Wooftastic Books interviews Sue Edwards …

Kids love facts. They especially love it when they know something an adult in their life doesn’t know.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your books …

I am a nonfiction author who writes for the school library market.  This means that the majority of my books are series titles and I write up to two books in the series.  The publisher develops the series idea and invites various authors to write the books.  This is work for hire writing which means that I get paid a fixed amount per title.  It is a great gig because I know students are reading my books.  

You’ve published a couple of dog books for children. What are they about?

I was invited to write two books in a series about dog hybrids.  They showed me the list and I chose Labradoodle: Labrador Retrievers Meet Poodles and Puggle: Pugs Meet Beagles.  They are both part of the Top Hybrid Dogs! series by Capstone Press.

It was tough to choose which two types of dogs to write about because I could write about two hybrids I know nothing about. But my in-laws have a Labradoodle and two friends have Puggles.  This gave me a chance to learn more about two types of dogs I knew personally although I didn’t yet know the history of the hybrid. 

How do you approach writing for young readers?  

These particular books are written for readers as young as 8 years old.  One of the most important things to remember when writing for young readers is to respect your reader.  Don’t write down to them.  Always tell them the truth.  This doesn’t mean that every topic is suitable for young readers, but it does mean that if you are going to write about something you need to write it with the same integrity and effort as you would for adults.  Kids love facts.  They especially love it when they know something an adult in their life doesn’t know. 

What’s this about finding a “fan photo” online?

I got up one morning and was scrolling through Facebook.  I was still on my first cup of coffee so I wasn’t really alert yet.  One of my writing friends had posted that she was really annoyed with the author of the book her daughter brought home from the school library.  The book says that many Labradoodles are hypoallergenic.  How was this annoying?  My friend is allergic to dogs and this was the reason she gave her kids for not having a dog.

I laughed and kept on reading.  Then it hit me.  Wait a minute.  There was a photo of her daughter with the book.  That’s my book!  I messaged her and we had a huge laugh over it.  

It never occurred to me while writing the book that I might be making a parent’s life more difficult.  My focus is on my young reader and giving them the facts about these dogs.  My friends active daughters would be great with a Labradoodle but in all honesty Mom would be one walking the dog.    

Tell us about your own dogs—their names, breeds and something unique or amusing about them

I must have been one of 496,000,000 kids who named their beagle Snoopy.  He was some sort of mutant beagle throw-back – way taller than the average Walker and heavier.  But he was a runner and a tracker and would call whenever he found something. Often that something was my sister with a bowl of crackers.  She would sit at the top of our slide and send them down to him one by one. 

My grandmother was the only person I knew growing up who had small dogs.  Most of my dog experience was with ranch and farm dogs – hounds, hounds and more hounds.  Grandma had Pekinese which I adored. 

I still have a soft spot for beagles although I currently love them vicariously through other people’s dogs. 

Do you have any favourite dog-themed books?

My favorite dog-themed books are series that my son loved when he was a young reader — Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby, both by Cynthia Rylant.  Tabby is a cat but Mr. Putter and Tabby live next door to Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog Zeke.  Zeke is the best bulldog ever.  

When my son was four, I met the editor at a conference in LA.  I told my son she was there and he insisted that I tell her how much he loved the books.  Because I’m a writer, he may have been one of the few four-year-olds who understood the part an editor plays.  

He’s an engineering student now but we both still love these books. 

Where can readers go to find out more information about you and your books?

Anyone who wants to know more about me and my books can check out my site: www.suebradfordedwards.com  I am also on Facebook and Twitter (@SueBEdwards)