Our Featured Author Corner is back with another interview with a great author! In our quest to provide you with interviews from authors from a variety of genres, we have come across some amazing talent. Today’s interview is with an author that shares her work with the world through her unique and intriguing picture book allegories. We hope you enjoy her interview as much as we have enjoyed interviewing her!
The interview that we share today was with Susie E. Caron, the author of Twee’ and I am Twee’. Susie is exceptionally talented and has held many careers in her lifetime including elementary teacher, owner of a horseback riding school and her latest career, clinical psychologist. Her latest work as a clinical psychologist, working with children and their respective adults, was her inspiration for her books Twee’ and I am Twee’. The work that Susie performs in her practice has taught her, and continues to teach her, about the relationship between children and adults. This relationship is portrayed in her wonderful books.
We had the pleasure of reading both of Susie’s books and we thoroughly enjoyed them. What we loved most is the powerful lesson that is taught throughout both stories. Kids will get wrapped up in the story of Twee’, the main character in the story, who is a pine tree while adults will love the lessons taught and the opportunities for conversations with their children. In the first story, Twee’, you are introduced to the tree in all of her self-righteous glory. Twee’ is very selfish and thinks that everything belongs to her. Throughout the story, she is met with some strong obstacles that she is forced to overcome. Throughout her journey, Twee’ learns some very valuable lessons, including how relationships with others, no matter how different they may be, can be extremely important.
We also enjoyed Susie’s’ second book in the series, I am Twee’. In this book, kids can come along on the journey as Twee’ has grown up a little bit, but is not much wiser. She has another conflict in this story that many kids can likely relate to; she does not feel useful to others. We know that as adults when we have felt that way it feels bad, so for children, the feeling must be a lot worse. Susie did an amazing job showing the journey that Twee’ goes on to discover that she is useful and that she should value herself and her uniqueness in the world.
We really hope you enjoy the interview that we had with Susie Caron and that you take the time to read her books with your children. Susie has an incredible talent of relating her life’s work in her books that can help parents and teachers navigate the fragile world of helping children grow up into independent, happy adults.
Susie, let’s start with how you got into writing books? You’ve had a very illustrious work history and we’d love to know what drew you to start writing books?
Writing books for my “Between You and Me” series came as the next important step in my life’s work. I have always loved to find ways to help children and their adults connect better. Multiple careers and various life experiences, have taught me about the importance of healthy relationships. My picture books in the “Between You and Me” series really grew from my earlier work, and now as a psychologist. Over time I began to realize that children don’t have enough ‘world view’ to understand and to describe their situations and feelings. I write picture books that encourage kids to talk about their feelings. My adorable little character Twee’ and her situations really seem to help with that.
What is the name and genre of your most recent book released?
My latest release is titled I Am Twee’. It is the second book in my “Between You and Me” series. These are read aloud picture book allegories for children and adults, about a little pine tree, named Twee’. In each successive book Twee’ discovers something new about herself, which changes her feelings and impacts how she relates to others.
Do you have any new books coming out soon?
I am currently developing my 3rd book in this series and I hope to release it by spring, 2014.
Your books are an allegory – tell us more about that. What makes them different than the standard picture book?
As you may know, an allegory is a story whose elements represent ideas beyond those presented in the story. Allegories are similar to metaphors, but they are much longer. Allegories are full of symbols, represented by characters and situations. These can mean different things to different people. The author could have one or more original interpretations in mind. However, readers can arrive at very different meanings. Because of the variation from reader to reader, a wide range of meanings may be derived from the stories.
How can allegories help children or adults?
An allegory helps kids and adults identify with the story in uniquely individual ways. This provides opportunity for conversation about situations and feelings specific to each parent, and child. Out of that can come a deeper understanding of each other and closer relationship connection. While picture books may have many purposes, I use allegories to encourage and facilitate meaning making and to talk about feelings.
Who is your audience?
Twee’ and I Am Twee’ are clearly written to appeal to children. However, I also write them to appeal to adults who care about kids. These may be mommies, daddies, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone who purchases good books for kids.
What do you wish for your audience to take away from your book?
I want kids and adults to feel good about themselves. Twee’ is an adorable, lovable character with flaws just like us. Kids and adults identify with her and her situations and feelings. I also hope that by reading aloud and talking about the books, that kids and adults can learn more about each other.
Do you have any special story or meaning that ties into your book(s)?
I have experienced a lot of the same emotions in my life that Twee’ experiences in my books. In my life I’ve complained. I’ve sometimes felt stuck and frightened. Sometimes I’ve wished to be someone else or to have something that I lack. However, just like Twee’ I have grown more aware and patient from those experiences. Sometimes we can learn more from our difficulties, than when things are convenient.
What do you find to be the most difficult about being an independent author?
That’s easy. I wasn’t very familiar with social media until I began to research how to publish my first book. I was surprised, about how much I needed to learn and do, in order to increase the potential for wide exposure of my books. It’s been difficult, but lots of fun too!
What advice would you give to others to be able to reach the same levels of success as you?
Wow! Listen to your heart. Pay attention to your instincts. Be kind but establish good boundaries so you stay safe. Speak respectfully to everyone, (especially your children) because you must first respect yourself. If you have a dream, work toward it and don’t give up. Keep moving. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Writers, research as much as possible before you choose how to publish. There are a lot of choices out there. Make certain to choose wisely.
We love to know what our fellow authors’ favorite books as a child. What were your favorites?
There were so many I loved. As a young child, my mother read poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper. Later I read the Nancy Drew mysteries, the Hardy Boys and The Boxcar Children. As a teen I devoured novels by Pearl S. Buck, John Steinbeck, Viktor E. Frankl, and others. As I moved into college, I read everything I could get my hands on about children, child development and psychology. As a parent I read to my children until they wouldn’t let me! They continue to be avid readers.
Where can fans learn more about you and your “Between You and Me” series?