Susan Phelan is an author of children’s fiction. Her middle grade book Miss Classified, published by Chicken Scratch Books, explores the world through the eyes of a child with ADHD.
“I see life through the lens of story. As a little girl my mom would get me to finish dinner by telling me to eat the green pea soldiers before they got to the top of the mashed potato mountain. My Irish grandfather told me stories of how he fought the Indians and I bought everything hook, line, and sinker. I devoured books, stopping at the library across from school to pick up the next in whatever series I was working through – in order of course.
If you want to teach me something – tell me a story.
Writing fiction didn’t occur to me until my youngest was in preschool. I got something in my head that wouldn’t leave. No idea what it was, I thought the only way to get it out of my brain was to write it down. Turns out it was a rough draft for a lyrical picture book. And that was the beginning of my writing journey.
Some people ask where writers come up with ideas. Most of us have too many with lists and notebooks and computer documents full of them. Often our problem is sticking with one idea until it’s finished because the muddling middles of writing the story can be a rough slog.
One piece of writing advice most people have heard is to write what you know. I took that advice when I began my debut novel, Miss Classified, and wrote about a junior high girl with undiagnosed ADHD. Although my kids didn’t take the same journey as Blythe does in the story, three of them were diagnosed with ADHD, one not until junior high.
The book took many years of editing to become what it is today, my major problem being that I hate being mean to my protagonist. And because of that I kept getting her out of trouble way too soon. My other big problem was imposter syndrome – making me think I was wasting my time with my ‘little stories.’ But when I found Chicken Scratch books, my story was ready and it felt like a perfect fit.
Besides writing in many genres, including screenplays, I tell stories though film acting. I love family, animals, and my relationship with Christ.
I see life through the lens of story. Blythe sees her life through the lens of her Polaroid camera. How do you see life and how does it color your world?”
Click on the links below for more from this versatile author.
some old author interviews:
(my favorite person to interview was Micky Dolenz of the Monkees)
some fun videos I’ve done: