Today I’m delighted to introduce an author who’s muse, like mine, is her faithful, four-legged companion. Donna Maguire is not only the author of, but also the illustrator of, five books in her Silly Willy Winston series. Her latest, Pirate Snout, was just released last month.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books. How did you get started?
A: I began writing children’s books in March of 2015, with the first book in the series published on Amazon in July of 2015. It may seem a bit odd that the series already includes five books. The reason is that I created the books without even thinking of publishing them. After more than 35 years in the advertising and marketing profession, I left a successful marketing consulting business and moved to Nevada. The change was driven by the loss of my nephew, who I had raised more like a son than nephew after providing hospice for his mother. His brother lives in Nevada with his two babies. He told me that if I came out and helped to care for them it would do wonders for me. I don’t think he knew how right he was.
With a strong belief that reading early and often to children not only makes for good times, it promotes bonding and nurtures the joy of reading, so I read to them often. Something amazing happened: my creativity and imagination was re-ignited. It seemed only natural to funnel this newfound energy into a long-term desire to write children’s books. In essence, caring for my grand babies and creating children’s books provided an effective form of therapy.
As the books were initially created for a very select audience, my grand babies, I set several goals for the books, including (1) promoting literacy by helping to nurture the joy of reading through fun, humorous story telling, (2) providing a message of acceptance, love and friendship, not just for others but for the children reading the books themselves, and (3) igniting the young readers’ natural curiosity for the world, the environment and the creatures that inhabit it with us.
My Basset Hound Winston, Silly Willy Winston as I call him, was the perfect muse and unlikely hero for my books. He has the biggest ears ever, a stout frame, huge paws and a super large snout. He trips over his ears and paws often, which makes him a bit of a clown. Rather than bothering him, he views people’s laughter at this as an invitation to make friends. He is the perfect role model for self-acceptance and empowerment. Winston’s traits and the way he embraces them and uses them to his advantage also make him an ideal character to help children understand, face and protect themselves and others against bullying, through self-confidence.
Winston’s story can be used to start a conversation regarding bullying with children. After sharing the books with their children or loved ones, parents and caregivers can ask if a child ever feels as if they are different like Silly Willy Winston, what makes them different, how they feel about being different and what special powers or unique gifts they gain from their differences?
Silly Willy Winston in the Adventures of Pirate Snout – Mystery In the Desert and On the Seas Silly Willy Winston and his friend Aiden live in the desert. They love to explore but most of all they dream of adventure not on dry ground. Silly Willy Winston throws Aiden a bandanna and wooden sword. He readies his nose and his snout. He puts on his pirate’s hat and grabs his telescope. In an instant he becomes Pirate Snout. On this journey they discover a ship buried in the Mojave Desert, a Pyramid under the sea and so much more.
You can find all of Donna’s books here:
Online Store (Paperbacks):
Amazon (Kindle and Paperbacks):
iTunes (iPad/iPhone Coloring Book Apps 5 out of 6 are Free apps!): https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/donna-maguire/id1065326110
Q: Tell us something about your latest success.
A: I feel my latest success has been able to emerge from the depths of despair that I felt in dealing with the death of my loved ones, to finding a totally new passion – writing children’s books. The credit for this really belongs to my niece and nephew for entrusting me with their beautiful babies, and the babies for reaching into my soul and re-igniting my passion and creativity.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
A: I have to say the biggest challenge has been marketing the books as an independent author. Sounds funny, as my background is in advertising and marketing, however, my specialty was in extremely technical areas of commerce. The target audiences, distribution channels and marketing tools were much narrower. After the marketing I would say the biggest challenge was to learn how to illustrate Winston and the technology involved in formatting the books for Kindle and iBooks.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: After the grand babies are in preschool I plan to sell the house, live in an RV and tour the country promoting my books with my beloved muse. I would like to promote literacy and use a large portion of proceeds to start a non-profit focused on this cause. It would be a dream come true to assure that every child has the resources needed to read proficiently. If a child can read he or she can grow up to do anything.
Visit Donna on her web site and follow her on social media:
Thanks for reading!
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