How do you set about promoting your books? How many hours a week do you spend on book promotion?
I promote my books in a variety of ways. Mostly through school visits and speaking at writers’ conferences and other events, plus through my websites and blogs. However, I probably spend more time every week promoting my coaching than I do promoting my books. Nowadays, I seem to be a coach who also writes, even though I started out as a writer who also coaches. Still I love to make school visits. And I love to talk to other writers about my books and their books.
Which element of historical fiction writing comes more naturally for you-plot, characterization, description, dialogue? Which one gives you the hardest time?
Characterization comes easiest for me. I have to “feel” what the character is going through in order to write about this person. But I can generally do that. Description is sometimes difficult with historical fiction because every detail about the time and place must be accurate even though the actual events are not all true.
What draws you to historical fiction?
Well, you know what they say, “Truth is weirder than fiction.” So with historical fiction, I get the best of both worlds. I get to take some period and incident in time that actually happened and then create my own character who lived through this event. It’s interested to do the research needed to make the character come to life. And about halfway through the manuscript I really get caught up in the story.
What advice would you give to aspiring children’s writers who are trying to break into the field?
First, take a course or workshop to learn the basics about writing for children. Next, join or start a critique group for children’s writers and be sure there are at least a few published children’s authors in the group. Third, read, read, read all the children’s books you can. Finally, write, write, write!
Can you tell us more about your radio talk show?
As for Book Bites for Kids, I started that show because I wanted a way to help children’s authors promote their books and I wanted a show to tie in with the National Writing for Children Center. The most challenging part of having a talk show like that is not what to say during the show. The hard part is keeping guests booked for the show. Since the show airs live 5 days a week, it’s a constant battle to keep up with booking guests, reading their books, etc. But I really love doing the show. And I get so many wonderful, appreciate comments from listeners.
Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime children’s author, freelance writer, and The Working Writer’s Coach. She teaches children’s writing for the Institute of Children’s Literature based in West Redding, Connecticut, and is the founder and director of the National Writing for Children Center.
Lieurance is the author of 20 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 for Kids, every weekday afternoon on 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 (for children and/or adults) into a part-time or full-time career.