Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview with Children's Author and Publisher VS Grenier

Welcome award winning children's author and publisher VS Grenier here on the blog today.

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Families Matter SFC blog). You are an inspiration to writers and publishers with all that you have accomplished.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a children's book author.  
I’m a California girl and former fashion buyer for companies such as Hot Topic, Brighton Collectibles and Frederick’s of Hollywood (not in that order). I now live in Southern Utah with my husband, our three children, and our minature schnauzer Taz. I started writing for children after the birth of our middle child and our move to Utah. Even though I loved being home for the first-time with our children, I had a hard time not working. Writing helped fill that void in my life.

What inspired you to write? I didn’t start off writing to become an author. I thought it would be a nice hobby while I stayed home with my kids as I stated before. As I started writing in my spare time and taking writing courses, the writing bug bit me. Next thing you know, I’m sending out manuscripts to publishers. I look back and think, why didn’t I start writing sooner in life. I really love doing what I do and wouldn’t trade working from home for anything.

Do you consider yourself a born writer? No, I don’t. I’m still learning new tricks of the trade when crafting a story. There are times stories or article ideas come to me and then other times…I have to do writing prompts to help spark an idea or thought. But I don’t mind not being a born writer. It’s fun learning from my mistakes.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it? I can’t say I suffer from writer’s block in the way most writers do. I suffer from not having enough time in my day to jot everything down that comes to mind. Then when I do get the chance to sit and writer, I find it hard to remember the thought or idea I once had. I guess that’s kind of like writer’s block.

Have you had any training to become a writer? Yes, I’ve taken writing classes and workshops. And even though I teach writing courses now, I still attend conferences and take workshops. You never know if someone has some information you didn’t know about or has a better way of doing something you already know.

Do your children inspire any of books, characters, or plots? Yes, of course they do. My book “Babysitting SugarPaw” is based off my childhood and my son’s a little bit. I have another book which is based completely off my middle daughter. A lot of my short stories in magazines are also based off family members like my dad or mom. I think it is hard to keep your family or friends out of your books completely.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary, tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book. My current book is “Babysitting SugarPaw” and is a picture book for children of all ages, even though picture books are for ages 3 to 8 mostly. What makes my book unique is the story teaches about friendship and honesty while a little bear named SugarPaw is left with a babysitter for the first-time. Bonnie Whiskers is a first-time babysitter and so together they learn about each other and how spending time with a babysitter can be fun…as long as you follow the rules or tell the truth.

It’s a great book for babysitters to take along and read to the child they are watching or for parents to read with children being left with a babysitter or caregiver. And if you like to create mischief…you’ll love this picture book, too.

What is a typical writing day like for you? I don’t have a typical writing day per say, but I do start all my mornings the same. I wake up and get ready for the day. Then I jump on the computer while the kids sleep in (now that it is summer) and check my emails. I do a bit of promoting for our World of Ink Tours here at Stories for Children and get my To Do list in order. After that, my day can go about a hundred different ways depending on my kids, household earns and what is on my To Do list.

I would love to have a typical writing day, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon for me. I can say this…I work about 20 to 22 hours a day between my family, Stories for Children and my personal writing/editing.

What is the most difficult part of writing? Finding the time to sit down and just write. I’m busy as an editor for Halo Publishing and my small company Stories for Children Publishing. When I’m not spending time working on assignments or tasks for either one, I’m busy being a mom. My son fences, so that takes up a lot of our time at night. My middle daughter is in soccer and swimming, and the baby is just fun to go on walks with or build towers of blocks with.

Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other jobs? Yes, very much so. I wish there was a way to get more hours in the day to do everything I would love to do, but there isn’t. Finding balance can be very hard even if you don’t have children or a full time job as a writer. Life happens and you can’t stop it from getting in your way from time to time. The trick is to steal those small amounts of time to jot down a sentence, scene or thought. Then when you can, carve some time to just sit and weave them together into a story.

What do you enjoy most about writing for children? I love being able to draw upon my life and my family’s lives to tell a story. I don’t know about most writers, but I have some very interesting family stories to help spark storylines. My first short story “Flying Upside Down” is based off two stories my dad use to tell me as a kid about his dream of becoming a pilot. Both the stories are true and were perfect backdrops to my short story about a boy wanting to fly.

On a side note: “Flying Upside Down” has been published three times over the years in Fandangle Magazine, Stories for Children Magazine and by Pearson.

Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them? I have two picture books almost ready to be submitted to publishers. I also have two YA novels I’ve been working in when I get the chance. One of them is in rough draft form. Meaning it’s my first draft and no one will ever see it until I’ve made a billion revisions. LOL. The other is only outlined, but the story likes to play as a movie in my head at night when I’m sleeping. I guess I need to write it soon before I get locked up in the padded room.

Tell us about your writing space? My office is fun place to be. It’s kind of like the second family room of our house. I have my desk area and to my right is my kid’s desk/computer area. I also have a futon/couch, TV and Wii system in my office. My kids like to play games while I work. It’s nice because they still get to visit with me and I get some work done at the same time.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children? Letting others read my work. Sounds funny I know, especially since I’m an editor, however, I’m never totally happy with my work. I have a hard time letting it go and sending it out for submission.

Tell us about the marketing process for authors. What do you do to market and sell your books? I tend to do a lot of online marketing. I find it very hard to get out and do in person marketing with my little ones in tow. However, this Summer I am focusing on local in person marketing opportunities. I think it is important to use as many marketing tools as you can.

I think for children’s authors it is important to let your reader not only get to know your book, but also you as an author. I think sharing information they would be interested is important and builds a fan base. I don’t believe it pushing my books or writing on my fans or readers. I like sharing information with others and if they buy my work…that’s just a bonus to me. 

Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation. Yes, I do make school visits. So far I have done visits for author nights and have been a judge for writing contests at schools where I also share writing tips with those interested.

I have recently put together a workshop I've done with some kids in my area on how to craft a book. In this workshop the children each work on writing their own short story. I teach them the basic rules of writing a story and then once they are finished. I critique and edit their work with them. After they are happy with their finished story, I publish it into a book for them to give to family and friends. The kids really love this workshop.

If you are interested in having me come speak, do a workshop or school visit, you can find out more about the types of things I’ve done or offer on my website or I can be reached via email at storiesforchildren AT vsgrenier DOT com. This is my author email and not my company email.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? Of course, keep writing and reading. Never give up on your dreams. Surround yourself with people who will lift you and support your goals. Don’t give up and come visit me in the World of Ink at or

Follow the next stop for award winning author and publisher VS Grenier at

SugarPaw hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers. Anyone who has ever done babysitting will be able to empathize with Bonnie Whiskers and her plight.

Come follow along during my June 2011 World of Ink Tour and one lucky Blog Hopper will Win a FREE autographed copy of my book "Babysitting SugarPaw."

The rules are easy. Leave a comment, your name and email (example vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com), and you will be put into a random drawing. The more blogs you visit and comments you leave, the more your name will be entered.

One comment per blog equals One Entry!

If you ask a question at a blog, I'll give you a bonus entry.

Good luck! Contest ends June 30th.
VS Grenier's World of Ink Tour Schedule


  1. Thanks SFC Blog team for hosting me.

  2. Fun and interesting interview Virginia. I learn something new about you every time I follow your tour.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

  3. I've seen this book, Babysitting Sugarpaw. It's one of the better written children's books I've seen. I review a lot of them, I see more than most people.

  4. Hi, cool post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will probably be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing!!!

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*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.