It's always excited to see local professionals attempting to leave their mark across different channels. Today's interview is with Angie Wyatt, lead anchor for WSIL Tv-3 and her story about trying to create a kid's book.
1. First, start by telling us a little about your upbringing. Born and raised?
Born and raised in – Opp, Alabama- (population 2,000) – the town is located in Southeast Alabama, I'm the oldest of 3 girls. My family members are loving – we're close knit – and still work to get together monthly or every few months despite living hundreds of miles away from one another.
2. What got you interested into reporting the news?
At the ripe age of 15, I was given the opportunity to DJ at a local radio station WOPP-AM. I was enthralled at the possibility of being paid to *talk*, a gift of gab given to me by God. The station's owner told me at that time that there weren't a lot of females in the television news industry and that I should pursue the field in college.
I attended Troy (State) University (as it was named at the time). Much like SIUC, TSU has a TV station on campus- and provides a newscast via a cable channel Monday through Friday. Learning all aspects of the business, producing, shooting, writing, editing, anchoring; I landed my first *full-time* job in broadcasting two months after graduating- at WJHG in Panama City, FL- I was named weekend anchor.
15 years later, after working in Boston, Buffalo, reporting abroad in South America and Alaska; my husband, son, and I reside here in Southern Illinois. I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunities of interviewing well known figures, presidential candidates, celebrities; but it's the Mothers, the Fathers, the children; I've met/interviewed – been allowed to share their stories; who I will take with me always.
3. Any funny on air moments?
Tons of funny on air moments – (some we won't get into) – usually laughter that originates from being tired or stressed. I take my job very seriously, and contrary to the belief of some people who may say “Angie doesn't show any emotion in stories-” – The tragic stories leave me reeling, but my job as a broadcaster is not to interject my own beliefs/feelings but to allow- after presenting all sides- you the viewer to draw your own conclusions.
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4. At what point did you start thinking about writing a children’s book?
It wasn't thinking so much about writing a children's book – as it was – wanting to develop a cast of characters my child and others could connect with- to grow and learn from – that were rooted in agriculture.
5. What was the inspiration for Timmy The Tractor?
My husband and young son inspired me to write Timmy the Tractor: His Hay Day. From raising cattle, to making hay; to growing a crop- I find all aspects of farming to be fascinating. One of my son's first words was “tractor”- he had an instant attraction to machinery. After scouring the aisles of toy stores, I realized there wasn't much of a selection in the way of character type implements.
6. How has the book writing and publishing process gone?
The process has been a long , tiresome one- After working with a literary agent for some time, I soon discovered I could develop and market my idea better than anyone else. Approaching a number of publishers with ideas and development possibilities, it was Horizon Media Group in Paducah that took on the project and teamed with Paducah Printing for publication. Every other company wanted to outsource the work, but why do that when you can produce locally. Giving back to a community that has given so much to me is a concept I hold close to my heart.
7. What encouraging words could you offer any other mom’s looking to write a children’s book?
Don't be discouraged when doors aren't opening immediately. If it's a project/something you believe in, there is somebody out there who can help you attain your goals. Women are capable of doing so many wonderful things- often alone – so we tend to get frustrated when we can't make things happen when, where and how we would like to.
8. What does the future hold for Timmy The Tractor?
The book is published, a plush toy is being manufactured and will be here soon (on store shelves- the merchandise is also available by following the contact information at www.timmythetractor.com. MCED, a stage/theatre company in Murphysboro has partnered with Team Timmy to develop a performance featuring the adorable cast of full/life size puppets. Before too long, Timmy the Tractor, Manny the Mower, Ralph the Rake, & Bill the Baler will be performing a venue near you.
9. Any other book ideas on the horizon?
Once the stage performance is up and running (touring) , I would like to shoot/video a pilot and submit to a children's network (or an outlet such as PBS) for consideration. The idea is to one day have Timmy and his team on the small and big screens and yes featured in other publications.
Thanks to Angie for taking the time to interview! If interested, you can purchase the book here.