March 7th, 2012

journal

Three Times A Charm with Susanna Leonard Hill

Three Times a Charm is back!!! It is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

To usher us back into a charming normality is author, Susanna Hill. Welcome, Susanna. Can you tell us about yourself?  

I was born into a family of readers.  From my earliest memory, our home was filled with books.  Seriously.  Filled J  They were actually stacked in the hallway until we finally got some new bookshelves… which filled up quickly… and then there were more stacks J  My parents read to us at bedtime.  They read to us in the car.  If it was too dark to read in the car, my dad would tell us the stories of Shakespeare  - Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear – in his own words so we could grasp the stories, but with many of the soliloquies thrown in for good measure.  I didn’t know, when I was a child, that this was not the norm.  I thought everyone lived like this J

I started writing my own stories when I was 4.  The first ones were pretty simple… “This is my cat.  The End.”  The first real book I wrote that I still have is from second grade.  It’s called The Girl And The Witch (I dare you to guess what it’s about J) and I read it frequently on school visits, much to the kids’ amusement.  I don’t know why they laugh.  It is a VERY scary story!

I always knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t know that anyone could be an author.  I thought authors were mystical beings who lived in huts in uncharted forests and had long unkempt beards.  So I wrote horse stories, and Nancy Drew sequels, and epic poetry for school assignments or just for myself.

But one day when my first child was about 18 months old, and I was reading picture books to her by the minivan load, I thought, you know what?  This is what I want to do!  And that’s when I started writing for children.

I am thrilled beyond measure to be able to say now that I’m the author of 10 published books for children (9 in the US and 1 in the Netherlands) including Punxsutawney Phyllis (a Book Sense Children's Pick and an Amelia Bloomer Feminist Books for Youth pick), No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild Selection), and Not Yet, Rose (winner of a Gold Mom’s Choice Award.)  I love visiting schools and libraries and sharing reading and writing with kids.  I love horses and dogs and have a weakness for oatmeal raisin cookies and good chick flicks :)  I'm an avid reader and, in addition to books for adults, I'm a big fan of picture books and YA. My most recent title is April Fool, Phyllis! released  March 2011 from Holiday House.  I have 5 digital books forthcoming from A Story Before Bed.

What a fantastic story. Your childhood sounds positively charming! Congratulations on so many published books. Are you busy with any other projects, as well?

In addition to my books, I write a blog at Susanna Leonard Hill (http://susannahill.blogspot.com)  It’s a blog for parents, teachers, librarians, home schoolers, writers – anyone who enjoys the world of children’s books.  Would You Read It Wednesdays are especially for children’s writers to try out their book pitches.  Perfect Picture Book Fridays are for parents and teachers looking for great books along with activities of all kinds to expand their use at home and in the classroom.  There are guest interviews with authors and illustrators (and author/illustrators!)  And there is a new question/advice feature called Oh Susanna where readers can write in with questions about writing, reading, books, teaching writing, etc.  We also have writing contests!  And prize giveaways!  Basically it’s all about fun over there J

I also love doing school visits and am very interested in trying out Skype visits with schools that are too far away to be practical or whose budgets don’t allow for an actual visit.

Now for the three’s. Share with us your top 3’s so we can get to know you better.

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.

Top 3!  It’s practically impossible to choose 3!  30 maybe J  Let’s see… 3…

Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski – a picture book for ages 5 and up whose language and art are so incredibly beautiful that everyone should read it!

Matched by Ally Condie – a YA dystopian novel with a very interesting premise, well-written sympathetic characters, and an ending that will leave you desperate for Crossed J

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I realize everyone else on earth read years ago, but it’s truly one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

I’m going for this one because it looks like it gets skipped a lot J  And I’m not counting writing here because technically that is my work.

#1 I love to be outdoors – walking my dogs, running, horseback riding when I get the chance which is practically never but still… J etc.

#2 I love to read!  And I never seem to have enough time to read as much as I want.  Reading by a cozy fire in winter or on the back porch in summer are idyllic.

#3 I love puzzles/games.  Text twist, Sudoku, sporcle… I could do them all the time.  Also, although I’m not much of a TV watcher, I do really love Grey’s Anatomy J

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

#1 Steam-roller driver

#2 Fire-fighter

#3 Professional horse trainer or veterinarian J

(As I mentioned above, I didn’t know writer was a choice!)

Apparently I was not cut out for these professions as I find myself a mom and a writer, and very happy to be so J

Susanna, where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

My Website:  http://www.susannahill.com

My Blog:  http://susannahill.blogspot.com

My Face Book Page: http://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill

Thank you for visiting with us for this week’s Three Times A Charm. It has been a pleasure getting to know about you and your work. Come back and visit us again!

THANKS!

I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.
open book

Celebrate World Read Aloud Day

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

 

I’ve decided to celebrate by sharing a video taken at my very first book signing of me reading from The Weaver. I believe this is from a year ago, March 2011. I find it fun to hear an author read her own work. It almost always changes the tone of the book from how I read in my head.

 

 

 

What you will be reading aloud today? And whom will you read aloud to?