On this blog, author Leanne (Willetts) Dyck reviews books, shares her short stories, offers online author readings, and comments on her author journey. Leanne writes for adults and children. Her long-term goal (five years) is to be published by a large, established publishing house. Her short goal (one year) is to earn one million page views for this blog. Please help nurture this blog by visiting and sharing.
I have always written.
When I was a child growing up on a prairie farm, I would make up stories
in my head. In grade three, my teacher
encouraged me to write my stories down.
She also encouraged me to travel and see the world. This special woman made a huge difference in
my life. Through the wonders of social
media, I was able to locate her a couple of years ago and thank her.
How did you become an author?
I became an author by writing short stories and sending them
out to contests and anthologies.
Writing short stories gave me good practice. Once I started to win prizes and had a couple of stories
published in anthologies, I gained confidence.
What was your first published piece?
I had my first article, called Stretch Your Food Dollar, published in a prairie newspaper when I
was twelve years old.
Where was it published?
It was published in The Winnipeg Free Press
How long ago?
Now that would be telling.
I can only say it was quite some time ago.
However, my first short story chosen for an anthology,
Country Roads, Memoirs from Rural Canada, called The Day Dief Came to Town, was published three years ago. Sometimes it takes a long time to become a
What did you do before embarking on your writing career?
Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I have worked in retail sales and human resources. I still work
full-time as an Employment Counsellor and part-time as an English as a Second
Language Teacher, and I write whenever I get a spare moment. Working with the public is a huge asset to
me as a writer, as people provide me with ideas everyday. I often tutor children in ESL. It’s great to
meet children from other cultures and learn from them.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my travels and by the interesting people I
What made you decide to write children’s books?
After returning from an amazing trip to the United Arab
Emirates, I decided to write about my experiences. The result was a bit boring and lacked the enthusiasm I felt
while there. So I started writing about
my experiences from the point of view of a twelve year old, tossing in an
adventure and some interesting characters which resulted in my first book, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask,
published in 2010. I was happy with the
result and realized Amanda wanted to continue to travel so I wrote Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting
(2011) and Amanda in England – The
Missing Novel (2012) I love writing for children, perhaps I have never
grown up myself.
Please share one of your successful author platform
Once I had my first book published I became very active on
social media sites such as Face Book, Twitter and LinkedIn. I made sure I had a professional profile and
made great connections. I also started
a blog which I believe has been the most successful platform builder of
all. I have met the most amazing
individuals through my blog who have provided much encouragement. It keeps me
writing and has connected me to the
world of writers and readers.
When I was a child I dreamt of travelling to interesting
places. I also dreamt of becoming a
published author. Many times these
dreams seemed out of reach but I persevered.
It took awhile but my dreams came true. So my parting word to people of
all ages is, never give up on your dreams!
is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of
kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It's her own fault really,
she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last
birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on
the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A
world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join
Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume