Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Bit About Babysitting SugarPaw

Sorry about the lateness of the post people, I got up bright and early today to post the interview with VS Grenier and I couldn't sign into my blogger account for some reason, but I finally got it and all is well now. So! On to the post!

Today I will be featuring a very talented author from Utah on my blog: VS Grenier. She is the author of “Babysitting Sugarpaw” a wonderful children’s book. VS Grenier is a clever author, and definitely one whom I am especially happy to be featuring on my blog.

About the Author: VS Grenier is an Award-winning author and Editor-in-Chief of Stories for Children Magazine ( She learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature, and her works include: the Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 1 anthology and over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers. A California girl at heart, she currently lives in Utah with her husband, their two children, and the family’s big fat cat Speed Bump and miniature schnauzer Taz.

VS Grenier, Q&A on children’s picture book, Babysitting Sugarpaw

Heather: Congratulations on your exciting publishing announcement of your first children’s book, “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” for July 2009. “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” started out as a short story and won 15th place for Fiction in the P&E Readers Poll. What would you say was the main thing that made you want to continue further by submitting your work to a publisher?

VS: After I wrote SugarPaw and the Babysitter, I could see the various illustrations of this little bear creating mayhem for his babysitter. Therefore, I set to work on the picture book version of this story entitled Babysitting SugarPaw. I knew this could be a really, fun story for babysitters to read when tucking in all those little pranksters to bed at night while mommy and daddy are out.

Heather: *chuckle* I could definitely see reading this as a bedtime story to my younger siblings when I babysit them. I know that in some cases you have to write more for your picture book submissions, did this occur with you? If yes, what was it that you added? If not, did you always envision this particular story as a picture book?

VS: I actually ended up cutting the story up, with a lot of red ink and sleepless nights, down to the bare bones. In other words, into a picture book outline. Writing a picture book is very different from writing a short story, so it took some reworking. After seeing the guts of the story on page, I knew Babysitting SugarPaw was ready to be written as a picture book.

I had always hoped to take SugarPaw and the Babysitter and turn it into a picture book. After all, a picture inspired the story to begin with.

Heather: Wow, I’m sure a lot of us can relate with that red ink and sleepless nights. Have you every babysat anyone before? If yes, were any of your experiences in the story?

VS: I only babysat once for a family outside my own family that is. Man was that a total mistake for both parties. I was never cut out for babysitting being an only child until the age of fifteen. LOL. Of course, I wouldn’t say I was much better once my sister was around either. It takes a certain type of girl to be a babysitter and I wasn’t it. I was more a tomboy growing up.

However, Babysitting SugarPaw does reflect a lot about how I was when babysat by others. Now that I’m a mom, I can relate to Bonnie Whiskers, too.

Heather: When you researched publishers, did you look for at least three possibilities or was your main focus on a single publishing house?

VS: Actually, I’m a Freelance Editor for Halo Publishing, so no; I didn’t look into other publishers for Babysitting SugarPaw. However, writers should have a list of at least three publishers in mind for any book they are getting ready to submit.

But don’t think I didn’t have to go through the same process as any other writer submitting to Halo Publishing. My submission had to be reviewed by many editors before I got my acceptance. After that, it had to go through the editing process and believe it of not, the editor cut more out of my story and tightened up a bit more. The only difference for me was I knew most of the illustrators personally and was able to work closer with the illustrator, too.

Heather: Those are great accomplishments in themselves, VS, I just read an article about book covers and illustrations that were sorely messed up, so it’s good to know that you had a say in what happened to your book. From your experience, what has been the greatest obstacle you needed to overcome to achieve publication?

VS: Sitting down and finishing my book. No, really! I’m so busy with running Stories for Children Publishing and its many divisions: Stories for Children Magazine, SFC Newsletter for Writers, and SFC Blog Families Matter, that finding time to sit down . . . write . . . research publishers . . . and so on, just isn’t on my mind. But I’m glad I took the time to get Babysitting SugarPaw in the shape it needed to become a published book; now to make the time for my other manuscripts.

Heather: Time does seem to be a large obstacle for a lot of authors, but you sure did have a lot on your plate! Just about every author I know has something else in the works, what do you currently have cooking?

VS: Oh, there are so many. Well besides Stories for Children Magazine, which is always a work-in-process, I have four other picture book manuscripts I’ve been working on for about a year now. I also have the first four chapters of a fantasy YA novel and an outline of another book that is more of a mystery/crime novel for teens based on true events from my high school years.

Lastly, I am currently in the process of putting together the second Best of Stories for Children anthology.

Heather: That’s really great; I can’t wait to see what’s next for you, that mystery/crime novel especially sounds interesting!

VS Grenier is definitely someone to praise for her impressive accomplishments. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her future works yet to come. Be sure to head back over here on the 3rd of this month for a more in-depth looking at “Babysitting Sugarpaw”, which will feature reviews, where to purchase and more.

~Something is happening everywhere, it's your choice what you want to witness.~ H.C.Paye


Nancy Famolari said...

Very interesting interview. I love the title of the upcoming picture book. I can just see a little bear giving his baby-sitter trouble!

I enjoyed learning more about VS. She's quite a talented lady.

Karen Cioffi said...

It's always wonderful learning more about Virginia. And, Heather, this is a wonderful interview - you did a great job.

Karen Cioffi

Vivian Zabel said...

Excellent interview. Now I know more about Virginia, and do to her interviewing skills, more about Heather.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great interview ladies. Virginia, you are a woman of many talents. "Babysitting Sugarpaw" is sure to fascinate kids everywhere.

Karen Cioffi said...

One thing, Heather,
I use Firefox and when I come to your site I get a bookbuzzr box that I can't close. This box covers part of the post.

Maybe, you can put it in your sidebar during the tours.


Unknown said...

Thank you all for leaving a comment! And thank you Karen for your kind words! I'll see what I can do about the bookbuzzr box. Thanks for pointing that out, I had no idea that it did that, I just added to my blog a few days ago and I use MSN explorer, so it didn't happen to me. I'll definitely fix it though. Thanks again for commenting!

Heather Paye

Liana said...

I enjoyed this interview! Congratulations Heather! I've tried to follow your blog but your link doesn't work.

Virginia's work looks very interesting indeed.

VS Grenier said...


I wanted to pop over and say thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. And also to tell everyone thank you for coming on over and reading more about me and my debut picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw.

I really enjoyed writing it and I love putting out Stories for Children Magazine and SFC Newsletter for Writers every month.

Together we help others find the magic in the World of Ink.

Unknown said...

VS: I enjoyed having you here on my blog, it was really interesting getting to know more about you.

Liana: Thanks for visiting my blog! As for the follow button, I'm not sure what could be wrong with it, it works just fine for me. Try emptying out your internet cashe and then try to follow again.

And thanks to both of you for commenting!

Heather Paye

Harry Gilleland said...

Greetings, Heather ~

You did a truly great job with this your first VBT post ever! You are an excellent interviewer. I learned a lot about Virginia and her new book, which sounds quite interesting.



H.C.Paye said...

Thanks so much Harry! I'm happy to hear that I did so well, I was hoping I would. *smiles largely*

Heather Paye