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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

3 Question Interview - SANDRA SUTTER

I'm thrilled to feature my critique partner, dear friend, and fellow #20/20VisionPB member Sandra Sutter on my blog today. Last year, I interviewed Sandra about her rollicking debut picture book, THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL (check that out here). Sandra's adorable new picture book, STAN'S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN, is a howling good time. It's perfect for this Halloween season and beyond! Read on for Sandra's inspiration - a "what if" question from her young son - and for Sandra's thoughts about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Sandra!

STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.

I am delighted to be here again, Melissa! Thank you for having me back to share the inspiration behind STAN’S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN and the team of creative talent who came together to make this fun book.

Stan began like many of my story ideas do … by answering questions about the world around me. The questions might concern real or fictional subjects. There are no rules! In this case, my son asked, “What if a werewolf jumped off a telephone pole and broke its leg?”

Clearly, I had never thought about werewolves breaking legs before. And it is probably something publisher Callie Metler-Smith at Clear Fork Publishing had never thought of either. But fortunately, Callie liked how I answered this all important question, and she loved the quirky, clumsy character that emerged from the story.

Callie pulled the talented Mira Reisberg on board to edit and art direct the project, and right away Mira thought of Chantelle and Burgen Thorne as potential illustrators. We had successfully paired together for my debut picture book, THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL, so I knew Chantelle and Burgen’s playful style and gorgeous use of color would be the perfect fit. With Mira’s expert guidance, and feedback from all involved, Stan became what can only be described as the most adorable werewolf you have ever seen.

CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?

Like many others out there, this year has brought a host of challenges to staying creative and finding time to showcase this part of my life. It is frustrating, but also a lesson in patience and acceptance. I have to remind myself that creativity comes in many forms, not just through writing, drawing, or painting. The projects I did with my kids while schooling from home last spring were largely creative pursuits. Making Earth Day sugar cookies, hiking the bog trail to discuss lessons about wetlands, scavenger hunts for spring surprises, and Monet-style watercolor paintings. These were all creative play! I also enjoy designing jewelry (total amateur!), playing the piano, and helping my daughter with her MANY crafting projects.

CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?

This has been another challenge in 2020. But there are still opportunities to connect with readers and members of the KidLit community. Virtual book readings and classroom visits, social media, and critique or book giveaways are a few ways. I also host the Pitch it to Me Challenge on The Wonder of Words Blog with a group of fabulous critique partners which is a great way to support both emerging and more established authors. Make sure to check it out and vote on your favorite pitch at:


Sandra is the award-winning author of THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL (Spork, 2019), a modern, gender-bending take on the popular children's song; and STAN’S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN (Spork, 2020), a spookily fun story of a clumsy, but determined young werewolf. She is a member of SCBWI, 12x12, and is an assistant with the Children’s Book Academy. When not writing, Sandra is a mountain-biking mom and jewelry-making hobbyist with a knack for finding life's silver linings.



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1 Comment

Jolene Gutiérrez, Author
Jolene Gutiérrez, Author
Oct 06, 2020

Congratulations, Sandra! I'm so excited to get my copy--it looks amazing and I can't wait to share it with my students this Halloween! Stan IS the most adorable werewolf I've ever seen! <3

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