Ask a Children’s Author – Wenda Shurety

Raised in Norfolk England, now living in Brisbane, our next author is Wenda Shurety who has been a research scientist, is a dedicated mum and a passionate writer. I was drawn to Wenda’s beautiful smile and gentle accent, her picture books embracing the magical world, diversity and friendship. Wenda would agree that she is a visual person so sees a room in a house or a garden in the backyard perceptively. I love her questions like, ‘Was there a scary creature guarding the treasure?’ from Eva’s Imagination. Welcome, Wenda.

Author Wenda Shurety

What makes a story shine for you? Where does your inspiration come from?

A story shines when it evokes an emotional reaction, much like a piece of art on a wall. My inspiration mostly comes from imaginary games I used to play during my childhood. Eva’s Imagination and Backyard Magic are based on games I played with my sisters. We didn’t have a TV in the house until I was a teenager, so we spent hours entertaining ourselves by making up games and putting on shows.

2    What have you learnt about yourself as a writer for children?

That I have a creative side to me! I studied for many years to become a research scientist in cell biology and worked at the University of Queensland for eleven years. I never imagined I would become a children’s author.

3    Wenda, tell us about your picture book, The Last Seaweed Pie. What is its appeal?

The Seaple live in the ocean, and the Treeple live in the jungle. When the Treeple start to throw their waste in the sea, the two worlds collide. Then a young Treeple has an idea . . . 

The Last Seaweed Pie gently introduces how groups can benefit and work together to support our environment and that we can all make a difference by recycling, reducing and reusing waste.

4. Can you describe the story of Tilly and Backyard Magic. What style of illustration features in this book?

Tilly wonders what to do when the TV is turned off. A whole new world is opened up for her when a little bird helps her discover the magic of the backyard.

The exquisite illustrations are drawn by the UK illustrator Harriet Hobday, who was long-listed for the prestigious Klaus Flugge Prize for her artwork in Backyard Magic.

5    Where do you find the most relaxing place to write? Why?

I’m the most relaxed in my study, surrounded by my fur babies. I have a beautiful view of the garden, often the inspiration for many of my nature stories.

6    Loving language is essential for an author. Do you have any favourite words? A famous picture story from childhood?

My favourite word is ‘discombobulated’.  I love the way the word rolls around your mouth.

I loved Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted forest/The Magic Faraway Tree books as a child. These fantasy places were catalysts for many ‘let’s pretend games with my sisters.

7.  Have there been challenges for you in writing for children?

Yes, there have been a few, but whenever they occur, I always remind myself of my ‘why’. There’s nothing better than reading one of my stories to school children and seeing their smiling faces looking up at me.

8.   Remembering back to your childhood, how did imagination play out growing up?

Imaginative play was a massive part of my childhood. Along with our neighbourhood friends, my sisters and I would spend hours making up games and ‘let’s pretend’ scenarios. Like Enid Blyton’s The Magic faraway Tree, we would travel to toy-land or lolly-land.

New Release
Marg Gibbs holding Pear of Hope by Wenda Shurety is exquisitely crafted. Illustrated by Deb Hudson

Thanks, Wenda for your contribution, skill as a writer and insight into your creative world. I hope dear readers you can find Wenda’s books, read them and savour the inspirational themes. Sharing the stories is what Wenda would love.

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Leave a Comment


June 7, 2022 at 5:59 am

What a wonderful interview. Thank you. 😊

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M.J. Gibbs
June 8, 2022 at 1:41 am

Yes, it’s always exciting to hear what creative people have to say.

Debra Tidball
June 9, 2022 at 7:58 am

Great interview, Marg and Wenda. Congratulations on your beautiful books, Wenda – and ‘Discombobulated’ is one of my favourite words too 🙂

Michel Deverall
July 4, 2022 at 2:15 am

Lovely interview Wenda.

M.J. Gibbs
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