Award winning author, Suzanne Slade
on her award winning title...
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
I've been a full-time writer for 17 years
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WRITING?
When my children were very young I began reading them stacks of picture books every day and fell back in love with picture books. Those special reading times with my children led me to begin writing children's books.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE, The Great Divide?
My other math titles with animal themes had been very popular with schools and parents, and had won a few awards, so I decided to write a division book which became THE GREAT DIVIDE. I got the idea to include cool animal group names (such as a bale of turtles, a charm of hummingbirds, a smack of jellyfish, and a crash of rhinos) when the librarian of a school I was visiting gave me a bookmark with animal group names.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
I've written over 90 books for children with nine different publishers (all published since 2006.) You can find a list of the titles on my website "Book Page".
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK:
My newest picture book, THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT, released this past summer and is a 2012 Junior Library Guild Selection. My next picture book, SUSAN & FREDERICK, comes out in 2014. The illustrator for that title was just selected last week, so I'm very excited!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:
I grew up in the small town of Goshen, IN (which is surrounded by the third largest Amish community in the country.) In school, math and science were my favorite classes. Now I live in a suburb outside Chicago with my husband of 25 years, Mike. My daughter started college this year and my son leaves for college next year, so we are soon to be "empty-nesters."
TELL US SOMETHING FUN/INTERESTING THAT OUR READERS MIGHT FIND FASCINATING ABOUT YOU:
Readers are often surprised when I tell them I have a mechanical engineering degree and used to test Delta IV rockets and design brake components in my engineering days. I think I'll always be a nerd at heart!
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I enjoy rollerblading at a large park near my home and admiring its beautiful ponds and wildlife. I also walk my tiny dog, Corduroy, every day.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW/MOVIE?
Quite honestly, I don't watch a whole lot of TV. Lately, my husband and I have been watching documentaries about past presidents on DVDs I check out from the library.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN AUTHOR?
One of my biggest challenges is to decide which story idea to work on next. I have many ideas, but only so many writing hours each week. The trick is to determine which ideas have the most potential and will interest readers and publishers.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
I definitely recommend joining SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators.) It's the best place for people who want to write children’s books. I also recommend taking writing classes and attending writing conferences. It’s extremely helpful for aspiring authors to find other writers who are interested in the same genre, so they can read each others’ work and provide helpful feedback. My writer friends are invaluable to me, not only for manuscript critiques, but also for encouragement when rejection letters arrive. I’ve heard that most children’s book publishers will publish less than one percent of the manuscripts they receive. So it’s easy to see why good writing friends are essential when the going gets tough, and it’s fun to celebrate a new book contract with your writing friends too!
CAN YOU OFFER ANY TIPS ON GETTING PUBLISHED?
My main advice for getting published is to keep working on your writing. I see many writers who focus so much time and energy on researching and submitting to editors and agents, that they end up spending too little time on the craft of writing. From what I've seen, exceptionally written stories find their way out of editor slush piles and get published.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Readers can learn about more about me, my other math titles (WHAT'S NEW AT THE ZOO?, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?, AND MULTIPLY ON THE FLY), and find more tips for aspiring writers on my website at www.suzanneslade.com.
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