Paperback Writer is pleased to introduce our Author for today, Susan Chodakiewitz, author of Too Many Visitors for One Little House.
Hi Susan Chodakiewitz,
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
A: Too Many Visitors for One Little House is based on the wild summer that we moved to our new house and every aunt, cousin, uncle and great uncle — decided to visit –ALL– at the same time. I tried to persuade some visitors to come another time but they would not hear of it. My sister was already on her way with 4 kids, a husband and housekeeper in a giant BOUNDER…the biggest camper you ever saw. My sister-in-law was determined to make a clean slate after a divorce was already at the airport plane with her 3 kids with her kids and housekeeper when the call came that THEY also were coming! My parents stowed aboard my sister’s camper to SURPRISE me…and they dragged my newly arrived uncle from Russia along, to show him the USA! On one of my many trips to the grocery store that summer a scraggly dog followed me home. I guess he sniffed the truckload of yummy food I was bringing for the BIG family at home!
The whole summer was very chaotic and bigger than life… I thought I would write the story as a humorous novel or a movie script…Didn’t realize it would become a picture book… that was a surprise to me.
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
A: I don’t outline when I write a children’s book. I do outline when I write musical theater, Came move on with out that step. But with children’s book I allow the story to flow. Usually I sit down and write the first draft in one sitting. Sometimes the story takes on a new direction takes totally surprises me.
Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
A: I start out with a story line, a character or a concept first. Then I think of an ending that has a payoff emotionally. That helps me develop the story line. The ending may change of course as I develop the story and learn about my characters.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?
A: I write the first draft with a title, a storyline in mind, the characters and an ending in mind. I don’t realize that I don’t know the characters at this point. As soon as I get to a point of not knowing which way to take the story I realize – I don’t know my characters. They I start figuring out the characters. ALMOST every problem is solved by knowing my characters better. What do they like? What do they hate? What are they afraid of? What is their strength? What is their weakness? What is their dream? This knowledge comes later as I re-write and re work. I also like to develop a back story for them…what were there parents like…etc.
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
A: Of course! I use my own life and family as substrate for my children’s stories. There is a lot of humor and craziness in my family life.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
A: I love the part where the scraggly dog appears and is attracted to this joyful home. I also love the part where the neighbors boogie-to-the-beat despite their apparent uptight nature. But my favorite scene is the scene with all the family dancing and playing music together. That is A LOT like my home life.
Q: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
A: It took about a year of crafting and tweaking before I dared to send it out to publishers.
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
A: Many rejections as everyone who writes can attest to.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
A: The best part of being published is having readers and getting feedback that readers love your book! When a parent tells me how much their kid loves reading my book, or that it is the book they ask for before going to bed, or that they sing the repeating chorus around the house…That is a GREAT feeling of accomplishment. Makes all the work worthwhile. It is a wonderful feeling to know you have impacted a child in some way and brought them joy through reading.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
A: Too Many Visitors is a joyful story about the fun and happy chaos of family. One of my readers wrote me that after reading this book to her grand kids she suddenly appreciated her family more and that though she sometimes found her family annoying to be around, experiencing the joy of family from reading the book made her appreciate how blessed she was to have family that cared. That is something I would love readers to carry with them after reading my book.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
A: Two books in the wings. Dogstoyevsky – about a dog who wants to be a writer but can’t find his own artistic voice because he doesn’t believe in himself enough and gets confused by listening to everyone but himself about what it takes to write well.
I am also working on a sequel to Too Many Visitors for One Little House featuring the dog as a main character.
Q: Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
A: Dorothy Thompson is very professional and an excellent promoter. I would do it again!
Q: Where can readers find a copy of your book?
A: The book is available at Amazon.com, select Barnes and Noble books stores and accessible through the Booksicals website www.booksicals.com
There is also a musical version of the book which is downloadable now on the website. download for FREE until through Dec 31. The Booksicals Repertory Company performs the book at schools, libraries and special events – encouraging a love of reading through the arts.
Q: Do you have a website for readers to go to?
A: Visit www.booksicals.com to read my blog, get Nanny’s delicious apple strudel recipe from the book, get arts and crafts ideas for the kids, listen to the musical version of the book as well buy the book .
Thank you, Susan Chodakiewitz for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.