Interview with Author Lisa K. Winkler

Lisa K. Winkler is an author who has worked as a journalist and educator, and has always loved to write. In addition to writing, she loves yoga, cycling, knitting, cooking, and being a grandmother. Readers can connect with Ms. Winkler through her Website, Blog, and Facebook

This year she self-published two picture books that she's been working on for many years. Each has been vetted through various writing workshops, including a children's book writing workshop sponsored by a local chapter of Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

Amanda at Bat (based on true events) tells how Amanda, a first grader eagerly anticipating playing t-ball, never gets to play based on the coach's batting orders. She creatively addresses her problem and suggests ways the coach can change the batting order, allowing her to take her place at bat. Ms. Winkler has included reader discussion questions at the end that deal with the issue of fairness and engage readers in problem solving.

Clara & Her Nutcracker is a retelling of the famous ballet story in verse. It's magically illustrated by Ryan Durney who captures the beauty of Christmas with the fantasy world of the Nutcracker and is the perfect gift for any young ballerina!

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I loved writing since I was in elementary school and wrote a short story in 3rd grade. I think my mother still has it!

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

I began both picture books decades ago when my daughter was about 4 or so. She was short, born in December and has a last name at the end of the alphabet and I remember her t-ball coach assigning batting orders that didn’t always allow her at turn at bat. Hence, Amanda at Bat. Likewise, my daughter took dance lessons as a young girl and I dutifully brought her every year to Nutcracker performances, something I loved also as a child.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?

Researching On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America was the most fascinating, rewarding process. I loved the reading and then being able to apply my learning about not only African American history, but US geology, geography and cultures to writing the narrative.

Where do you go to do your research?

I use my local library and the staff there has been very helpful obtaining titles I may need from other libraries around the state. I also use the Internet.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

Advice for beginning writers? Read, write. A lot. Keep at it and don’t get discouraged. If you opt to try to be represented by a publishing house, it can be a long haul. If you choose to self-publish, like I did, you get your books but then all marketing falls upon you.

Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

I don’t really have one favorite contemporary author. I love taking out lots of books from the new fiction shelves in the library and trying out different authors and titles.

Right now, I’m reading Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth.

What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?

I wish I could say I had a strict schedule. I don’t. If I’m really engaged in a project, I’ll be up early and at the computer. Then I’ll go back to it during the day or evening. I like to let writing sit a bit to percolate. I keep a pad and pen on my night table in case I get an idea during the night. That all said, I’m more a morning person than an afternoon or evening, so try to get some good work done before lunch.

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