With Children’s Author, Susan Lubner
The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all.
My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.
Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!
Our contestant today writes both middle grade and picture books. Welcome to the ABC Game, Susan Lubner! Her newest middle grade book, LIZZY AND THE GOOD LUCK GIRL is coming out in Fall 2018. Here is a sneak peek at the cover:
And you can pre-order it here on Amazon:
Or pre-order it from you indie bookstore.
Below is a list of Susan’s categories from A – Z and her answers off the top of her head.
DISNEY MOVIE: Toy Story
EVERY CHILD: needs to be loved
FLY, THINGS THAT: pigs!
GAME: Family Feud
JELLY OR JAM: jam
LOST BUT NOW FOUND: my glasses everyday
ODDS OR EVENS: odds
PARADISE: morning coffee anywhere
QUOTE: “You can’t control the wind but you can adjust your sails”
RESTAURANT: small plates
SYNONYM FOR AWESOME: love it
UNUSUAL ANIMAL: elephants
VIBRANT COLOR: violet
WONDER (THINGS YOU WONDER ABOUT): planets
‘X’ word with x in it: exit
YOUNG ADULT BOOK: Eleanor & Park
ME: ELEANOR & PARK has been on my must read list for two years. Have you read it and if so, what did you like about it?
SL: I read it so long ago but I remember the sweetness of the main characters, how kind they were to each other and how endearing it was that what the rest of their “peer world” saw as odd and uncool they saw as the best in each other. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is quirky and wonderful.
ME: I snaughed (a snort-laugh when caught off guard) when I read your newspaper answer…sneeze. Love it! Completely out of the box. Since I ask all contestants to answer off the top of their heads, this didn’t surprise me but made me wonder how you connect the two. Will you elaborate?
SL: Strange but true I am allergic to the ink. Newspapers make me sneeze. Thank heavens for online options, right?
ME: Wow, that is the first time I have heard of that allergy. Please tell us you are writing a story about this unique allergy! Family Feud is known for unique answers as well. Do you play Family Feud with your family or watch the Game Show of it? I often wonder if they survey the same 100 people. If you could choose a question or two to survey for that show, what would they be? [photo credit: markgoodson.wikia.com]
SL; I love watching Family Feud. My husband is not a fan of the show at all. But he does find it very amusing that I find the show LOL amusing! So it’s a win-win for both of us J My question for the show: Name something readers use to mark their place in a book other than a bookmark (MY survey answer would be a greeting card, but I think people might also say, a piece of paper, a paperclip, a recipe card, a grocery receipt…all of which I have used to mark my place one time or another)
ME: Fantastic question, you should e-mail that in to them. They need fresh questions. The ‘chatty’ award is new to me. Or do you mean that if you were to receive an award it would be for being chatty? If so, I may give you a run for the award. 😊
SL: Yes I did mean if I were to win an award I would be a top contender for the Chatty. Actually if I were a family feud question, and they surveyed my friends and family…name something to describe Susan Lubner… Chatty no doubt would be one of the top answers.
ME: To me, chatty = never boring, so well done! Is there something specific you wonder about when you think of planets?
SL: Spinning. It freaks me out a bit because what if they just stopped? Or just one of them did? I read up on why and how planets spin on their axis (and rotate around the sun) and if I really think about what’s happening up there it is hard to wrap my mind around how it’s all possible even with the scientific explanation. How the planets and stars and the sun just stay up there like that all the time! Most of us probably don’t stop and think on a regular basis how amazing it all really is. But whenever there’s a big gorgeous moon or an especially starry sky to see that’s where my mind goes.
ME: I admit, I have never given it much though until I read your answer. I’ve been looking at the sky with a whole new admiration since. That said, my imagination is running wild with what would happen should they stop spinning.
Disney oozes imagination, like Toy Story! Let’s say Disney put you in charge of coming up with a new movie idea for them; what idea would you give them?
SL: Gosh, is there an idea Disney hasn’t thought of? Let me see…One of my favorite books as a child was Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal. That would make a great movie…we could get the back story on the mother bear and Little Bear…how they ended up on Blueberry Hill in the first place; did the baby have any siblings, maybe Little Sal’s mother and Little Bear’s mother form a bond? And Maine is such a great setting (my two middle grade novels are set in Maine). There’d be a subplot of course, a mean trapper that’s after the bears (this sounds dark but so (is) Disney, right?). And Sal of course would save them. J Blueberries for Sal the sequel could start out when the bears wake from hibernation…a whole new adventure with Sal. This one would have land developers that want to level the forest… the bears’ home and all the blueberry bushes, too. Little Sal would once again save the day.
ME: Hopefully someone at @Disney will read this post. My mind is reeling in the stories you have set up right now. And to continue your idea making prowess, using some of your category answers and off the top of your head, please give us a synopsis of a children’s story. It can be zany, doesn’t have to make sense, can be sad, happy, etc. Then if allowed, can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
SL: In a warm African Jungle, Owl and Elephant are happily chatting while enjoying their morning coffee, small plates of scones with jam and watching a beautiful violet sunrise. Their peaceful morning is suddenly shattered by the squealing and snorting of flying pigs. Not believing what he thinks he’s seeing, Owl searches for his glasses which are never where he thinks he put them. Elephant is outraged by the disturbance. He quickly calls for his zebra friends, Eleanor and Park to come have a look at what’s going on. The Zebra’s snazzy stripes have a dizzying effect on the flying pigs and they begin to fly into the trees, breaking branches and dropping odd numbers of fruit to the ground. What makes matters worse is Park’s lavender aftershave, which is overwhelming and causing the pigs to sneeze violently at each other. This seems to upset the pigs and soon there is an out of control family feud. They accuse each other of reckless flying, and spraying grossly on each other with each sneeze. Eleanor has an idea and runs to retrieve her violin. When she returns she begins to play, first Stevie Nick’s Planets of the Universe, and when that has no effect, the theme from Toy Story, You Got a Friend in Me. Which works like a charm. When the pigs finally calm down, they are able to explain that they had ended up in the Jungle by accident. They had simply taken a wrong exit on their way to the farm. And they are sorry for the disturbance. That apology gets Owl and Elephant thinking about things differently. Perhaps they shouldn’t be so bothered by the pigs. After all, they can’t control the wind but they can adjust their sails. So they offer the pigs some coffee and scones. And pigs being pigs, they finish everything off. Owl and Elephant realize, the pigs just need to be loved. All the animals take a bunch of photos to post on Junglebook (Not that Jungle Book. The Jungle’s version of Facebook) Owl being so smart, begins drafting a story about flying pigs. Later on when the pigs and Eleanor and Park are gone, Elephant reads Owl’s first draft. “I Love it.” He says. And all is well.
So that was really fun to write! And maybe it’s what I should be working on for my next book J
I am excited, too, for my middle grade novel Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl (Running Press Kids/Hachette Books) which is due out in November 2018. Right now I am currently drafting a new middle grade novel. I don’t like to talk too much about what I’m writing mainly because it’s very likely to change. Most often what I start out writing ends up being quite different. I will say though that like my other two novels, this book is set in Maine. And the main character is 11 year old Bree who lives with her single parent dad. And there’s chocolate J
ME: I’m in for reading all of your books. 😊 As for your synopsis, love it!! May you choose to pursue it as a book 😉 And thank you for playing the ABC Game with us today.
Look for these other books by Susan Lubner:
You can follow Susan Here:
Facebook: Susan Lubner Children’s Author
Readers, thank you for stopping by today! Have a terrific weekend everyone. 😊