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Friday’s Interview with Suzanne Lieurance

Suzanne Lieurance joins us today from her offices all the way over on the other side of Cyberspace at the NWCC (National writing for Children Center). Please help me welcome her to Claudsy’s.


Claudsy: Hello, Suzanne. Thank you for being with us today. I’m curious about many things since you wear a variety of hats. Let’s start at the beginning. How long have you been a full-time writer?

Suzanne: As you might know, for many years I was a classroom teacher. But about 11 years ago, I left the classroom to start a full-time career as a freelance writer and I’ve been writing full time every since.

Claudsy: And when you began, what was your goal for writing? Did you achieve it as planned or were there surprises along the way?

Suzanne: When I decided to quit my teaching job at the end of the school year that year, I gave myself until the end of the summer (3 months) to start earning the same monthly salary (or more) as I did as a teacher. I knew if I couldn’t start earning money FAST as a writer, I’d need to return to teaching in the fall, and I really didn’t want to do that.

So, yes, I did achieve my goal as far as income went. But, there were some sunrises along the way, because it wasn’t long before I also became a writing coach, and an instructor for the Institute for Children’s Literature. So, in a way, I did go back to teaching for a while when I was working for the Institute. And coaching is also a lot like teaching.

Claudsy: How long did you concentrate on only writing before you began your other ventures, like NWCC or the other groups?

Suzanne: I wrote books and for magazines, and I taught writing for the ICL for many years before I created the National Writing for Children’s Center or Book Bites for Kids (my talk show about children’s books on blogtalkradio). By the time I started those ventures I had published over a dozen books for children and I had various other publication credits.

Claudsy: You spend so much time working within the framework of your sites, do you now get to write as much children’s fiction and nonfiction as you’d like?

Suzanne: No, these days I seem to be writing more about HOW to write for children than actually writing FOR children. But I enjoy the variety of writing projects that I’m able to do. And, I hope to gradually get back to doing more writing for children.

Claudsy: Suzanne, what’s it like working with your husband, Adrian, on the NWCC: Is he a writer, too?

Suzanne: No, my husband is not a writer. But he’s a tremendous help with website stuff. We enjoy working together, and he often goes with me when I travel to make school visits out-of-town or present at writer’s conferences. He’s also my first reader when I’m working on a manuscript. He’s my number one fan, too.

Claudsy: Lucky gal, have a personal reader like that. Now, how about this? If you could accomplish any one special thing, what would that be?

Suzanne: I’d love to create and own a writing center and writer’s retreat on a beautiful beach somewhere and offer writer’s conference and workshops there regularly.

Claudsy: Now, that’s a dream. I like it. You have what, 20+ books out there on shelves everywhere? Compared to that, do your writer training groups give you as much or more satisfaction?

Suzanne: I love coaching other writers almost as much as I love writing. It’s always exciting when one of my coaching client lands a publishing contract and has a book come out in print. I do have to make sure I balance the coaching and writing, though. Otherwise, I can be pulled into the coaching too much and never get any writing done.

Claudsy: You graduated from the ICL. What did that training best prepare you for in the writing game? And what advice would you give the current ICL students?

Suzanne: Oops! No, I didn’t graduate from the Institute. unfortunately, I never even took any courses through the Institute. But, in 2000, I was invited to become one of their instructors, and I taught classes for them for about 8 years.

I wish I HAD taken their courses when I was just starting out as a children’s writer. My writing would have improved much quicker. And I’m sure I would have been published sooner. I think ICL courses help writers quickly learn the elements editors expect to see in marketable manuscripts for children.

My advice to current ICL students is to stay focused on the writing itself – try to get better and better at writing – and publication will naturally follow.

Claudsy: your early writing trials obviously gave you a good grounding to be able to teach technique. What do you think has influenced your writing the most in your career?

Suzanne: I think my teaching background… When I was teaching, I often had trouble finding materials that met the interests, needs, and abilities of my students, so many times I ended up writing my own materieals. When I write today, I still think about my readers/students and try to put myself in their place to be sure what I write is as engaging, clear, and logical as I can make it.

Claudsy: Now, give us a clue, Suzanne. What kinds of goodies do you have coming down the pike for us all?

Suzanne: As a children’s writer, I have several picture book manuscripts I’m working on. And, I have an idea for a middle grade novel that I’m developing.

As a coach, I hope to make 2010 the best year EVER for many writers. Right now, I offer something called The Morning Nudge via email every weekday morning to subscribers. I’m working hard to make my Morning Nudges as helpful to writers as I can possibly make them.

I also offer subscribers free membership in The Morning Nudge Club, so I’m spending time developing an extensive collection of tools, articles, and other great resources to help club members improve their writing and build their writing careers.

Claudsy: sounds like something many writers could use. Now, one last question. How do you manage to juggle everything in your life between websites, and writing groups, family and marriage, and other responsibilities?

Suzanne: I have a very supportive husband and family, for one things. For another, I do the same thing I encourage my coaching clients to do. Every Sunday evening, I create my weekly marketing plan for the coming week.

That way, come Monday morning, I don’t have to waste time figuring out WHAT to do or WHEN to do it. I know exactly what I’ll be doing every day during the coming week, and I can make the most of my work week by just “working my plan.”

Claudsy: Sounds like a good one. Thank you, Suzanne, for taking the time to be with us today. A busy schedule doesn’t always allow for such interruptions in an otherwise hectic day.

Short Personal Biography:

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime children’s author, freelance writer, and The Working Writer’s Coach. She taught children’s writing for the Institute of Children’s Literature based in West Redding, Connecticut from 2000-2008, and she’s the founder and director of the National Writing for Children Center.

Lieurance is the author of 22 (at last count) published books and has written articles for a variety of magazines, newsletters, and ezines like Family-Fun, Kansas City Weddings, Instructor Magazine, New Moon for Girls, Children’s Writer, and many others. She hosts a talk show about children’s books, called Book Bites or Kids, every weekday afternoon on www.blogtalkradio.com.

Lieurance offers a variety of coaching programs via private phone calls, teleclasses, listserv, and private email for writers who want to turn their love of writing into a part-time or full-time career. She offers book coaching and business coaching programs through www.buildyourbuinesswrite.com.

Please visit Lieurance’s websites at:







There you have it folks. Please take a moment and investigate the offerings. They are well worth the effort.  Stick around long enough to leave a comment or question. Suzanne generously offered to field questions today, so avail yourself of this opportunity.

Next week, Monday’s guest will be Irene Roth, an academic writer who’s moving into the children’s market. I hope everyone can come and sit a spell to enjoy what she has to say.

In the meantime, I’ll have commentary tomorrow as usual and a restful, and possibly fun story on Sunday. Until then, a bientot,


Categories: Writing and Poetry
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