Clarbojahn Presents! Author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Interview: Part One

Hi Readers,

Today and next week I have a treat for you. Susanna Leonard Hill has agreed to an interview here and because I managed to ask all the right questions and got all the juicy dope I have split it in two parts. The first part you can read today covering her books and writing process and the second part come back for next  Tuesday where you can hear all about the other good stuff.

[Clarike] Susanna, you are a multi-published author. Can you tell us a little about your books and which one is your favorite?

[Susanna]  All my books so far are based on my own experience, or on things my children did, or experienced, or were interested in.  I have 9 published titles in the US and 1 in the Netherlands.  It’s pretty much impossible to pick a favorite!  When kids ask me on school visits, I usually say that my favorite is whatever I’m working on at the moment, because that is what’s in my mind and I’m most enthusiastic about right then.  But I guess I would say I have a soft spot for The House That Mack Built because it was first, for Punxsutawney Phyllis because I love her spunkiness, for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep because I just love that story, and for Not Yet, Rose because that story is about my daughter waiting for my son.  I told you I couldn’t pick one.  You’re just lucky I didn’t list them all 🙂

[Clarike] Can you tell us something about your writing process?

[Susanna]  I tend to get a piece of an idea… a character, a title, a bit of plot.  But it’s not enough to go on.  So I send it to the back of my mind and go about my day… or week… or year… 🙂   Eventually, after it’s been rolling around in there for a while, that little kernel of something starts to grow.  It takes on more mass, or it joins hands with another piece of an idea (that happens a lot) and all of a sudden I have something I can really work with.  Usually at that point, I sit down and write pretty quickly.  I put the draft away for a while (because when you first finish a new idea you think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and you have no ability to be objectiveJ) then I take it back out.  Sometimes (often) I think it’s awful and should be used for guinea pig bedding.  But I hate to give up.  So I tweak, and polish, and see if I can get that little stone to shine.  This is not to say that I hang about waiting for ideas to strike to write.  Writing is all about showing up and doing the work.  Plenty of days, I just sit down and write something.  Many times those things become the kernels that have to roll around for a while.

[Clarike] Was it hard to go from writing picture books to writing a chapter book?

[Susanna]  Yes!  I still haven’t written a chapter book I would show anyone!

[Clarike] When did you start writing for publication and how long did it take before you were published after you started submitting your work?

[Susanna]  I started writing for children during the last century.  (1995 approximately 🙂 )  I sent out a few things to magazines but didn’t get any bites.  My first book to go to an editor was The House That Mack Built, and it got picked up!  I was lucky 🙂   It went out in 2000, got purchased in January 2001, and was published November 2002.

{Clarike}With nine published titles, that’s almost one a year! Pretty prolific, wouldn’t you say folks?  Next Tuesday we’ll come back and find out what Susanna is reading, why she writes, and what she’s working on now. In the meantime you can find out more about her on her website http://www.susannahill.com and her blog http://susannahill.blogspot.com. She would love a visit from you! And I promise next week promises to be just as much fun as today was. (Ok maybe I’m over promising, ;)). But really, I invite you back to hear all about Susanna. And if you want another treat, in addition to the donuts, head on over here on Friday for Perfect Picture Book Friday with my choice of an anti-bullying book.

Are you intrigued enough to want to come back for the rest of the interview? Yes or why not?

Other interviews I’ve done and you may want to see them again are here. :https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/interview-with-author-joni-cole/ and https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/interview-with-authordixiane-hallaj/ and https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/part-two-in-author-interview-of-dixiane-hallaj/ and https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/interview-with-author-bobbi-carducci/ and https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/thanks-to-tank-an-interview-with-bobbi-carducci/  OK! Whew! that’s enough Clar! we get the idea! OK. already.

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, interview, social networking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Clarbojahn Presents! Author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Interview: Part One

  1. Widdershins says:

    Excellent interview!

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  2. Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Clar. I am honored. I hope your fans enjoy the interview, and if anyone has any questions, please ask! I’ll try to check in and answer 🙂

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  3. That was brilliant Clar! Thankyou Susanna for giving us some insight, will be tunning in again to catch the second part of the interview. Thanks for that.

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  4. Really enjoyed the interview. Always love to hear a successful author’s writing process. Gave me something to ponder. Will look forward to next weeks interview.

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  5. Enjoyed the interview. I’m a fan of you both. I always enjoy hearing how other writers write. The process fascinates me. And, a great tip to set it aside. I’ll be back (in my best Terminator impression).

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  6. Coleen Patrick says:

    Great interview–Susanna is a gem!!

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  7. Thanks for this interview! I’m so impressed by all that Susanna has accomplished, and I love her books. Looking forward to next week’s installment.

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  8. This is fabulous. Susanna never ceases to amaze me. I love that she is willing to share you knowledge with the rest of as well, and her books are fabulous! This is a wonderful interview. Looking forward to part 2 🙂

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  9. JannatWrites says:

    I will definitely check out next week’s installment. I liked reading about her writing process. I tend to let ideas ferment for a while too, so it was interesting to read how this works for her.

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  10. Great interview! “I think it’s awful and should be used for guinea pig bedding” – Ms. Hill is so funny!

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  11. Great interview and, yes, I would definitely say she’s prolific! I’m looking forward to the second half of her interview.

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  12. Great interview, Clarike and Susanna. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

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  13. Very interesting interview. I once read that children’s book author Robert Munsch wouldn’t write his story down until he’d told it orally in front of groups of kids 100 times! By then, he knew what worked and what didn’t and was ready to put it on paper. What a process.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Robert Munsh must belong to that breed of writers that belonged to the old school. Back before the dinosaurs were born. I guess he got good readers though. 🙂

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      • He really has a winning formula for each story. Very repetitive with things excalating to a dramatic climax and a well wrapped-up conclusion. One of our favorite stories (and we have a lot of them) is The Paper Bag Princess. Hilarious take on princess stories. Even my boys liked it and the prince doesn’t fare well in it.

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  14. Nice interview – I’m always interested to know how long it took certain writer’s to get from first finished MS to first published book. Thanks!

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    • Ahem…that should be “writers” without the apostrophe. Ack.

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      • clarbojahn says:

        lol, Renee. I just saw where I wrote tragedy instead of strategy in my PPBF post today. I feel like such a slacker. We just have to be kind to ourselves, that’s all.

        Glad you liked the interview. I’m the same way. Love hearing other authors talk about their process. 🙂

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  15. “I started writing for children during the last century. ” Totally stealing that line, should I ever be published!

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  16. Julie says:

    Great interview! Off to read Part 2 now. I have the same reaction to my first draft that Susanna does – love at first sight then… guinea pig bedding (LOVE that!)

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  17. This was a great interview! I thoroughly enjoyed both part one and part two.

    Thank you for sharing Susannah, and for asking great questions Clar!

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