Lisa: So, Sleeping Beauty is the fairy tale that is being worked on now. When will it be done and ready for the public? Susan, have you always had a love for writing? If so, what have you written in the past?
Susan Meredith: Sleeping Beauty will out in time for Grandparent's Day in September. I have always loved books and did a lot of creative writing when I was in school. I also did a lot of art work and took classes, but ended up with an MBA and so most of my writing was business writing. Writing for children is so much more rewarding and.. fun!
Lisa: Are there any stories besides Grimm's Fairy Tales that you plan on rewriting and making friendlier?
Susan Meredith: There are over 200 Grimmís Fairy Tales... so there is a lot of material to work with. However, I am always open for suggestions. Is there a particularly scary story you would like to see rewritten
Lisa: I can't think of any right now, but I read a lot. If I run across any, besides the Grimm's Fairy Tales, I will definitely let you know. I noticed that the books are also illustrated by you. Which do you do first, the story or the illustrations? Do you write the story from your illustrations? Or do you draw the illustrations according to how the story is written? Which do you enjoy more, writing or illustrating?
Susan: I write the stories first then I illustrate. The illustrations take more time as I do many revisions (often based on feedback from Catelyn) I would have to say I think of myself as a better writer than illustrator. However, I try to make the illustrations a cross between a comic and a coloring book picture. They aren't as beautiful as some of the picture books out there, but I think the children find them more fun. They are also easier to copy.
Lisa: I think you do a great job on the illustrations. I can hardly draw a straight line. I teach at a Christian school and I have noticed that reading just doesn't interest most of the kids. Do you think that perhaps your books will awaken a love for reading in kids who don't like to read? I do plan on sharing your books with the students there.
Susan: We are a very Christian family. One of the challenges was to teach family values in an entertaining way. We believe that the books will encourage reading, especially since they are funny and more interesting (due to character development). A primary benefit will not only be more reading, but also better values. A school superintendent said that the glossary is particularly beneficial for ELL (English Language Learning). The books have also been used in schools after school programs where parents and children read together.
Lisa: That kind of answers that last question I had - do you think that by making the fairy tales more kind and gentle that you can make a difference?
Susan: Yes. I am shocked at the violent nature of computer games, television and movies. I also remember the nightmares caused by Bambi. So, yes, I think we can make a difference by giving parents and grandparents a choice of something wondeful, funny, and bonding to share with their young ones. They provide an underlying message of security to counterbalance feelings of abandonment. They also point to the grandparents as a "rock" of stabilty and refuge. We have to provide whatever support and direction we can through that special relationship. :)