Winners' Circle: Shanda Trent

October 23, 2020

Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we're celebrating winner Shanda Trent! Her entry Kitten's Day came in First Place in our Bedtime Picture Book Contest!

What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Bedtime Picture Book

How many writing contests have you entered?
3

Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Kitten's Day follows the charming antics of a farm girl and her kitten from dawn to dusk.

What inspired your winning entry?
I grew up in the country and spend my days chasing my kitten around the farm.

How has entering this contest helped your writing?
To be honest, I wrote this piece during a mentorship with fellow Michigan picture book author Rhonda Gowler Greene, via an SCBWI Michigan contest. When I read about the contest, I submitted Kitten's Day. Now, with some easy revisions, I have renewed excitement to submit this piece.

How did the critique in the Winners' Workshop help you?
The feedback from the judges has helped me see redundancies and places to use stronger language.

Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your "day job"?
I am a retired early childhood educator. I do not write "full time." I am busy in my community and my family.

How long have you been writing?
25 years

What will you do with your piece now that it's been recognized?
Submit it; first to the Little Tiger Press/Tiger Tales, and if that doesn't sell, to other publishers. As well, I will take advantage of the winning status as I query agents.

Any fun plans for the prize money?

Putting it toward a used hybrid Ford CMax.

What do you do when you're feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I am more discouraged by submitting, but that cloud can obscure my writing focus. I play with rhythm and rhyme, and take advantage of the spontaneous thoughts and actions that pop into my head and write those down asap! Also, I save ideas on Pinterest and elsewhere for ideas for future picture books, so when
I need inspiration, I return to those articles / pictures / phrases.

If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children's literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
I would like to go to Frog and Toad's yard sale, specifically to purchase Toad's jacket covered with all of the buttons he and Frog found while looking for Toad's lost button. That's my favorite of Arnold Lobel's funny amphibians.

What do you like about ICL and our opportunities for writers?
While I haven't taken advantage of any other ICL offerings, I bet they are great, based on the feedback I received for my entry. I encourage anyone to submit their revised, polished story for their contests. At worst, you get a great exercise in proper formatting. At best, you might win some money!

Are you our next contest winner? There's $1,300 of prize money up for grabs! Check out our current contests on our Contests Page.

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