Susan Hughes

Susan Hughes is a children’s picture book author with a background in primary and early years education – giving her all the right tools for her new career.

Living in Derbyshire with her family, Susan is passionate about helping young children learn through reading, writing, and play.

Her picture book Sprout’s Surprise was published in 2021 and is the first in a series of fun escapades to develop children’s understanding of the world around them.

Meet Susan Hughes

Questions On Writing

What was the hardest part of your writing experience with Sprouts Surprise?
I write rhyming picture book stories, so the challenge is always for the rhymes to be as smooth and as natural as possible.  Thankfully, I do find rhyming comes easily to me but as I want my books to be the best they can be, I have been known to spend hours or days working on a tricky rhyming couplet, refusing to move on until I’m happy with it!

What did you learn about yourself when writing Sprouts Surprise?
It was a surprise to discover that as I write my stories, I can see the images in my head! This is super helpful as it really helped me to see what worked and didn’t work with my writing. Sometimes I could picture the next scene before I had even written it so that helped to make my writing flow.  I’ve even been known to laugh out loud as I write, much to the puzzlement of anyone around me at the time!

How much planning do you do before you start writing, and how much comes as you’re writing?
My writing style varies each time I write a story. With Sprout’s Surprise, I had an idea of the plot, so I wrote the scenes in order, modifying and updating as I went along.  With my current work in progress, I knew the ending and wrote towards it.  For other stories in the series, which I have written but not yet published, I wrote down flashes of inspiration or rhyming phrases that suddenly came to me (sometimes in the middle of the night!) and then built a story around them, writing scenes completely out of order!

What does literary success look like to you?
For me, success is seeing and hearing children’s responses to the story.  There is no greater reward than hearing children say, “can we have that book again?” or parents telling me that it is their child’s favourite book.  I have recently been told that Sprout’s Surprise is a finalist in the 2022 Wishing Shelf Book Awards and as it has been judged by children from 12 primary schools across the UK, this means the world to me.

Why picture books?
As a former primary and early years teacher I was always on the lookout for a book with a hook to start off a topic or a theme day that was engaging and fun but still left enough room for further discovery.  Always up for a challenge, I set out to try to accomplish all three!  I’ve always had a fascination with rhyme…it’s instrumental for developing early literacy skills but it’s also so much FUN!

Is there anything you edited out of the book that you now wish you’d kept in?

Do you make yourself write everyday/regularly, or do you only write when inspiration comes?
I write when inspiration comes mostly.  If I challenged myself to write daily or at a certain time of the day, I would have writer’s block.

Questions on Books and about You

Firstly, the most important question, what books are currently ‘on your bedside table’?
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. 

What children’s book would you suggest every adult read?
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy!

What does your writing space look like?
Eclectic! Wherever I lay my laptop!

How many books do you think you own?
Not that many, as I just don’t have the storage space.

Who is your literary icon?
Julia Donaldson – the Queen of Rhyme.

If you could own one rare/1st edition copy of a book, which one would it be?
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – I can remember to this day the feeling of being transported into that world as my primary teacher read it to the class at the end of the school day.

Is there an author who you always read?
Thomas Hardy as his cameo scenes are incredible.

And finally, are there any plans for any new books? If so, what teasers can you give us?
Yes, I’m hoping to launch Sprout’s second adventure this autumn.  Let’s just say, sprouts aren’t just for Christmas!

Thank you Susan, I love the passion you have for educating children with your books😊 

Susan Hughes Books

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