Joining us today is VS Grenier, author of Babysitting SugarPaw. This is a children’s book geared toward ages 4 to 8 or anyone who is going to be a babysitter for the first time.
Thank you for joining us today, Virginia. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I am an award-winning author and editor who learned how to hone my writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature. I also have membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the League of Utah Writers (HWG chapter), and Musing Our Children.
My works include my first published picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw, the “Best of Stories for Children Magazine” volume 1 anthology and over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers.
I am also the Founder & Owner of Stories for Children Publishing LLC., and also the Chef Editor for Halo Publishing; in addition, to running my own editorial and critique services. I love sitting on both sides of the editing desk. I believe that by having others read what you have written and giving feedback not only makes you a better writer, but you start to understand how a well written story’s voice captures the reader . . . drawing them into your world of ink. This is something I try to share with all my readers during visits, and with the authors I work with in conferences, workshops and critique groups.
I’m a California girl at heart, but currently live in Utah with my loving husband of eight years, our three children (14, 5 and 9 months old), and our family’s big fat cat SpeedBump and miniature schnauzer Taz.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I wasn’t bit by the writing bug until my second child (Ashley) was about a year old. I used to work a regular 9 to 5 job as a fashion buyer, but when Ashley came along, I decided to stay home to raise my son and daughter. I wasn’t use to having free time so I started looking for hobbies to fill up those few hours I had when my son (Dominic) was in school and Ashley was sleeping. I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature. I was a bit surprised when they accepted me into the program. I never really thought of myself as a writer. As I continued through the course, I had my first publication and from there I was hooked. I loved writing anything from fiction to nonfiction. I had found something I could do from home and still be a mom. It was great.
However, it wasn’t until my second year of writing that I really started to take it seriously and opened Stories for Children Magazine. A two years after that and a few more publishing credits to my name, Babysitting SugarPaw was published and the rest is history as they say.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
That’s a tough one. I guess because I love reading children’s books (picture books to YA novels) more than an adult novel. But don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of a few authors who write only for adults like Stephen King, James Patterson, Dan Brown, John Steinbeck and J.R.R. Tolkien to name a few.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
Not really. But this is totally my opinion. I will say it can be hard at times writing for a younger audience if you’re trying to write to a specific guideline or topic. I think no matter what genre you write in you always have areas you struggle with and others you don’t. Writing for adults does give you a bit more room to stretch your writing fingers. Not as many rules as there are in children’s writing, but you still can stretch your fingers in children’s writing if you know how to do it right.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
Letting my imagination take flight. Honestly, I think many adults get old because they forget how to imagine. I love being able to write about things I did or didn’t get to do as a kid. I love reliving childhood experiences through my characters. I also love watching my children and their friends learn lessons and then taking those experiences and writing about them.
Writing for children lets you be a kid over and over again. Who wouldn’t like that?
Babysitting SugarPaw is about a young bear (SugarPaw) who does not want to be left alone with a babysitter. What makes the story even more interesting is Bonnie Whiskers is a first-time babysitter. As the story unfolds, SugarPaw does all that he can to get Bonnie Whiskers in trouble with his parents. He makes changes to his rules chart so Bonnie won’t know what he can and cannot do.
The story is great not only for children who are going to be babysat for the first time, but also to teach children about friendship and honest, too.
What inspired you to write it?
Honestly . . . it was my first assignment at the Institute of Children’s Literature. We had to write a short story based off a picture we choose from a grouping they send you. Babysitting SugarPaw was actually a short story titled “SugarPaw and the Babysitter” at the beginning. It was years later after illustrator Kevin Scott Collier, who illustrated the book, read it and suggested I tighten it up into a picture book. I decided to take his advice and revise it into the picture book so many have discovered today.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
Your readers can purchase an autographed copy, which comes with extras at my author website http://vsgrenier.com/BabysittingSugarPaw.aspx
You can also buy: Babysitting SugarPaw: at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/1935268066?tag=storforchilma-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1935268066&adid=0377KF4PYQ9PGQBEF4CE&
My publisher Halo Publishing also has a bookstore where you can purchase “Babysitting SugarPaw” at http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore/Children%27s?product_id=51
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
You learn more about me, my works and my websites below.
Author website http://vsgrenier.com
SFC Publishing http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com
Stories for Children Magazine http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org
Families Matter blog http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com
The Writing Mama blog http://thewritingmama.blogspot.com
You can also follow me at
Babysitting SugarPaw Fan Page
Also, don’t forget to get your FREE coloring pages at http://vsgrenier.com/coloringpages.aspx
What is up next for you?
Right now, I’m working on relaunching Stories for Children Magazine (http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org) and three new book manuscripts. One is a picture book about a little girl who hates eating veggies. It is based on my own story on how I started eating veggies. It has a twist readers won’t expect. The other two book manuscripts are for YA novels. One is a fantasy and the other is a mystery based on events from my own life.
Do you have anything else to add?
Follow your heart and imagination when it comes to your life. You can be and do whatever you dream. Don’t let people hold you back and don’t let life limit you. I didn’t know what I was going to do as a career when I was younger. I dreamt once about working with sea life, and later, when in high school, I decided to go into merchandise marketing and became a buyer for some really cool companies. However, after getting married and deciding to raise a family that dream didn’t fit my new life and goals. I fell into writing and love what I’m doing now as I did with my past dreams and goals. Life is always throwing new things at you so don’t be afraid to take a new road. You never know what adventure you’ll find waiting for you.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Virgina. We wish you much success.
It was a blast being here. Thank you for having me.