Wendi Silvano is the award-winning author of six picture books (going on 7), more than a dozen emergent and early readers, numerous stories, articles and poems in prominent children’s magazines and a variety of educational materials. Two of her picture books (Turkey Trouble and Just One More) won the Children’s Choice Award, and Turkey Claus was named one of the “Ten Best Picture Books of 2012” by YABC. She has won the IRA’s Paul A. Witty Short Story Award, the EdPress Award for Excellence in Children’s Magazine Fiction, The Highlights Humorous Fiction Contest, the Children’s Writer Early Reader Contest, among other honors. She taught preschool and elementary school for 11 years, and has now been writing for more than 20 years. She is the mother five and has owned too many pets over the years to count. She loves to eat banana cream pie or just about anything chocolate! In her 11 ½ minutes of spare time per day she likes to read, hike or play the piano. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and has lived in Oregon, Peru and now Grand Junction, Colorado, where she writes from her home. Her newest picture book, Turkey Trick or Treat, will be out in 2015. For more info, visit her website.
What aspect of the “good old days” do you wish could make a comeback today?
Drive-in movies. I loved making a bed in the back of my parents’ station wagon and getting to go to the movies in pajamas, squish on the “bed” with my brothers and sisters, watch the movie, eat the snacks and then fall asleep. Movie going now days just doesn’t create the same memories!
If you were the boss at your job, what incentive or perk would you offer your employees?
If I were the boss at a company I would provide “reading breaks” for everyone at least once a day, maybe twice. Then of course I would have to provide a library on site, but I could fill it with children’s books!
If you could buy one object to complete your home, what would it be?
One thing I would love to have is a treehouse. I think all kids need a treehouse. Unfortunately, none of the trees in my yard are big enough to hold one yet, and my kids are almost grown! (Maybe my grandkids one day….)
When do you know someone is exceptionally smart?
When they listen more than they talk.
What unhealthy habit will you never give up?
I don’t think I will every give up eating cake. Too yummy!
What one thing is unfortunately true?
It is ultimately unfortunate that chocolate is fattening!
If every activity in life were an Olympic sport, what would you win the gold in?
I could take gold in running on no sleep (not that I want to mind you, but it is what my life seems to be). With five kids, three dogs, two cats and my own crazy brain there is always something to keep me up late, wake me in the middle of the night, and wake me up early.
If you were able to change your first name, what would you pick?
I would choose the name Liliana. In fact, I fell in love with that name when I heard it so much that I named my 3rd daughter Liliana. She won’t trade though, darn her!
What one rule do you frequently disregard?
The rule I probably break most often is the rule that says you should “read all the instructions” before using some product.
What do you never leave home without?
I never leave home without a notebook of some sort or another.
What concept or product has surprisingly never been invented?
Time travel or teleportation. It seems to be so common in movies and books and so desired, but still hasn’t happened. Drat!
What is the most interesting piece of trivia you can think of?
The most interesting trivia related to books that I have heard: The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
What movie deserves a sequel?
The Princess Bride.
How do you know when a book is finished?
When I put it away for a few weeks or more, and then get it out to read it over, and I don’t want to make any changes.
When did you know for certain that you wanted to pursue a career in writing? Have you ever questioned that decision?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until after my third child was born. I was a teacher, and I quit to be home with my children. Then I discovered that I didn’t like doing most of the “domestic” things like cooking, sewing, decorating, gardening, etc. But I did LOVE reading to my children. I set out at first to write teacher resource materials, but found I was drawn to writing books the most… and never looked back!
What traits, if any, do you think that creative people have compared to people who are not creative?
I think everyone is creative. We just have to each find the area we are creative in, and not worry if it isn’t the same as another person’s.
Do you do anything special to get your creative juices flowing?
I go somewhere to people watch or animal watch. Just one example: I spent a morning at a nearby lake feeding the geese with my children one day. Watching how the geese interacted, and seeing their distinct personalities inspired so many new ideas. They were hilarious!
What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in the field of writing?
First, learn everything you can about the craft, then be patient and very, very persistent. It takes years to get it right, and there is always something new to learn. Don’t give up!
Who do you consider a literary genius?
There are many literary geniuses, but some children’s authors I think take that title are Roald Dahl, Cynthia Rylant and Barbara Park.
How did you pick your writing genre?
I have always loved picture books and early chapter books as a child, as a teacher and especially as a mother. That’s why they are my favorite thing to write (and read)!