It gives me great pleasure to interview Suzanne Lieurance of The Working Writer's Coach. Suzanne is a multi-talented and multi-faceted writer. In addition she is an extremely motivating writing coach. Through her weekly teleseminars, students are inspired to be the best they can be. Take a class from Suzanne Lieurance and you too will feel the charge of energy careening over cyber space.
Q: I ran across your Working Writers Coach Blog back in March 2007 and I kept being drawn back to it. Actually I think it was when I subscribed to the Morning Nudge that kept me going everyday and still does. Tell us how The Morning Nudge came about.
A: As a writing coach, I like to encourage my clients to get a little writing done every single day. When I first started coaching, I was sending out a weekly newsletter, but I suddenly thought how much more helpful it would be to my clients and other writers by sending them something every week day. That’s how the Morning Nudge came about.
I have a friend who calls it “The Morning Shove” because some days I just want writers to stop making excuses for not creating the writing life of their dreams. The only way to become a writer is to write! And the purpose of The Morning Nudge is to remind readers of that every day.
Q: What are your writing habits? Do you work on an outline before starting the actual story?
A: I write something every single day. When I’m working on a book length manuscript I work from an outline whether the book is nonfiction or fiction. However, even with an outline I find that many surprises pop up as I’m writing. And that's part of what makes the writing process so much fun.
Q: Is one genre easier to write than another? Why or why not?
A: For me, fiction is more difficult to write than nonfiction because I have to really, really focus on the world I’m creating when I’m writing fiction. I have to sort of enter this world, and it takes me a while at the keyboard before I’m able to do that fully. But once I’m there in my fictional world, I don’t want to come back to the real world, so I try to write for hours at a time.
When I’m working on nonfiction, I’m able to do that in short bits of time here and there. So it’s easier for me to get a lot of nonfiction writing done in a short amount of time.
Q: You always have a project or two in the works. The Locket just came out so tell us a bit about your other soon to be published stories. What was your inspiration for these stories?
A: Right now I’m working on another historical novel for Enslow. I’m also working on a nonfiction book with two other coaches, and I’m reworking several picture book manuscripts. I also write my own materials for my coaching programs, including materials for the Working Writer’s Summer Bootcamp that starts June 2, 2008.
What inspires me the most - for anything I write - is people who do incredible things. I want to write things that show everyone how we can ALL do incredible things if we follow our passions and believe in ourselves.
Q: Which element of historical fiction writing comes more naturally for you—plot, characterization, description, dialogue? Which one gives you the hardest time?
A: 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.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring children’s writers who are trying to break into the field?
A: 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!
Q: Who is Suzanne Lieurance, the lady? Describe an ordinary day in your life.
A: I think the essence of who I am involves teaching, coaching, and motivating others every single day. This may sound strange, but I don’t think I have ordinary days. To me, every single day is special because every day I wake up and get to do what I love to do most - write, coach, and help others in some small way.
But the best part is, I get to do all this no matter where I am, so I can work from home in my pjs if I want - and I often do want to write in my pjs. I think pjs are totally underrated.
Q: Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
A: I don’t have trouble being creative. What I have trouble with sometimes is staying focused on ONLY the project at hand. My mind can get to racing a mile a minute if I don’t control it. So, I meditate and write in my journal every morning in order to get focused before I work on the day’s writing project.
Talking with other writers and other coaches unleashes my creativity.
Q: What type of books did you read as a child? Did you like to do book reports on them?
A: I always loved books about animals when I was a child. My favorite book was called The Magic Pin and it was about a little girl who found a pin that was shaped like a horseshoe. Whenever she put this pin on her shirt or dress she could talk to animals. I just thought that having a pin like that would be the coolest thing since animals were everything to me when I was a kid - dogs, especially.
Q: How do you set about promoting your books? How many hours a week do you spend on book promotion?
A: 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.
Q: What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
A: Speaking at conferences and making author visits to schools seems to work best for me as a means to promote my books. But I also like networking with other children’s authors, illustrators, and editors to help get the word out about all sorts of books for children, not just mine.
To find out more about my books for children, visit my author website at http://www.suzannelieurance.com and to find out more about my coaching visit http://www.workingwriterscoach.com and sign up for a free subscription to The Morning Nudge at either site. Also, be sure to listen to my talk show about children's books, LIVE on blogtalkradio every weekday afternoon at 2:00 central time - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids
Thank you Suzanne.