Wendy L. Kitts
Categories: Female Authors - Anglophone Authors - Authors of Juvenile Fiction; - Southeast
I was born in Moncton but moved to Northern Ontario when I was four. My family returned to Moncton shortly after my eighth birthday and I grew up in downtown Moncton in the late 60s, early 70s.
Downtown Moncton was a great place to live with the YMCA and the library as part of our neighbourhood. Every Saturday, my siblings and I would go to the library and spend hours choosing books. We'd each walk home with stacks well over our heads. We'd devour them and go back the next week for more.
I graduated from Moncton High School and spent two years in Fredericton at University of New Brunswick. Although I spent my 20s in Toronto and my 30s in Halifax, I always yearned to be back in Moncton where you could be immersed in the sea in less than twenty minutes.
I returned to Moncton at the age of 40 and started writing as a way to support myself after a car accident stripped me of my ability to work in my former occupation of accounting.
New Brunswick gave me my writing start. My first published article was with the New Brunswick Reader (the Telegraph Journal) - a relationship that lasted seven years and was responsible not only for me honing my writing skills, but also igniting my love of children's literature as the weekly children's book reviewer for several years.
I went on to publish in magazines such as Reader's Digest, More, Saltscapes, the Globe & Mail, and most recently, some US magazines. In the last 14 years, I've published over 200 articles, written for both government and business, and was included in an anthology before my attention turned to books - particularly children's books. In 2011, I published my first children's book, Sable Island: The Wandering Sandbar.
I love to go to schools and libraries and talk to kids about writing - letting them know it is possible to have a career doing something creative. I never had any examples of people writing or doing art for a living when I was growing up. I never knew it was possible until I had no other options.
And I continue to be inspired by the ocean. I vowed never to live inland again (I feel like a fish out of water), and to be within walking distance year-round to the ocean. Today, I split my time between Caissie Cape, New Brunswick and Mission Beach, California.
How has New Brunswick influenced your work?
I think the question is rather, how New Brunswick could not influence my work. I was born and (for the most part), raised, here.
What is your favourite New Brunswick book, and why?
There are too many New Brunswick books and authors I love to choose just one, but I've always been inspired by Sheree Fitch's career. To know someone else from New Brunswick - from Moncton, actually - was doing successfully what I was aspiring to do, has been as encouraging as Sheree herself.
Other New Brunswick children's book authors who have encouraged me along the way (and whose books I adore) have been Darlene Ryan, Valerie Sherrard and Cathy Brown Murphy. There are more, I am certain, and I apologize to any I have not mentioned.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
Going to Sable Island, which resulted in me writing my first children's book, has been the highlight of my writing career so far.
I'd wanted to go to Sable Island since I was five or six years-old when I saw a grainy black & white news story about the island on CBC (I think the only channel we got in Northern Ontario).
It was also a dream of mine to write a children's book. So I checked two life-long dreams off my list with one trip!
|Nomination - Golden Oak Award, Ontario Library Association - 2013||In recognition of: Sable Island: the wandering sandbar|
|Nomination - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association - 2013||In recognition of: Sable Island: the wandering sandbar|
|Nomination - Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award - 2013||In recognition of: Sable Island: the wandering sandbar|
|Nomination - Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award - 2012||In recognition of: Sable Island: the wandering sandbar|
Sable Island: The Wandering Sandbar