Tell us something about yourself:
This is such a nice opportunity for me to be interviewed for your blog, thanks very much. I’m a musician in Houston, Texas, retired after teaching voice and piano for quite a few years. I have recently been a church choir director, and do quite a lot of accompanying of singers and instrumentalists. During my years of teaching I composed and arranged music for my students and colleagues. Four years ago I established a small business creating custom lullabies and play song for babies and children. My web site is www.lullabiesbysuzanne.com. I compose the music and write the poetry for the songs.
Each week I play as pianist with a small group of string players for fun.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and my husband Stuart and I have three grown sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We live with our dogs, Laura and Diana, each of whom has her own special song copyrighted.
How did you come to write ‘Too Too Many Tutus”?
‘Tutus’ came about when our granddaughter Christina had trouble choosing a tutu to wear for her ballet class one day. I have long written a variety of stories for our children, which they enjoy. A friend, artist Marj Hales, read the story and enjoyed it. The next thing I knew, she had gone to the library to research ballet positions, and produced some gorgeous paintings of little girl ballerinas. Her illustrations are so lovely that I felt we should create a book. It has proven to be rather popular with little girls and their parents and grandparents.
‘Donner the Western Dragon’ needed to be written for the little boys of our acquaintance. It turned out that Marj Hales has a particular penchant for mythological animals, and so once again we felt we must bring it to light as a book. She painted fourteen absolutely beautiful paintings of dragons and unicorns (one of the protagonists in ‘Donner’ is a female unicorn named Una). ‘Donner’ works for little girls as well. It is a morality tale about a modest and peace-loving dragon.
Are you a dancer yourself?
It would be difficult to find anyone less capable of being a dancer than I am. In junior high I was the clown in my gymnastics class program. Fortunately my granddaughters have transcended my lack of ability in this area.
Did you have to do much research, if any for your book, and if so, how did you go about it?
For these two books I did not have to do research, except in my imagination. In the future, though, I hope to try some writing projects that are more ambitious in terms of requiring research.
If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
To be perfectly honest, the first answer that sprang to mind is the character of Ramona in Helen Hunt Jackson’s wonderful novel, ‘Ramona.’ I read it as a child, and several times since, and have always loved the story of this beautiful Hispanic woman in 19th century California who fell in love with Alessandro the Indian. It is beautifully written and very powerful.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am considering two projects. One is a memoir of my experiences working in Yellowstone Park as a young teenager. The other involves a history of a large musical organization of which I am a member. This group will celebrate next year the 100th anniversary of its founding.
What do you want readers to take away from your book?
From ‘Too Too Many Tutus’: there are some lessons about choices, and about seeking the help oftrusted persons in making decisions. Also, there is a simple physics lesson included.
From ‘Donner”: this is a story about being true to one’s own self, and not feeling the need to go along with the crowd.
Any tips for aspiring writers?
I do not feel eminently qualified to give this sort of advice. But I believe in any creative endeavor the main objective should be to do a little work each day, to do it quite regularly. This is true of any creative activity, whether it involves practicing music, writing prose, poetry or music, painting, sports…sometimes once you get started it is hard to stop. Even a very small increment of time is better than none.
Where can readers buy your book?
Both of our books are available on Amazon.com, and also from the publisher, CreateSpace.
Any last words?
Once again, thanks so much for this opportunity to say a few words about our books. It is great fun to know that children are enjoying our books.