Today we're visiting with a multi-talented lady. I first knew about Wendy as a literary agent. Now I find she is the author of a middle school aged series about historical girls. And she creates dolls for each character.
I love children’s books. I often say that the finest literature has been written for children—think Sarah, Plain and Tall; Because of Winn Dixie; Little Women; Chronicles of Narnia; Lord of the Rings; Walk Two Moons; The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
My whole professional life has been tied to children’s books. As a dollmaker, over the last thirty years, much of my doll inspiration was drawn from children’s literature. I’ve licensed and produced dolls inspired by Anne of Geen Gables, Raggedy Ann, Mirette on the High Wire, Mailing May and hundreds of others. www.lawtondolls.com
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve done a lot of out-there things in my life. It’s hard to name the quirkiest. Perhaps it would be appearing a number of times on QVC. Oh wait, that was the most terrifying.
When did you first discover that you were a writer or illustrator?
I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was five. Titled Skunky’s Baby Book, it came out in a very limited edition of one.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love books—it’s hard to narrow it down. In my current job as a literary agent I try to read bestsellers to keep on top of the current zeitgeist. I’m fond of mystery writers like Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters, Laurie R. King. I’ve been an avid reader of C. S. Lewis and the Christian Classics. I love the gothic romances by Victoria Holt and have reread them many a time. I love character-driven women’s fiction, but I also devour historicals. I like gentle reads and I’m always catching up on the classic writers I missed.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve written a total of twelve books so far—Seven in my Daughters of the Faith series, four in a teen series called Real TV, and a nonfiction. Here’s are the titles:
The Tinker’s Daughter
Courage to Run
Shadow of His Hand
The Captive Princess
Less is More
Impressions in Clay
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity? We’re supposed to keep that? Seriously, I’m great at compartmentalizing. When I write, I block out time and give it 100%. When I sculpt or design—same thing. I’m there in the moment. My job as an agent is my fulltime job, and I keep the blinders on for 40 or 50 hours a week.
How do you work together as a team?
I have a great team of people in my life, but most of my work is solitary.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?
I have had so many wonderful things happen in my life. I received a Lifetime Achievement award for doll design in 2006; I was granted an honorary Doctorate from Wilmington University in 2004 for my work as a dollmaker and author; Last year ACFW awarded me their debut Agent of the Year award. I guess I’m proudest of the fact that God has blessed the work of my hands, whether as a sculptor/designer, a writer, or now, as an agent serving other authors.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I happen to be madly in love with a certain golden retriever so I can’t imagine anything better in the animal kingdom.
What is your favorite food?
Great crusty homemade bread. (Oh yeah, I’m gluten intolerant, so when I eat aforementioned great crusty homemade bread it brings on swelling and arthritis-like symptoms. I hobble like an octogenarian. But I do imbibe and hobble all too often.)
I can almost smell the wonderful aroma of homemade bread right now. Is it hard to break into the children’s market?
At this time in publishing, it is very difficult, especially if you are a picture book author. Middle grade is a little better, but it takes stellar writing.
What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?
Be persistent. Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for the inside information. Keep honing your craft. Write the book today’s children want to read, not the book you loved to read.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The story of Pocahontas is one we’ve all heard— of course many of the tales have been pure fabrication— but I’ll bet you didn’t know that her life was a journey to faith in the one living God. Writing this book at the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Colony was wonderful because recent archeological findings on the grounds of Pocahontas’ village, Werewocomoco, yielded all sorts of information we just didn’t have before. Since the whole story is told through her eyes, it made her setting come alive.
It sounds interesting, Wendy. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you for spending this time with us, Wendy.
Readers, check out her doll site and her personal web site. And for a chance to win a copy of The Captive Princess, leave a comment.