When I was a few months pregnant with my daughter, my husband bought I Love You, Good Night for me. He would read it to my belly every night and it has become one of our daughter’s favorite books since. It’s a sweet book where a momma tells her baby all the ways in which she loves him. And there’s lots of food references – would you have expected anything less from my foodie husband?
I was able to reach out to the author, Susan Schade, for a short interview. Ms. Schade works alongside her husband, Jon Buller. She writes. He illustrates. Thankfully they met that one fateful summer when she was a waitress on Martha’s Vineyard. After getting a BFA from Cornell University, the husband and wife team traveled to California and New Mexico, and then back to Connecticut, where Susan was born and where they currently reside. Although they have no children of their own, they have two cats who share their home, and two nieces and three great-nieces in which to share their beautiful talent.
This month, I’ll be giving away a copy of I Love You, Good Night to one commenter chosen at random. So tell us, what was your child’s favorite book?
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.
I majored in painting in college, but then found work as a children’s librarian so I got to read and know all the children’s books in the library. My career followed that of my husband who was always interested in drawing and cartooning. After he had published his first book, Fanny and May, I wrote my first book, The Noisy Counting Book, to give him something else to illustrate.
What is your marketing strategy?
That’s easy. I leave it to my husband, Jon Buller. He began by going around to publishers with his portfolio. To show off his work, he had prepared a dummy book which was bought by Random House. Relationships with editors sometimes continued when they changed jobs and moved to new publishers until we had several contacts at several publishers. That didn’t mean that it was always easy to sell our ideas, but it was easier than starting from scratch.
With the rise of ebooks, do you think printed books will become obsolete in 10-20 years?
I have no idea. Everything that’s happened in the last ten or fifteen years in computers and communications surprises me, and I feel like I have outlived my time.
Which authors influenced your work?
I loved Little Lulu Comic Books for the dry and still funny humor. I also love anything by Margery Sharp, both for adults and children, for a similar reason, and for her use of the English language.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
I think the most important thing is to see what’s our there and what’s getting published and who’s publishing it. A good way to keep in touch with the world of children’s book publishing is to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Different places. Other books. The funny things kids say and do. Dreams. Colorful acquaintances and relatives. Our cats. Houses.
What would you be doing if you didn’t write books?
That’s a fun question. Who can say? I used to do a lot of crafts, but couldn’t see any money in it. Maybe I would have developed my interest in conservation and nature and landscaping. Maybe I would have gone back to school and become an architect. Probably I would be doing an occasional painting and wishing I was an expert in something.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Not having to work for someone else. Making my own hours. Working at home.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Coming up with ideas.
What are you working on right now?
We are working on a proposal for a book for older children that alternates illustrated dream chapters with prose diary chapters.
A very big thanks goes to Susan for taking the time to speak with me.
For more children’s book, visit the carousel on the right (affiliate).