1) Describe your journey to becoming an author.
My journey towards becoming an author began from the memories captured during my childhood spent daydreaming in a small shop located in the middle of a big city. As a little girl, I was raised in a family owned, wholesale flower business situated in the Back Bay of Boston where I spent every Saturday morning from the age of five to thirty, enjoying the extraordinary blooms imported from countries around the world. My idea for my first book came from a flower which actually held the scent of chocolate. Using the magnificent colors, shapes and smells surrounding me, I began to envision fantasy lands which coupled with my love of writing poetry, eventually became my children's book series, The Beantown Tales.
2) Where do you find your inspiration to write?
The inspiration to write these stories stemmed from many places including a desire to strengthen the demand of specialty flowers sold from independent flower shops as well as to encourage brainstorming and problem solving skills from kids towards important issues facing communities. In all honesty though, my greatest source would have to be from my two sons, Lance and Ryan. There isn't anywhere on earth where a writer can find a stronger origin of inspiration for their children's books other than through a young person's imagination.
3) Please tell us about your children’s book series, The Beantown Tales.
The Beantown Tales is a collection of children's books written to educate readers about important issues concerning the three main elements of the earth: the environment, humanitarian kindness and endangered animal preservation. All stories possess adventurous worlds as well as child-friendly flowers which aim to entertain and tantalize tummies while empowering young minds to make a change.
The first two books within the Green segment of the collection are The Land of Chocolate Cosmos (December 2010) and The Popcorn Hydrangea of Poppingtom (September 2011). The Land of Chocolate Cosmos is a story focusing on the environmental issue of preserving our natural resources by revealing a tale about a community distraught when their chocolate making flower, the chocolate cosmos, becomes abused and overused. As the flower begins to become endangered, the magic of the petals disappears leaving the town without their beloved chocolate.
Both books are illustrated by Kevin Coffey who has produced pictures for Jerry Remy's Wally the Green Monster books and has also worked as an animator for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" film. The series has recently become award winning, earning "Green Book of 2011" from The Greenschools of Massachusetts and an "Honorable Mention" from The 2011 New England Book Festival. Both children's books have also appeared and received accreditation from the popular floral publications, Floral Management (December 2011) and Flowers& (January 2012).
4) Describe how you chose your publisher.
My publisher and I found one another under unusual circumstances. I wrote The Land of Chocolate Cosmos within two weeks and showed it to my husband, Rick, who sent it through an email to a few of his friends, who sent it to a few of their friends, and so on. Another two weeks later, I received a phone call from the Mascot Books CEO, Naren Aryl, who invited the story to their line of books. Unorthodox as it may seem, sometimes fate will bring you to just the right place where you've always dreamed of being.
5) What other books have you written?
Besides The Beantown Tales series, I have also written a wedding eBook called Walking Down the Cobblestone Aisles of Boston which can be found on "Exotic Flowers" website (http://www.exoticflowers.com) as well as articles for The Examiner, The Patch, and several business websites. I am also in the midst of completing my first murder mystery novel which is really what I have always wanted to write.
6) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
Social media has been an absolute must for a couple of reasons. For one, this form of advertising is free, making it imperative to utilize when managing budgets and profit margins. Second, these sites are expansive, bringing your words, ideas, and visions to unimaginable places, increasing aspects of sales, exposure and your chances of success. You just never know who is watching or reading which in this case is a great thing!
I've also had overwhelming support from friends and family who have been the driving force behind the series. Signings, fan pages, holiday book buying-- not one of these areas would have ever been successful without their help.
7) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?
My plans for 2012 include the third Beantown Tales release, The Candy Roses of Cape Care which will complete the Green segment this summer. The story is themed after the issue of water pollution when an enchanted coastline which flourishes with candy growing roses is nearly destroyed when unwanted tourists litter the shore with candy wrappers. So far, this is my favorite story as it takes place in my favorite area of the world, the BEACH!
8) What is your definition of success as an author?
Success can come in many forms for many different authors. For some, it's a crowded book signing, a long list of retailers carrying their name or a generous royalty check received in the mail. For me, it's when a letter arrives from a young reader who wants to start a recycling box at home because they feel that they can make a difference or when I visit a school and the kids ask me to teach them, not about how I write my books but how they can write their own. Their excitement is incredible. There really is no better measurement of success than that for me.
9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
The first and last thing that I tell my writing students is that Dr. Seuss was rejected from publication 27 times before his manuscript was accepted for publication. If Dr. Seuss had given up, where would we all be now? You can't ever give up, just keep trying!
Suzie Hearl Canale grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Salem State College. She began writing as a children's book author after a twenty-five year career in the wholesale floral industry in Boston where she was inspired by flowers named after child friendly foods. She developed the concept of The Beantown Tales which are series of books geared towards educating children to make positive changes within the key concerns of our society. Suzie is the recent recipient of the Green Difference Award for Green Book of 2011 by the Massachusetts Green Schools Organization as well as an Honorable Mention in the 2011 New England Book Festival children's division for her first installment of the Green Series, The Land of Chocolate Cosmos.
As she continues her career by writing books, articles and blogs for online websites, magazines and local businesses, she is also busily raising her two sons and volunteering for the Mass Bay American Red Cross chapter as a member of the Disaster Relief division.