Native Publishes First in a Series of Lava-ly Children's
By Susan M. Vertullo
When she was a little, girl,
Martha Wilson's father told her a joke: "What
did the boy volcano say to the girl volcano? I LAVA
The joke instantly became eight-year-old Martha's
favorite, and eventually, the inspiration for her
career in art and writing. "That joke has shaped
my whole life," she exclaims with a laugh.
Always creative, Wilson has known since the fourth
grade that she would pursue a career in art. As
a child, she made up stories to accompany her drawings,
many of which featured cartoon-like, happy volcanoes.
Years later, this theme also surfaced during her
studies at Old Dominion University, where Wilson
earned a Bachelor's degree in studio art.
"One of my assignments was to create a bust
out of clay," she explains. "Somehow,
mine became a laughing volcano."
After college, Wilson spent nearly two decades in
California, where she established her aptly named
Laughing Volcano Art Studio. Wilson's art, often
described as whimsical and happy, features smiling
characters with large noses and willowy bodies.
Wilson's career has been immensely rewarding, but
she still had those characters and stories from
childhood dancing in her mind.
Wilson returned to Coastal Virginia in 2013, and
was determined to put her stories and art into not
one, but a series of children's books. While working
on her books, she continued to paint and sell art.
She was commissioned to paint the art displayed
on eight lifeguard deck boxes at the Virginia Beach
Oceanfront, and has participated in numerous art
shows at local galleries. Wilson also engaged
the local arts community as founding member of Virginia
Art with Heart, a nonprofit that creates fundraising
events to benefit other charitable organizations
through the sale of local art.
Wilson is also a member of the Society of Children's
Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). This nonprofit
organization strives to increase the quality and
quantity of children's books in the marketplace,
and acts as a consolidated voice for writers and
illustrators of children's books worldwide. SCBWI
and Virginia Art with Heart have been sources of
encouragement in pursuing her dream to write and
After four years and countless revisions, What Is
The Laughing Volcano? was released in February,
2017. Wilson's first book shares the heartwarming
story of two volcanoes that meet and fall in love.
Although written and illustrated for children, the
book appeals to all ages. A well-attended book launch
party at Colley Cantina in Norfolk coincided with
the author's birthday.
Since launching What Is The Laughing Volcano?, Wilson
has also released a companion coloring book, The
Laughing Volcano with Ant Martha and her Colony
of Friends. Later this spring, Wilson plans to release
another children's book, Who Are the Nose People?
Wilson says she is excited and encouraged by the
initial sales of her first book, "And, to think,
it all started with a joke."
For information about Martha Wilson's art and books,