Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview with author VS Grenier

INTERVIEW with author VS Grenier

I am pleased to have multi-talented writer, publisher, and editor, VS Grenier as my guest today.

Virginia has agreed to answer some questions about writing and her latest book, Babysitting SugarPaw.INTERVIEW with author, VS Grenierestions about writing and her
latest book, Babysitting Sugarpaw.

1. Virginia, please tell me a little about yourself and how you became a

Well I'm a mother of two (soon to be three) wonderful children. My background isn't in writing, but merchandise Marketing. I learned how to hone my writing skills at the Institute of Children ’s Literature a year after the birth of my daughter. The idea was to write as a hobby while staying home and raising my kids. I never really dreamed of becoming published. I figured if I did great, if not . . . well at least I'm having fun.

2. How did you come up with the idea for Babysitting SugarPaw?

I got the idea from a picture I saw while working on one of my ICL assignments. I first wrote the story as a magazine short story for younger kids. Later I expanded, changed, and revised the story into a picture book after sharing the story with Kevin Collier who did the first short story illustration for StoryBox Library. He thought it would make a cute picture book so I set to work. Some of the antics
SugarPaw pulls are from my own childhood . . . while others are things my children have done.

3. How is writing for children different from writing for adults?

Yes, you have to write a story that engages young readers while showing how the characters have grown either externally or internally without a bold moral. Children don't like in your face lessons in stories anymore. You also have to write tight . . . meaning you can't have a lot of unnecessary details. You'll lose your
readers. Adults I think are a bit more forgiving when an author has more detail than needed to tell a story.

4. What is the process for writing a picture book for children?

That's a hard one to really put into words. Besides having a beginning, middle, and end . . . you need to be able to develop you characters in under 1000 words while also telling story that engages your reader. Not easily done. You also need to use little description because the pictures will show that part of the story for you. However, you have to have just enough description so the illustrator can see your characters as you see them, too.

5. How did you find your publisher, Halo Publishing International?

I actually work as a freelance editor for Halo Publishing, but that doesn't mean I didn't go through the same submission process all authors go through. My manuscript had to be reviewed by a panel of editor just like everyone elses does and I also had to come up with a marketing plan to show how I would help to sell the book if published as well. I also had to have my book editing by another editor and go through all the other steps a book goes through before it hits the presses.

6. Do you have an agent and do feel it's important for new writers to
have one?

I don't have an agent because right now I only write short stories, articles, and picture books. Normally you don't need an agent for those areas in children's writing. But I have looked around in case I decided to send my YA novel off one of
these days. Most likely I'll stand a better chance at publication with an agent when it comes to chapter books and novels I write. This is because most publishers don't look at manuscripts sent in by the author. They like agented submissions.

7. What types of marketing techniques do you use to promote your work?

Interviews (radio, blog, etc), book signings, school visits, contests, teaming up with companies such as First Book, book fesitivals, community events, and so on. One of the best things to do is try and think out side of the box.

8. I know you've also written non-fiction writing articles and publish
both a writing newsletter
and a children's magazine ( What
other types of writing do you do?

That's really it besides my books I'm still working on and submitting. Running Stories for Children Publishing, LLC pretty much keeps me busy when my kids and family aren't.

9. Where can readers learn more about VS Grenier?

On my author website

10. Any tips for new writers wanting to enter the field of children's

Join a writer's group such a critique groups or workshops. Read the type of books you want to write so you know what's already out there and selling.
Read interviews on authors in your genre of writing. No you'll always have revisions even after you get an acceptance. And never give up.

Virginia, thank you for being here today and answering my questions.


  1. Great marketing tips - it is so important to look outside of the box with marketing - tough to do, but important.

    Karen Cioffi

  2. Karen, thanks for stopping by. I agree, Virginia does know what she's doing when it comes to marketing!

  3. Interesting interview, Penny.

    Congratulations, Virginia, on your soon-to-be new addition to the family. You are a busy, busy lady. Best wishes for you and your family, as well as your book.


  4. Bev, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.