WHY I WRITE
The desire to put words on paper has been a part of my life for so long, I can't not write. I'm totally hooked on the magic of creating--where I can sit down with a blank screen or a blank paper and watch a story grow from an initial spark of an idea that's been fighting to find light in the darkness.
Okay. Maybe that was a bit deep. But it's kind of true, and since I hold a masters degree in science along with lots of adventures in the outdoors, I lean toward content that will inspire readers to step outside and explore their world.
Overall, my goal is to leave readers with a lighter, brighter heart after they've spent time with my characters. And because I love the feel of laughter rippling through my soul as much as anyone else, I feel extra sparkly when my stories pivot on humor.
5 FUN FACTS +1
1. Shaunda can boast of spending one night in a "reptile room" with about 30 snakes and lizards. Some of their cages were kept under the bed. Note: it doesn't say she "slept." Yikes!
2. Her favorite dessert is New York Style Cheesecake. She once used a recipe from memory to teach a concept in chemistry, and students raved about it. The recipe, that is. Not the lesson!
3. When she was 18, she competed against the future, Olympic multi-gold medalist, Jenny Thompson, and even though Shaunda swam the best race of her life--she still lost.
4. She embarrasses family members by taking pictures of plants at the zoo.
5. As a graduate student, she took over 40 solo backpacking trips in Rocky Mountain National Park for projects found at elevations as high as 11,700 feet. One trip up Mt. Meeker "just for fun" ended in a narrow escape from a thunderstorm at 13,800 feet.
+1. Has she mentioned she's afraid of heights? Yep. So far, she hasn't conquered this fear. A few years ago Hayden's Peak in Utah (12,479 ft) had her shaking in her boots for the whole climb. Because that's what it was--more of a climb than a hike.
So here's a question: Does she believe she'll ever get over it?
Her answer: Doesn't matter so long as I keep going back out. And up.
Mar 2022 at Helen H Wu, Publisher, Editor, Author
Jan 2022 at ABC 4 Good Things Utah TV
Nov 2021 at Hollie Wolverton.com
Nov 2021 at LauraRoetiggerBooks.com
Oct 2021 at Dawn Prochovnic's Birth Stories for Books
Oct 2021 at Maria Marshall's Picture Book Buzz
Oct 2021 at CritterLit.com with Lindsay Ward
Sept 2021 at Andrew Hackett's The Backstory
Apr 2021 at OneForTheBooks.wixsite.com/blog
Mar 2021 at GoodReadsWithRonna
Nov 2020 at 24 Carrot Writing with Amanda Smith
BACKGROUND and BOOKS
SK Wenger has been in love with books her entire life. Even while working on her science degree, her mind drifted to stories waiting to be read. When she confessed to her college advisor that she wanted to create children's books, he encouraged her to do both--continue with science and write. To her delight, some of her stories were picked up by educational publishers and have been serving kids in elementary classrooms. She also pursued collaborative projects with authors Rick Walton, Jim Fergus, and Janet Kay Jensen, and one of those books found its way into print as a literary cookbook.
Fast forward to the present. After raising a family and moving through three careers, Shaunda is thrilled that her debut picture book, Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! was published by Albert Whitman & Co for the international market in October 2021. It is illustrated by Jojo Ensslin.
In Jan 2022 she entered a new partnership. Her literary work is now represented by Stacey Kondla at The Rights Factory.
RECENT AWARDS / RECOGNITION
2021 #50PreciousWords Contest Honorable Mention in Friendship for ONE PLUS ONE (entry #660). Hosted by Vivian Kirkfield. Click here.
2021 PBParty Finalist. RAILROAD CAKE is selected from a pool of 1,000+ entries as one of 50 manuscripts for an exclusive showcase to agents and editors.
2020 Writing Fellowship Grant Award. Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (for Middle Grade Novel WIP, Loon Song Harbor)
2020 #50PreciousWords Contest Honorable Mention in Humor for WEARY ROOSTER. Hosted by Vivian Kirkfield.
2018 Outstanding Teacher Award, Weber State University, Mentorship of student research projects at the High School Science and Engineering Fair
2017 Outstanding Biology Educator, Utah Science Teachers Association
2017 Outstanding Educator, Logan High School
B.S. Self-designed major in environmental and social sciences. University of Vermont.
M.S. Fisheries and wildlife biology with a focus on wetland ecology. Colorado State University.
Teaching license in secondary education. ABCTE and ARL programs, Utah.