Susan Hood - Author

Susan Hood is the author of more than 200 children's books, including Tickly Toes, The Tooth Mouse (winner of ReadBoston's 2013 Best Read Aloud Book Award) and a series of ten Pup and Hound beginning readers for Kids Can Press.

Before becoming a full-time author, Susan was the Children's Content Director for Nick Jr. Magazine and a book editor at Sesame Street and Scholastic. She has written for parents in the New York Times, Working Mother magazine and more.

When not writing, Susan enjoys sailing with her husband from her home in Southport, Connecticut, to ports along the New England coast. Many ideas for new books come from those days sailing the ocean blue. Six more picture books are in the works!

Brooklyn, New York.

January 21st.

Where do you live?
Southport, Connecticut.

Who is in your family?
My husband, Paul, and my two daughters, Emily and Allison.

Do you have any pets?
A small golden lab we got from the pound. Her name is Hollie.

What is your favorite book?
I have so many! Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt is one. William Steig, Roald Dahl and Kate DiCamillo are other favorite children's book authors. Adult books I love are The Poisonwood Bible, Iron and Silk, Angela's Ashes and The Wild Swans, to name a few.

What is your favorite movie?
I like old Hitchcock movies, The Princess Bride, Shrek, and so many more!

What are your hobbies?
Sailing, skiing, reading, bicycling and gardening.

When did you start writing?
I didn't start writing until I was a teenager, but I always read a lot. The local librarian told my mom that I was the youngest child in our town to have a library card.

What was your schooling or training?
I graduated from Smith College.

How did you get involved with children's books?
I was lucky to get a job with Scholastic a few weeks after I graduated from college. I was a junior editorial assistant. Not an editorial assistant --- a junior editorial assistant!

What is the thing that you like the most about creating children's books?
I like seeing where the characters will go and what they will do. I don't always know in the beginning.

Where do you work?
In a small, sunny room at a quiet end of my house. One whole wall has floor-to-ceiling bookcases where I keep my favorite children's books. There are lots of windows and a French door that leads outside to a little porch, where I work when it gets warm outside. Hollie usually keeps me company.

How do you create your stories?
I look for funny moments all around me. We just went to Venice and I saw a four-year-old girl proudly clutching a pigeon to her chest as she headed down a narrow side street off the Piazza San Marco. Her parents were walking right behind her and they had no idea what she was bringing home! There's a story there!

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Yes, four.
1) Don't be afraid to start. Every writer, young and old, knows it can be scary to look at that blank piece of paper or blank computer screen. Your first sentence doesn't have to be perfect. Just jump in. Start anywhere and just get something going. You can always go back and fix it later.
2) Read lots of books, all kinds of books. Read your favorites again and again. Once you know the story, you can begin to look at the structure of the book, how the story builds, the words the author chooses.
3) Write about something you know a lot about. If you're a soccer player, write about that. If you have a pet snake, write about that.
4) Read your finished story out loud. Things your eye doesn't catch, your ear will. Do the words sound right? Does your story flow?

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My brother and I had a special place we used to go to way up at the top of the steep hill behind our house. We called it --- very originally --- the Secret Rock. It was a little dangerous, because it stuck out a bit from the hill and there was a sheer drop underneath. You had to grab a tree branch and swing up onto it. It was scary, but once on top we felt pretty proud of ourselves.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballerina.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
Pup and Hound were originally based on things I remembered about the many dogs my family owned when I was growing up --- Melody (a cocker spaniel), Casey (an Irish setter), Skipper (a beagle), Brandy (a Rottweiler mix). As I write the books now, I get a lot of real-life inspiration from Hollie and her friend Tucker, a pug puppy with attitude.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you have ever had?
My most interesting job is the one I have now as an editor of Nick Jr. Family Magazine. I get to work with some amazing authors and illustrators --- Calef Brown, David Kirk, Eric Carle.

The Tooth Mouse

2013 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association, Short-listed
2013 - CCBC Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Commended
2013 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2013 - Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street Children's Book Committee, Winner
2013 - Best Read Aloud Book Award, Read Boston, Winner
2012 - PAL Award, Winner