Monday, February 26, 2007

Today is Author Q&A Day and I'm posting a Q&A with Wendy Lyons Sunshine, author of The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family. Please bear with sporadic posts this week. As many of you know, I lost my mother on Friday and I'm not feeling very creative or snarky at the moment.

Tell us about yourself: I’m a full-time freelance writer based in the Dallas area who focuses on health, environment, and more. This is my dream job -- I get to learn so much, and share what I’ve found with others.

Tell us about your book: The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family (McGraw-Hill) was written to help parents become healers for their at-risk and adopted children. The book is presented in a warm and supportive, parent-friendly format, yet based on solid research findings. The approach is multidisciplinary, addressing everything from behavioral interventions to nutritional support to the importance of touch, and even how parents own attachment styles affect family bonding. It can help parents become a detective about what’s really behind their child’s difficult behavior – for example, sometimes ADHD is confused with the symptoms of a fear reaction.

How did you become interested in this subject? I’ve always been interested in healthy families, and when I was assigned to profile my co-authors for a local newspaper, their personal commitment to helping children impressed me tremendously. I was delighted when they invited me to help them write their first book (it became my first book project, as well!).

As a writer, how did you build your platform in your expertise? You said you got endorsements on the book before its release. How did you do that? The Connected Child is a fortunate collaboration in many ways. My co-authors bring more than twenty years of subject expertise and professional contacts to the project, while I bring professional writing skills. They approached several colleagues for endorsements, and I assisted by approaching writer acquaintances.

How did you find your agent and publisher? On, I searched for agents with a good record of selling parenting books. Then I sent a targeted pitch to a handful. A few asked for the full proposal. We went with the agent who expressed passion for the project, and a great caring for at-risk children (Gina Panettieri at Talcott Notch Literary Agency). She sold the book quickly – in fact she got two publishers bidding against each other, and we went with the larger one.

What made you want to write this book? I resonated with the respectful, caring attitude of my co-authors, and felt they have a special gift for helping families. I’ve seen them reach children who have been considered untreatable. I consider it a privilege to help them share their insights.

Are there particular challenges to writing a book on such a sensitive topic? The bigger challenge, really, was to avoid heavy academic-speak, especially when referencing research studies. We wanted this book to be both credible *and* accessible to any parent interested in the topic.

What advice would you give to writers wanting to develop a book in a particular subject, especially with regards to parenting? From the perspective of a collaborator – I’d want a co-author with an established and respected track record in the field. As far as the manuscript, you want to address the parents’ (ie, readers’) concerns most of all. Help them feel you are supporting and empowering them to have more joyful family relationships.

Any other advice for writers? Keep developing your writing skills so you are prepared to take advantage of opportunities that crop up. Pursue what interests you deeply, especially for a book-length project.

When and where will your book be available and what is your next project? The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine will be released by McGraw-Hill in U.S. and U.K. bookstores shortly. You can order it online now, and should receive it in early March. Learn more about it at
Currently, I’m helping a retired public figure write his autobiography. I also continue to write articles for magazines, newspapers, and websites. You’re welcome to visit for more about me.


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