Dani: Tell us a little bit about your writing journey.
Sue: I dived into fiction as a child, but I didn't write until several years later. First, I was a storyteller, sharing my imaginary characters and plots with anyone who would listen. Soon I became hooked on creating my very own adventures and the idea of actually being an author. I jumped into writing like a duck into water. The story ninja—that was me! Hey, that’s a good title for a book! I wrote about anything that popped into my mind while reading everything I could get my hands on to learn more about the craft of writing children’s books.
Today nothing has changed. My days and nights are consumed with reading, writing and learning that’s why I recently became interested in writing nonfiction picture books. I read an article by Kristen Fulton who had just formed an online group on Facebook called WOW. After joining the group, I became even more excited about the genre, and so I signed up for one of her fabulous classes—and I’m so glad I did. Kristen is very personable and eager to share her knowledge. Her Nonfiction Archaeology class proved to be more than I expected. I’m still learning from that class. Find more about Kristen and Nonfiction here: http://www.kristenfulton.org/
Now I love nonfiction so much, I don’t want to write anything else!
My historical nonfiction picture book RUN! RUN! RUN! won honorable mention in a writing contest athttp://www.RateYourStory.com.
Dani: Do you prefer sand or snow?
Sue: I love them both. Sandy beaches are fabulous, digging my toes into the sand inspires my inner writer like crazy. On the other hand, my imagination goes wild when icy snow flakes tickle my nose. I love nature and the outdoors. A walk in the woods, a thunder storm or black rolling ocean waves, cause me to write like a Mad Hatter.
Dani: Tell us a bit about your Black Hen Holiday Contest win!
Sue: Oh, thanks so much for mentioning my contest win—it was my first time! I've always been fascinated with art, and I love to draw (mostly doodles). So when I heard about the contest, I knew I had to enter. At first, I was unsure of which way to go with the art. The directions were simple, but they wanted a Christmas hen, and I figured most of the contestants would probably be drawing the hen with Christmas lights, trees, etc. I had to focus. I grabbed a pad and pencil and drew several pages of thumbnail sized hens. This took several days. When I drew one that I felt good about, I drew a larger picture and copied it to my computer to color digitally. After that, I saved the file and sent it as an attachment to Hen & Ink.
Several weeks later, I received an email from Erzi Deak. I took a deep breath and clicked on the email. I expected the worst after years of rejections. I read the first sentence. I read the second sentence. I quickly skimmed through the complete letter. SHE LOVED MY SKATING HEN WITH THE BERET! I read it again and again in disbelief. But it was true. I ran through the hallway and told my family. I. Did. The. Happy. Dance!
I was both surprised and grateful when my little hen was picked as the winner by Erzi Keak at Hen & Ink Literary Studio!
Take a look here: http://henandink.com/news.html.
Dani: Your yoga cat book is so cute, what inspired you to write this?
Sue: Thanks for taking a look at my yoga cat, Dani! It was definitely the art that set my writing wheel in motion! A couple of years ago, I joined a fabulously fun website called Storybird at http://www.storybird where a large group of artists share their beautiful illustrations with writers to produce stories for children.
One day while scanning through page after page of Storybird art, I saw a collection of cat illustrations and fell in love with them. The words to the story begin to flow as I looked at each illustration. This one was definitely a rhymer. I couldn't imagine it any other way.
Thanks to all the wonderful artists at Storybird, I've written several stories, most all of them rhyming.
Dani: What are some of the challenges you are facing in your writing career?
Sue: I can’t imagine anything about writing being a challenge but there is one thing that bothers me and every other write--the submission process. I think most authors will agree that the long waits between submitting and hearing back from agents is grueling. Waiting drives me daffy, but instead of twiddling my thumbs between submissions, I work on new projects, do revisions and read.
Dani: What are you working on now?
Sue: I have finished three new nonfiction picture books and many more on the table. As I think about new plots and characters, I use my free time to sketch--the drawing process helps me organize my thoughts and provides new ideas for other stories. I have several art projects in the works, one for an Alice in Wonderland anthology, one for mermaids and one for a SCBWI contest. I'm also working on two sets of nonfiction series picture books that I am very excited about.
Dani: What is your goal for this year?
Sue: This year I’ll write at least seven new nonfiction picture books, enter more writing and illustrating contests and keep up my author’s blog. Then in my spare time, I’ll scribble in my notebook to keep a record of every quirky title, funny plot, loveable character or new storyline that pops into my mind wherever I may go.
Learn more about Sue Frye, her books and her art at: