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Rising Stars: Meet Wendy Elliott of Independence

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Elliott.

Hi Wendy, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I grew up a shy girl in the suburbs of Kansas City on the Missouri side. I discovered my passion for writing at a very early age. I can recall writing short stories and sharing them with my dad, sitting on his lap in the oversized orange recliner that wouldn’t fit any decor these days. It was a product of the 80s. I think it was his encouragement and praise that instilled in me the confidence to continue writing. Fast forward a few years, around the age of thirteen, I attended the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey summer camp, where I remember first falling in love with the art of poetry. I spent the next 20 years or so exploring my passion for poetry and other writing techniques such as; songwriting, novels, and short stories.

I utilized writing as a tool for therapy and expression throughout my adolescence and early adulthood. During those pivotal years, when life challenges us and pushes us to our emotional limits, writing helped me cope and get through all the uncomfortable and undesirable moments that life threw my way. I am an optimist by nature, and I think that shines through in my writing. Even in the darkest of my poems, I always like to end things with a ray of hope. If there is one thing life has taught me, it’s that all dark tunnels have a light at the end.

It wasn’t until my mid-thirties, while raising my two youngest children, that I took an interest in writing stories specifically for children’s entertainment. I combined my life-long love of mythical and mysterious creatures and hopeful writing, and that’s how Sid the Sasquatch was born. Bigfoot has always been my favorite mythical creature, sitting just above my love for the fae. I likely fell in love with the furry beast while watching Harry and the Hendersons or perhaps even watching Chewbacca in the earliest Star Wars films from the 80s. In the 90s, my friends would even call me Chewbacca, thanks to my incredibly thick, long brown hair at the time. So it was inevitable that I would write a story about the elusive creature at some point.

I published my first children’s book, “Sid the Sasquatch” in 2016 after some persuasion from a dear friend. That friend gave me the push to take the leap and trust my talents. This brings us to today, nearly six years later. I am filled with the joy of seeing children worldwide reveling in Sid’s story every day.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
Life is full of many struggles and obstacles. I like to think of them as challenges that help us grow more robust so that we may help others after us and achieve our most significant purpose in this life. One of the things I remember when growing up in the 80s was the racist views of many in society, like thick overgrown weeds creating barriers between us. The “us vs. them” mentality is incredibly flawed. Although I was fortunate enough to be raised in a much more loving and accepting environment than what I witnessed from people I came into contact with outside of my home, racism was and is everywhere, and I struggled to understand why. Writing a story about the acceptance of diversity was important to me for this reason. We are all very different creatures, yet we are essentially the same at our core. I think we have to learn from our past mistakes and our ancestor’s mistakes and make right what we can, and also help guide our children and others to do better. I hope that “Sid the Sasquatch” instills a kindness and willingness to accept diversity most purely and embrace curiosity for its readers.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I like to think of myself as a “big kid” or a “kid at heart.” I am blessed with a right/left brain balance between the analytical/methodical and the artistic/creative sides. Having that balance allows me to support myself while I explore my creativity and wait for lightning to strike. IT enables me to find joy in working as a Global Payroll Manager for my primary profession while exploring my artistic and creative side through writing. I think it can be difficult for those who are more “right-brain” wired because creators and artists sometimes struggle to earn a living wage with their chosen craft

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I plan to publish more of Sid’s stories in the coming years, expanding on Sid’s brand and bringing joy to little ones here in KC and all over the globe. Sid will remain true to his character, a creature full of curiosity and willing to accept and learn from those he meets along his life’s journey.

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  • 11.95

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