Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Haunted Halloween with Sue Fliess

The poetically prolific author Sue Fliess has a new book just perfect for young Halloween lovers. We thought this would be the perfect time for another interview with her!

Since this is our second interview with you we are going to dive a little deeper into your life as a writer! What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you as an author?
Once I was doing a reading at a bookstore, and when I was done and taking questions from the kids, this one 7-yr old boy asked me if I wrote the book. I said “Yes,” and he looked very puzzled. Then he said, “But, are you alive?” Turns out, he was under the impression that authors are usually dead. So, lucky me, I was the first ‘alive’ author he’d ever met!

Do you prefer to create your stories on paper or on the computer?
Well, actually, I create them in my head first! If they seem like they actually make sense, then depending on where I am, I either type them on my computer, or I might send myself an email with the idea or just jot it down on a small notebook I keep in my purse, for exactly that reason.

You have written two books about Halloween. Why?
I absolutely love Halloween! I own several wigs and costumes and usually go all out on Halloween with decorations. My first Halloween book, Goblin Hood was inspired by my son, who at the time, could not pronounce bow and arrow – he said ‘bone and arrow.’ I immediately asked the question: What type of creature would use that? My brain made a Robin Hood connection, and a creature/goblin character came to mind, and it just fit! For Haunted Halloween, which is my new board book, I wanted to write a very young Halloween story, and I remember trying to challenge myself to use as few words as possible. Believe it or not, I wrote it before I wrote Goblin Hood, which came out in 2016. Sometimes that’s just how it happens. I thought it would be fun to add a counting element to the story of 5 trick-or-treaters, and thankfully it worked!

We love your board book, HAUNTED HALLOWEEN. What’s your favorite page and why?
My favorite page is for the number 8. Eight gargoyles. Cauldron boils. I think I should get a ribbon for getting ‘gargoyle’ in a rhyming picture book, ha!

Tell us about one of your Halloween costumes from your childhood.
I was Casper, the friendly ghost and my sister was Minnie Mouse!

What’s your next book to be released?
My next book is already out, so I’ll tell you about both that one and the one coming in January. Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins (another holiday book!), illustrated by Mark Chambers and published by Amazon/Two Lions Press, came out September 18. It’s about Santa getting a sniffle and deciding to call off Christmas. But Mrs. Claus says she’ll take over the job for the night. It’s fun and funny, and the illustrations are adorable.

Santa says,
“I’m stuffy. I’m sneezy. I’m slow as a yeti.
My big ho-ho-ho isn’t holiday-ready.
We must cancel Christmas, oh what a disgrace.”

Mrs. Claus answers:
“I have a solution. I’ll go in your place!”

And in January, I have a rhyming picture book coming from Running Press Kids called Ninja Camp, illustrated by Jen Taylor. In Ninja Camp, a diverse group of girls and boys attend a ninja camp, where they hope to become Ninjas of the Night. As they learn new skills, they are challenged by the rival camp, Ninjas of the Dawn, and must defend their camp’s Shadow Blade. I’m happy to tell you that even though they lose the Shadow Blade briefly, they get it back and become official ninjas as a team.

Do you have a special snack or drink you like to have while writing?
Coffee. Oh, and coffee.

What are you working on right now?
I am working on two stories. A build-upon picture book based on a famous nursery rhyme, and a new—wait for it—holiday book that I’m under contract for that will be out fall of 2019.

How does your dog, Charlie, play a role in your daily writing routine?
He’s my rock. My support system. Okay, that’s not totally true. But he is my faithful housemate while I’m writing. Sometimes I will bounce ideas off of him, and he wags in approval. That said, he did inspire a book that I wrote earlier this year about a boy and his dog as they grow up together, that I’m really hoping will find the right home. It’s like nothing I’ve ever written before.

Out of all of your books, which one do you like the best? Why?
Oh, gosh, this is a tough question! Right now I have 2 favorites, but if you ask me next year, it will likely change: Mary Had a Little Lab and Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins. I think all the women-empowerment activity going on has catapulted them into the lead, and also inspired my writing.

Thank you so much for "hanging out" with us today!!!

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