Today I have the pleasure of bringing one of my friends and Annie’s Special Day book helpers on my blog. I hope you will make her feel welcome by asking lots of questions in the comments and by coming back next Tuesday to hear the rest of my interview. I didn’t want to short change Sue with her answers and loved hearing all about her journey but it got longer than the 500 to 600 words they say is the right length for a blog post so I broke up it up to four and five questions each day. This makes it easier for you to read. This is the first part.
Hi Sue, I am thrilled to finally get to feature you on my blog. You have been such a help with my book, Annie’s Special Day, that I feel like I owe you something big and maybe this small token of getting the word out about your books is in some way a tiny re-payment. (But we both know I would have wanted to have you here anyway.) J It is an honor to have you and thanks so much for taking time to answer questions. I know your full-time job at Walls Lithographics takes up a great big chunk of each day. So it’s with extra cream on top that I serve you special mocha coffee to get you started.
CbJ: -I really love your book Backyard Birds of the Piedmont and keep a copy by my window to identify birds I may see outside. Can you tell us a little about it? How long did it take from idea to actually getting a copy in your hands?
SW: Thanks for asking me to be on your blog. This is a wonderful forum for gaining visibility to new authors.
The path I took from beginning to end is a long story, but I’ll condense it a bit. I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid and throughout a long and fortunately successful career in the world of high-tech. When I left that world to run a printing company, I had access to a vast array of publishing equipment. But my focus was on building a business, not writing.
Then, about 4 years ago, my brother, D.W. Maiden, came to work for us. He, too, left the high-tech arena and pursued his interests in photography – more specifically, wildlife photography. When he came to work at Walls Litho, I hated to see him give up his passion for photography to return to the day-to-day production environment. It was then that I got the idea of writing beginning-reader books using his beautiful photographs of birds.
After about 1 year of writing, compiling, re-writing, and all the stuff you need to produce a book, I started printing at Walls Litho a much shorter version of Backyard Birds plus 3 other wildlife books. It gave me a unique opportunity to test the book using a “short run” (under 100 copies), something major printers seldom do.
CBJ: So there are really three other books before this main one. Can you tell us the story behind it?
SW:Yes, DW didn’t confine his photography to birds; he also had photos of bears, horses, foxes, ground hogs, deer, insects … and the list goes on and on.
Each photo was a high-quality, up-close-and-personal study of nature. So I pulled together three more collections and began printing them as under the wildlife series using the name “A Child’s Book”, hence my website: http://www.a-childs-book.com.
CBJ: And you have another insect book too, right? Can you tell us about that book? And are there any other books or stories you’ve published?
SW: Yes, I’m pleased to say I will be bringing out another book in the fall Insects and Spiders which will focus on local (Northern Virginia and Eastern West Virginia) varieties bugs and “creepy” things, but again, using high-res photographs and beginner-reading text.
SW: I think it is every writer’s dream to find an agent who takes you to a publisher who prints the next “best seller.” But, as most of us have found out, that is not the easiest thing to do. For me, it was pure luck that my agent, Laurie Blum-Guest (Mariposa Press) found me! I still can’t believe how it all took place, but from my POV, it was pure providence.
Laurie guided me through the rapidly changing world of publishing, helping me understand the numerous options and related decisions that must be made before getting a book to print … and even more important, selling my books. I say a special prayer every night for sending her my way.
Bobbi Carducci is the third leg of my writing persona. She has proven abilities as an award-winning writer and runs her own foundation www.youngvoicesfoundation.org to promote and encourage writing by and for children. Her latest book Storee Wryter Gets a Dog is making fast inroads into spreading the good work of therapy dogs. She and her husband Michael have been my “always” cheerleaders and guidance counselors, helping me through some tough personal times and sharing many happy moments, too.
I can’t impress upon beginning writers how important it is to find that unique group of individuals who will encourage you to hone this craft. My “Round Hill Writer” buddies keep me inspired and motivated. If you do nothing else, find a local writers group and join it TODAY!
CBJ: And last for today, but not least, how can readers get in touch with you? Can you give us your web site, Facebook page and twitter handle? Do you mind giving out your email address?
SW: I’d love to hear from readers and suggest they contact me via my website at www.a-childs-book.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m on Twitter suewalls1 and Facebook (search for Suzanne Maiden Walls).
And Sue’s bio: Suzanne Walls is a freelance writer who spent the majority of her career helping people understand and effectively use computer technology to make their jobs and their lives easier. Today, Suzanne works with her son, Martin, at Walls Lithographics, their family owned printing company. In her spare time, she focuses on writing and pursuing her passion … genealogy.
Suzanne self-published her first technology-related book, Managing Photographs in the Digital Age, in 2008, through Authorhouse. As a departure from technology topics, she joined with her brother, D. W. Maiden, to produce the A Child’s Book series of 6 wildlife books incorporating high-quality photographs of animals, insects, birds and reptiles. These books are self-published and have been sold locally at the Audubon Society and Fairfax County Library System.
So that’s it for today, friends. Next Tuesday on Clarbojahn Presents! Sue Walls Part Two, we’ll hear why Sue chose self publishing over traditional publishing for her book Backyard Birds of the Piedmont and other questions about her author journey.