Interview with Suzanne Lieurance, Author and Children’s Writer’s Coach

Have you ever wanted to write children’s books and are clueless on how to  start?  If you answered yes,   it might be in your best interest to consider a  writer’s coach. I invite you to read the interview below so you can learn about  the huge  benefits of having a coach .  Thank you so much, Suzanne, for taking  the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.  Having reaped so many  benefits from working with you, I knew I had to find a way to let other  inspiring authors learn about the services you provide.  I also want to publicly  thank you for helping me take my manuscripts to the next level.

Can you tell me about yourself?  What inspired you to become a writer’s  coach?

I’m a former classroom teacher, now a full time freelance writer, children’s  author, and writer’s coach. My years as a classroom teacher are what inspired me  to become a writer’s coach. I just naturally gravitate to teaching and coaching  as well as writing. I like helping other people become published writers almost  as much as I enjoy writing for publication myself. In fact, sometimes I think I  spend too much time teaching and coaching and not enough time writing. But I’m  going to change all that this summer. I’ll be leading a Book Bootcamp for other  writers, but I’ll also be writing two books myself during bootcamp.

How long did it take you to acquire the skills to become a writer’s  coach?

Actually, my years as a teacher helped me become a writer’s coach, so you  might say it took me several decades to become an effective coach. My experience  as a writer has also helped me become a better writer’s coach because I know  some of the pitfalls writers face. As a children’s writer, I think I’m able to  write materials in an easy-to-understand way, and this includes my coaching  materials, so my experience and training as a children’s writer has also helped  me become a good coach. Still, I’m always learning more about coaching, just as  I am about writing, so I hope I will continue to get better and better as a  coach and as a writer for years to come.

Writing for children is extremely difficult. Can you explain what a  new author like me must do in order to fine tune my writing skills?

For anyone who wants to become a published children’s writer, I’d say read,  read, read the type of children’s writing you wish to write. If you want to  become a picture book author, for example, then read picture books on a regular  basis. Go to the bookstore or the library and just read dozens of picture books.  Do this every month.

Also, take classes and workshops to become a better writer, or join a  coaching club like the Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club, to learn more about  writing for children and the business of writing for children.

Finally, write and submit on a regular basis and join a critique group that  includes at least a few writers who have published in the genre you wish to  write. When these writers critique your work, consider their comments and  suggestions carefully. You don’t have to do everything they suggest. But if they  know what it takes to become published in the genre you’re hoping to break into,  then listen to what they have to say.

You have blown me away each time you have critiqued  a manuscript for  me, in fact, I got a contract for a second book with my publisher after I  followed your suggestions.  How does one develop such a sharp eye for details  when writing for children?

I don’t know how other writers develop a sharp eye for details when writing  for children, but here’s how I did it (and continue to do it). First, I was an  instructor for the Institute for Children’s Literature for about 10 years. The  training I received from the Institute helped me learn what makes a children’s  manuscript marketable. Knowing what makes a manuscript marketable is often the  key to getting published, yet many writers never take the time to learn about  the “business” of writing, so they never get published. Each time I review a  manuscript (mine or someone else’s) I use a checklist to determine whether or  not the manuscript is marketable the way it is. It could be that the writing is  good, yet the manuscript is missing several elements needed to make it more  marketable. Those elements are generally what I’m looking for when I review a  manuscript.

I  was also the regional advisor for the Kansas chapter of SCBWI for several years,  and I learned a lot from other writers I met back then. I even got my first book  contract through SCBWI, so I always encourage writers to take an active part in  writer’s associations like SCBWI. Volunteer at your local level. You’ll meet all  sorts of other writers, editors, and agents you can learn from and network  with.

I also attend conferences and writer’s workshops regularly so I keep up with  current writing and publishing trends for the children’s markets. I continue to  read children’s books all the time, too, and I also read every book about  writing and writing for children that I can get my hands on. I think all writers  need to keep up with current trends and network with other writers, editors, and  agents on a regular basis through attendance at conferences and online through  listservs, forums, and social networking sites such

How many books have you written?

Gosh, I’ve lost count because I’ve ghostwritten several books, so those books  don’t have my name on the covers and I tend to forget about them. But I think  I’ve written 22 published books and my 23rd is due for release soon. I’m  currently working on 2 more books right now. One is a novel, the other is a  nonfiction book for freelance writers. I also have a cozy culinary mystery that  I’m going to self-publish soon.

Besides being a writer’s coach, can you explain what other services  you offer?

Well, I’m also a speaker and a writer, of course. I love to speak at writer’s  conferences and visit schools, bookstores, and libraries to talk about my books  and/or writing for children or freelance writing. And I provide in-service  training for teachers on a variety of topics.

I also often write for educational publishers. Sometimes I write books, other  times I write testing materials or reading passages. I also write for small  businesses — press releases, articles, create media kits, etc.. And I also do  some editing and consulting.

As the Working Writer’s Coach, I offer instructional materials – including  teleclasses, e-courses, and audio files — to help people learn to write for  publication and/or start their own freelance writing business.

Is  there anything else you would like to share?

Well, for anyone reading this who wants to become a published author, I’d  say, just start small. You don’t have to change your entire life and write for  hours and hours every day to become a published author. You just need to write  on a consistent basis. Even 30 minutes a day adds up. If you only write one page  a day, at the end of a year you’ll have a book! So don’t make excuses. You can  become a writer if you really, really want to. Just get started! Then find the  help you need to make sure the manuscript you’re writing will be marketable!

Please tell the readers where they can find more information about  you and your services.

Visit my coaching website at or my author  site at and to find out more about the  Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club, visit — You can  also find me on Twitter at and Facebook.

Read more: Twitter and Facebook.






9 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks to both Nicole and Suzanne for an informative interview.
    I’m happy to say my first novel, Wounds, coming in September, was originally an assignment with the Institute of Children’s Literature. I appreciate that organization.


  2. Lovely interview and so informative. Thanks for sharing with us. Suzanne, what a prolific author you are!


  3. Suzanne,
    You are a gem and have been instrumental in the success of so many writers. I wish you the best.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children’s Author of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon (April 2010)


  4. Wonderful interview, Suzanne is a wonderful writing coach for any of your readers who may be in need of one. Joining her will make your writing shine.


  5. I love the advice to start small–just writing one page a day and then you’ll have a book. That is so true. Sometimes, just getting started and sticking to it is the hardest part.


  6. Wonderful interview! Your background is fascinating, Suzanne.



  7. Great interview, Nicole. I’ve been a member of Suzanne’s Children’s Writers Coaching Club and the Working Writers Club for a while and can attest to Suzanne’s capability of instructors writers.

    Suzanne is full of experience and insightful tips!


  8. Excellent interview, Nicole. I’m a member of Suzanne’s Children’s Writers Coaching Club and was a member of the Working Writers Club for a while. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from Suzanne and the others. I recommend the club highly.

    I learned a little more about Suzanne, too. Nice to know you better Suzanne.


  9. A huge thanks to everyone who stopped by to leave comments. Sorry, I have been out of touch, I had out of town visitors.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: