for the Sugarplums. My daughter and I love baking in the kitchen together, and we also love to share our baked goods with others. In December 2014, my daughter and I competed in the St. Augustine Cookie Exchange using the Sugarplum recipes as the basis for our Flamingo's First Christmas cookies. Author of Flamingo's First Christmas, Nancy Raines Day, featured an article about my cookies on her website at http://nancyrainesday.com/.
How long have you been publishing your work?
I debuted as an author when I released the first two books in the Sugarplum Recipe Series in July 2015. I have another book in the series coming out in December 2015. A fourth book will be released in 2016.
Have you been interested in writing the majority of your life?
I learned in one of my psychology classes in college that a child's first memory says a lot about who that person is or who he or she will become. My very first memory is of me at four-years-old tucked away in my bedroom pretending to write. I loved writing then and all through school. I studied English as a undergraduate in college. Writing has been a lifelong joy for me.
Do you have a routines to help you write?
For me, writing is not routine but inspired and seasonal. There are creative seasons when I simply must write as new stories swirl in my head. In those times, I put pen to paper with no thought to plot or outline. Because of that, there are many stories that I simply put aside and think to myself "this may one day become a chapter in a book." As I may eventually pull from those writings, nothing is ever wasted. There are days that I look at those piles of scraps and begin to see plot lines emerge. During those seasons, I have been blessed to be able to work with my editor, Taylor Morris. Taylor actually worked on a project very similar to mine with Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network and her Recipe for Adventure Book Series. Taylor has done a fantastic job of keeping me encouraged and helping me map out where my stories are going.
As a self-published author, there are seasons that demand that I stop writing altogether to work with my illustrator on illustrations, designer on book covers, as well as marketing and website design. During those times, there is no time to even think about writing.
About the Author
A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Wendy Powell Salter is a licensed professional counselor and a school counselor with ten years experience in public schools. She married her high school sweetheart and they have a daughter. Wendy is from a long line of farmers and she and her family live on a farm that has been in her family for six generations. They tend a garden and raise rabbits and silkie bantam chickens.
Wendy has been a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators since 2012. Wendy has had the opportunity to do intensives with Matt de La Pena, Nikki Grimes and Donna Jo Napoli. In addition, she served as an assistant for author Nancy Raines Day at the SCBWI Springmingle in March 2014. In December 2014, she competed in the St. Augustine Cookie Exchange using the Sugarplum recipes as the basis for her Flamingo's First Christmas cookies. Author of Flamingo's First Christmas, Nancy Raines Day, featured an article about Wendy's cookies on her website at http://nancyrainesday.com/
Books by Wendy Salter on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1gWkW7G