Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Being an "Accidental Author" - An Interview with Wendy Monica Winter

What inspired you to write Where’s My Joey? When did you actually start writing your book? 
I taught grade 8 Math and Science in Perth, Australia in 2007. I wanted to send some pictures to my young nieces in Arkansas. I bought a furry kangaroo album (photo of which is at the back of the 
Where’s My Joey? book). As I started to put some photos of Australia in it, the story just appeared (I call it downloaded) and I then had to figure out how to put each of the pictures and the dialogue into the story that I had in my mind and heart. 

I felt this story had potential to be a book but it wasn't until 2019 when I was visiting my sister-in-law, Aurora Winter of Same Page Publishing, that she told me the steps to making a picture book and publishing it independently. Aurora has helped me with all the steps in the process of writing Where's My Joey? and that is why I have dedicated my first book to her. Due to my "downloading style," I didn't have any rewrites before the final proof.

Prior to this picture book, what was your publishing and writing background?
I have a Bachelor in Science (Specialist in Computer Science and Major in Mathematics) and a Master in Mathematics Education, in other words, I am more of a numbers rather than words person. I consider myself an "accidental author." I didn't set out with the goal of writing a children's book but I just got excited about a story that came to me. This is my first but not my last book. I am very excited about the next one I am working on this summer.

Other than getting your book published, what has excited you the most in being a published author?
I really love how being a children's book author has given me the opportunity to connect with some special people. In this past week, I had so much fun playing Where's My Joey? with a 6-year-old girl where we would take turns hiding a stuffed Joey and then with our stuffed Mamma Kangaroo have to look for him. I also love spontaneous giving the book away.

I love the whimsy of your front cover. How did you to find your illustrator? 
Thank you. I also LOVE the front cover and all the other illustrations of Roxana Antochi (now Chitanu) as well. She is currently working on her own children's book. I found her by reaching out to several illustrators that I found on various Internet sites. 

In the end, she was the one who really stood out with her artistic talent, her ability to communicate and her professionalism. I wrote all the text but Roxana had many suggestions for layout. I am so grateful to her because her work far exceeded what I was expecting. Her illustrations were the key component to Where’s My Joey? winning so many awards.

What has frustrated or 
surprised you the most in putting together this book? 
This book came with ease and flow so I didn't get frustrated as I was putting it together. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process to independently publish a book through Amazon's KDP was. It was so thrilling to get my first book delivered. 

Now, I am working on how to get the word out about the book. That is a whole other science. I am really happy with the sales, but there is still so much more for me to learn about reaching potential readers. The teacher in me prefers to use the word "stretch" rather than "frustration." My current stretch is there is so much that I can do at this stage of the book that I find that I have many things on the go at once on my computer instead of just finishing one thing at a time and finishing it. My current challenge is finding the time to do all that I want to do with this book. Can any other authors relate to this? :)

Marketing is always the biggest challenge for indie-authors. What type of promotions have you done for this book? 
With Aurora's guidance, I got a Featured New Release with Bookbub and I have done some advertising with them. I also have run some Goodreads giveaways. I am on Amazon Kindle Unlimited so I run a free eBook promo every 90 days. My next one will be from August 10th to 14th. I will run a Featured Release with Bookbub for this promo. I found that Freebooksy was a really worthy venue to advertise the free book.

I just started a social media blitz of pictures of Mamma Kangaroo searching for Joey. I'm inviting kids (of all ages) to send photos of Joey with the hashtag #WheresMyJoey to help her find him.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
Keep your audience in mind.
Where’s My Joey? has some challenging words in the book (specifically echidna, quokka and emu) but, as an educator, I feel it is good to stretch children especially when an adult is there to support them in their learning. I have a page on my website that gives more information about Joey's friends including how to pronounce their names.

What other works do you have in the process?
I have written my second children's picture book. It is about the power of choosing love and not fear. I am in the process of searching for an illustrator.

I'd also like to add that 
Where’s My Joey? has a coloring book to accompany it.  The book has just been released in Italian and Spanish, French and German and should be out before the end of this summer.

What message would you like parents and children to take away from your books?

SPOILER ALERT: My hope for the reader is that the message of "the important answers are within us" reaches into their hearts.

I've dressed up in my kangaroo costume and have had a lot of fun reading the story to school children. "Mamma Kangaroo" has often asked after reading to school children, "What in life do we look for outside ourselves and in the end, we have to first find it within ourselves?" She has gotten many answers such as:

* Glasses when they are really on your head.
* Cellphone when it is in your bag.

As well as some deeper insights such as:
* Where does happiness need to start?
* How can we love another person if we don't love ourselves first?
* We have to be peaceful within if we want to be creating a peaceful world.

What future plans do you have for writing?
I am independently published and if a story "comes to me" I will continue to author more children's books. My book was only published this year so I am very new to being an author. I would like to reach as many readers as possible so I am open to working with a publishing company if it will help reach that end.

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to buy this book or learn about her upcoming books, here are some links to get you started.

Amazon Link:


  1. Dear Christine,
    Sincere thanks for giving me this opportunity to tell my story.

  2. All the best for continued success with this book and your others.