Donna M. Maguire is the author of the Silly Willy Winston series. Angelina has reviewed three of the books and those reviews can be found at the following:
Interview Conducted by:
What inspired you to write?
My grand babies and my Basset Hound Winston were my greatest inspiration. I just lost my nephew, who I raised as my own, and was feeling pretty bad. His brother told me to pack up and leave Pennsylvania and come to Nevada. He told me I would be doing him a favor by caring for his babies. They were just 20 months and 5 months at the time. So I packed everything into my little car and Winston (he was a baby himself then at just 5 months at the time) came to Nevada.
I always loved reading, especially to children, so reading was a big part of what we did together. I loved watching their expressions as the characters from the stories came to life. One day I thought about how they loved stories and how they loved Winston. I had always wanted to write children’s books so I thought, why not write stories for Olivia and Aiden based on Winston. I had the perfect name, one I call him all the time. “Silly Willy Winston,” so I just started writing and having fun illustrating Winston.
You see I wasn’t really taking care of the babies they were taking care of me.
What age were you when you started writing?
I have written for as long as I can remember but not stories and books. I wrote in my journal and then I wrote marketing and advertising for more than 30 years. It wasn’t until early in 2015 that I started writing children’s books.
Are you writing another book?
I am very close to publishing the fifth book in the Silly Willy Winston Children’s Book Series. In this book, Silly Willy Winston is a pirate. He takes his hearty Aiden on a piratical adventure in which they discover a shipwreck in the Mojave Desert and a pyramid under the sea. Scientist cannot say for certain that the pyramid be of this thar earth or not. Both true facts.
I also have three more ideas for books in my head just dying to get down on paper. One is a case in which Inspector Snout learns how animals that seem to disappear aren’t really gone. The second is where Explorer Snout finds cultures that are very old, but little known in far away places. Pirate Snout is destined to explore legends of the seas.
Do you think your book could be turned into a movie?
I think Silly Willy Winston is adorable, but I am not really objective. I think he provides a strong positive role model. Through his actions we learn to love ourselves, to help others and to follow our natural curiosity to better understand and care about the world we live in and every one and everything that we share it with. For all of these reasons I think he might make a pretty good cartoon character.
Where do you write (i.e. office, library, park, etc.)?
My ideas come to me in all kinds of places, usually outside when I am enjoying nature, especially when I am with my grand babies. The actually writing and illustrating is done in my home office.
Do any of your siblings like to write, if you have any?
I had a sister who I loved and miss very much. I see her all the time in her three boys and now the grand babies. I have another sister who I adore in Pennsylvania. That sister is an athlete, she was a sponsored speed skater and now is a coach. I have an older brother who I am very close to. He lives in Florida and gets the greatest joy from fishing. Isn’t funny who four children can be raised in the same family and be so very different. I think that is a strong endorsement for my parents who raised us all to be independent and follow our true paths in life.
Did your mom and dad like to write when you were a kid? now?
Neither of my parents were writers. I lost my father when I was sixteen and my mother when I was 37. I see them both in my siblings, my daughter, my nephews and my grand babies.
Would you read your books over and over again? why or why not?
I wouldn’t read adult books over and over again, but children’s books are a different story. Even though children’s books have less words you can find something new each time you read them based on who you are reading them to. I am Dr. Seuss’ biggest fan.
Any other interesting info/facts about you?
I had a cousin who was a priest and did missionary work in Ethiopia. I had a great aunt who was a nun and the sweetest 4’11” woman you would ever want to meet. I don’t think I ever heard her raise her voice or utter an unkind word. I have two aunts who are also nuns. When I was growing up they wore habits that covered them virtually from head to toe. One day we came home and there were these two women in our pool. It was my aunts but I didn’t recognize them without their habits. They were elementary school teachers (since retired – yes nuns retire). They read all my books and they share them with the third grade classes just to keep me honest. If you ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was a nun.
Thank you for your time and support Ms. Maguire!