Friday, March 22, 2013

Author Sue Fliess

Please join me in welcoming author Sue Fliess to Watch. Connect. Read. Wow, I can hear people all around the world shouting, "WELCOME SUE!" Sue dropped by to finish my sentences about her books, book trailers, school visits, eBay, reading, and writing. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Sue! :)



Tons of Trucks, A Dress for Me!, and Shoes for Me! are my three children’s books available today. Shoes for Me! was published first, in 2011, and is about a little girl hippo whose feet have grown. She and Mom head out to the shoe store to find a new pair of shoes. A Dress for Me!, published in 2012, is the second in the series. Our little hippo again goes with Mom to the dress store to get a new dress for school. The third in the series, Books for Me!, will come out in 2014, but this time hippo and her Dad go to the library to search for good books. Had to get the Dad in there! Tons of Trucks came out the summer of 2012 and is a rhyming, novelty book about trucks—with interactive moving parts for little hands. It’s a great introduction to transportation and shows children all the different kinds of trucks and what they do. And these trucks happen to be driven by lots of different kinds of sweet animals. I have 6 more books coming out—2 this fall—so stay tuned!


I think book trailers are such a great way to give readers a glimpse of the characters and the style of writing, and should be just enough to tease or entice someone into checking it out. I love book trailers—especially because sometimes I’m afraid I’ll come upon a spoiler review before I read a book. And often the back of the book has very little about what’s actually inside. I rely on book trailers more and more to guide me on whether I’ll read the book or not. I made book trailers for all my books. Shoes and Dress I actually made with iMovie, and my Tons of Trucks illustrator, Betsy Snyder, along with her talented husband, created an animated book trailer for that one.


School visits are one of the best ways to get to know my readers. They’re also great for getting new ideas. Kids will often tell me what I should write next, and their ideas are great! I’m trying to do more school visits, but since I have two young boys at home and also hold a job, it’s not as easy to schedule them. My hours are very flexible, though, and I’m a low-maintenance author, so please, if you’d like me to come to your school, just ask!

The best thing about being a children’s author is all the people I’ve met since starting this journey. My eyes have been opened to a world of the most creative, friendly and generous people on Earth. I’d been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until I ventured into children’s writing, that I felt like I found a real purpose for my writing. If I can help one child learn to read from something I’ve written, well, then, I’m happy.

In addition to being a children's author I'm also a Mom of two boys, ages 8.5 and almost 10. I'm a Sr. Copyright for eBay (ever heard of 'em?), where I write communications for people and businesses that sell on eBay. I do some marketing consulting on and off (mostly off these days), and in my spare time (what's that?) I also write freelance articles about topics that interest me. I lead my writing critique group and sometimes help with writing conferences. I also volunteer at my boys' school, in the classroom and during their annual walkathon. 


Photo credit: Sue Fliess

The Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature was a wonderful conference! You have to apply, so you know if you are accepted, everyone there is committed to children’s literature and serious about getting published. The writer to editor ratio is mind-boggling. I had the good fortune of accidentally having lunch with an editor to whom I’d submitted 3 manuscripts months earlier. She, of course, did not know who I was or what I’d submitted. But by the end of lunch, she’d made a note to sift through her giant (slush) pile when she got back and read my stuff. And…a few months later she bought my first book, 
Shoes for Me!


Reading is an essential life skill, yet something most of us take for granted. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like if I didn’t know how to read. It would be the most helpless feeling. Reading seems like such a basic skill, yet there are so many people who don’t know how, or are never given the opportunity to learn. As the saying goes, when kids are little they’re learning to read, but once older, they’re reading to learn. How can you learn and grow if you don’t know how to read? We need to stop cutting library funding and make literacy a priority.

Picture books are a crucial building block for a child’s development. I am not a teacher or educator, but I know that with my own children, we could not get enough picture books. Not only are they wonderful for parent-child bonding, but it’s lets kids associate images with words and make sense of language, of their world. Picture books are more powerful than many think.



Photo credit: Sue Fliess
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the time when I was 19 that I won first place—$100—in an amateur talent contest. We were on a family vacation in Key West and passed by a venue that was holding a talent contest and my sister convinced me to sing. I agreed, but once we got in there, not one person with a guitar knew any songs that I knew. So, when it was my turn, I stood up there, all alone on the stage and sang Faithfully by Journey…a cappella! What does this have to do with writing, you ask? Writing is about bravery and taking risks…and also doesn’t usually pay very well. Haha!



I am giving away a copy of Shoes for Me! and a copy of A Dress for Me! 

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 3/22 to 11:59 P.M. on 3/24. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 


2 comments:

  1. These look like really cute books for my PK and Kinder students for story time. Love the little girl hippo!

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  2. Mr. Schu~
    I want to thank you and author Sue Fliess for sharing this wonderful interview. I have been thinking a lot about what I can do to hook my first graders on books. I want them to see books as fun and become real readers, not just school readers. Book trailers are one of my favorite tools to help hook readers. When I read Sue Fliess' words~
    "I think book trailers are such a great way to give readers a glimpse of the characters and the style of writing, and should be just enough to tease or entice someone into checking it out. I love book trailers."
    I wanted to shout that's it! Book trailers entice readers! I love viewing the trailer with my class and then the trailer's over and the book appears in 3d the kids clap! Perfect, just perfect!

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