Ten Minutes with Susan Hood
An Award-Winning Children’s Book Author
Photo by Stan Godlewski
Susan Hood published her first children’s book in 2012, but she was hardly a newcomer to children’s publishing. Her long career in the field included editorial stints with Scholastic book clubs, Sesame Workshop, Harcourt, and Nick Jr. magazine. A longtime resident of Fairfield, Hood also writes for publications such as The New York Times and Working Mother. Her latest picture book for kids, The Fix-It Man (Harper Collins), will be released in November.
Tell us about your life here.
I’ve lived here most of my life. I married my hometown sweetheart and after a few years in New York, we moved back here with our two daughters. My father-in-law, Dr. Bill Kueffner, is a beloved former pediatrician who lived in town for more than 67 years. So our Fairfield roots go way back.
What’s your newest children’s book all about?
The Fix-It Man is about Joshua James, a little boy in a hardhat and tool belt who loves to tinker and invent contraptions with his little sister Sophie. With wonderful mixed media art by Arree Chung, of Ninja fame, it’s perfect for Maker-spaces and creative problem-solving.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a children’s book author?
Most people think authors and illustrators collaborate closely with each other, but in fact, you may never meet. That’s one reason picture books are so difficult to write.
What are you working on?
Double Take comes out in June, and I’m working on my first middle-grade novel. Lifeboat 12 is based on a little-known World War II story I discovered in my British mother-in-law’s childhood letters.
What makes being a children’s book author so worthwhile?
Meeting kids at libraries, school visits, and book festivals. I also love the discoveries you make as an author. I never knew about axolotls, the Tooth Mouse, or the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Friends and I once crewed a 38-foot sloop from Tortola to Connecticut. Three days out we lost power, lights, and navigation. We charted our course using a handheld sextant and the stars.
Where would we find you relaxing and not working?
France, Italy, China, Belize, Maine, NYC, or sailing our J36 that we own with another couple. Favorite vacations are when I can combine travel, sailing, and writing.
Favorite places to eat in Fairfield?
The Driftwood or the Blue Bird Inn for breakfast. For dinner, I like little ethnic restaurants like Coromandel, Safita, and one I’m keeping all to myself.
Who are some up and coming authors?
Sarah Albee, Arree Chung, Eric and Terry Fan. I’m looking forward this fall to Melissa Sweet’s picture book biography of E. B. White called Some Writer.
What are some books you think every child should read?
Mother Goose, Miss Rumphius, The Quiet Book, My Father’s Dragon, Charlotte’s Web, Because of Winn-Dixie, The One and Only Ivan, Wonder, and The Book Thief. I could go on and on and on.