Rimbey author Wanda Cline is thrilled to see her first children’s book – Dexter Learns Teamwork – come to fruition.
According to the synopsis, when Dexter’s fun-filled day of freedom is interrupted by an emergency, he and his animal friends must pull together and figure out how to solve a very serious problem.
“Bucky the deer has gotten stuck in Farmer Joe’s mud pond, and it’s deer-hunting season! But what could they do? A blue jay, a beaver … some field mice and squirrels? They’re too small to pull Bucky out of the mud! They’re too small to hide him from Farmer Joe! It’s a disaster! What they need is a plan, but who can come up with something fast enough? Who can help them learn how to work together fast enough to save their friend?”
As for Cline, a love for writing was sparked early in life.
“I was always interested in the literature parts of schooling when I was growing up,” she explained during a recent chat. “I always had these stories going on in my head, although I didn’t necessarily write them all down. But it was always my goal to write a book.”
In 2007 she wrote Dexter Learns Teamwork. “I actually wrote two stories around the same time. I didn’t do anything with it at the time, and people kept saying, ‘Well, why don’t you get it published!’
At the time she was writing the stories, she was working in the school system as a family school wellness worker, so part of the inspiration for writing flowed from those experiences as well. “I wrote to help work with the kids,” she explained.
She recalls first reading the story to a group of kids in the library, and showing them a picture that she had drawn of Dexter as well.
She had also been thinking about topics that kids could often related to, and teamwork came to the forefront.
“The story just seemed to be there. I thought, I will put this on paper!”
These days, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she said the theme of the book is that much more relevant as well.
“If I was now reading it to a group of kids, I would talk to them about (the concept) of a team. Who is your first ‘team’? It’s your family. And your siblings, and school mates, sports teams.
“It’s also your own community, and the province and then Canada as a whole. In terms of COVID, we must work as a team to overcome this. It’s like the animals in the book who worked as a team to free Bucky from the pond,” she explained.
Looking ahead, Cline said she would like to pen an entire series of Dexter books. “I’d look at those things that we need to reinforce to kids – honesty, respect, and (issues around) bullying for example.”
She has other story ideas that she’d like to explore further as well, including a possible romance story.
As for what she loves about the writing process in general, Cline explained that it takes her to a new place.
“I’m right there – envisioning what is happening and what it is the characters are saying and what they look like,” she added with a chuckle.
According to her web site, with having earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba, Cline went on to work with children most of her life.
She worked for Child Protection and the education system, and she volunteered in a crisis center and on the youth justice board as well.
“She has also faced and overcome many challenges in her life, but through them all, her love of writing has been a constant source of hope and inspiration,” noted the web site.
“It is what fills my cup in life.”
Besides writing, Cline also loves being in nature, where she meditates and finds peace. She also enjoys painting, reading, gardening, antique hunting and refurbishing old things.
For more information about Wanda Cline, or to purchase a book, check out www.authorwandaycline.com.
Dexter Learns Teamwork is also available on Amazon.