Published Work: The Journey Home Trilogy consisting of Honeysuckle Sippin’, Honeysuckle Longings, and Honeysuckle Memories
Wanda is a graduate of Institute for Children’s Literature. View Course Catalog >
Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Wanda Sturrock!
What are the names of your books? Who is the publisher?
I have three published books at this time: The Journey Home Trilogy consisting of Honeysuckle Sippin’, Honeysuckle Longings, and Honeysuckle Memories. The trilogy was actually a surprise. I had intended the first book (which was to be a stand alone book) to be for younger readers. However, a short time after it was published I began hearing from older readers, as old as 90, wanting to know when “the next book” would be available so they could find out what happened to Brenda Kay.
In order for that first book to serve as Book 1 in the trilogy it had to be taken out of print and re-released with a different title. Then, the other books followed.
All of my books are published though BookBaby.
Give us a short summary of your books.
The trilogy follows East Texas born Brenda Kay through the many ups and downs of her life, beginning at the age of twelve after losing her mother and brother, as she struggles with the fear that her daddy will be next, deals with being moved from one relative to another, and tries to figure out a way to prevent a woman on the hunt for a husband from taking her daddy.
When almost seventeen, her world is turned upside down once more when an unplanned move to Houston plunges her into a world of anger, pain, heartache, and confusion. Her Bible is her one source of strength.
Finally, now in her sixties, after the sudden loss of her beloved husband, Brenda Kay decides to make a pilgrimage back to Turney, Texas, and finds herself on an unexpected trail of discovery.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.
The first book was the product of a course at ICL. I had intended to write a book based on my early life, but as I did I realized there were some things I did not want to write. After discussing my feelings with my instructor I carved my way into a novel using bits of real life, as I believe all novels do in some way.
I did submit to a few agents and received very positive feedback. But, due to my age, I decided to pass on the agent search and published through BookBaby.
How long have you been writing?
I suppose I’ve been writing most of my life. The long, descriptive letters I have written since childhood were probably good practice for the books. However, except for a few articles in quilt magazines and letters to the editor in newspapers, that’s it. I didn’t begin writing seriously until I began studying at ICL and IFW.
What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
It may sound strange but I don’t think I have a favorite genre to write. The books I have published are literature (I like to call it ‘Life’) but there are two in the future; one is humor and the other near future.
What ICL courses have your taken?
I have taken three courses at ICL and one at IFW: Writing for Children and Teens, Writing & Selling Children’s Books, Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel, and Pipeline to Publication.
How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
I honestly don’t think I would have ever been able to write a novel if I hadn’t taken these courses. I had no idea what all was involved. Several times I thought, “What was I thinking? I can’t do this.” But, I will always be grateful for the faith my instructors had in my ability.
Have any of your class assignments been published?
I have not been active in having my class assignments published. I’ve concentrated on the books.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and w?hat would you tell yourself
If I could travel back in time and give myself one piece of writing advice I think I would go back to the point when I was so stressed about getting everything ‘right’. I would tell myself to “take a walk; shake it off, then come back and enjoy the ride”.
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
I believe the time I spent in the ICL and IFW courses strengthened me as a person, as well as a writer. In the beginning I had no confidence in my ability. Two of my instructors would tell me what a great job I did at this or that. I admitted I had no idea how I’d done that and probably couldn’t make it work if they told me to. To one instructor I said, “I don’t analyze things. I just write what’s there.” His reply made my day. He said, “Writing what’s there works for you.”
Did the courses at ICL and IFW make it easier to write a book?
Yes, technically. But there were times during the actual writing when I would stare at my screen. It seemed like there was nothing in my head but air. I have to confess I had a partner…at those times I would say, “Lord, if you want me to finish this you’re going to have to give me some words, because I’ve got nothin’.” And I believe He did, based on this personal note from a reader: “I am thankful for the gift God has given you to write so others can lose themselves in their own memories as they read your books.” What more could I ask for?
Wanda Baham Sturrock is southern, country, Christian, and lover of nature and all God’s creatures. She believes books should make a difference in the lives of those who read them. Wanda writes from her home in Texas.