This week on Author Spotlight, we talk to Susan Logan, author of the Dorrance children’s book The Christmas Ghost Boy. The book centers on a couple who move shortly before Christmas. Their new home is haunted by the ghost of a sad young boy who they hope to make happy again for the holidays.
Susan talked to us about what it was like writing and illustrating the book, as well as some of her other favorite books!
Susan J. Logan
The Christmas Ghost Boy
Describe your book in 10 words or less.
An exciting children’s story with a sweet Christmas message.
What made you want to write your children’s book?
I had originally made it up orally for my grandchildren and they liked it. I love to write and draw so I proceeded to make it into a book.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Well, it’s a process. A day to write it out, rewriting over several years on occasion, while working on other stories as well. Then at the urging of my daughter I drew the illustrations and completed it. I had no idea what to do next, so I had it copyrighted. Then I heard from Dorrance!
What do you do when you have writer’s block?
Stop and wait for the muse to return.
What was your favorite part to write and why?
The building of the suspense, and creating the children’s confidence in what they were discovering. Also, getting the wording at the ending just right. Why? Well, I guess when you feel you’ve nailed it it’s exhilarating!
What was it like completing your illustrations?
I was my own illustrator. I love to draw and I had the pictures in my mind. I worked hard on getting the children’s expressions to coordinate and enhance the storyline. I also found it challenging to make the ghost boy and his merging with his ‘toys’ into the sunshine. Also, since the story happens over several days I had to be accurate (e.g. matching the kids clothes to the right day.)
If you were stuck on a desert island and had to take just one person from each category who would they be and why?
–A friend or family member
My husband, Kim, because he would be the best companion. (AND if anyone could figure out how to get us rescued it would be him!)
–One fictional character
Natasha from War and Peace because she is a joyful caring soul and yet fascinating by being from such a different place and time.
–One famous person, alive or deceased
Wallace Stegnor. It would be the perfect opportunity for a writing workshop with the mentor I would be most thrilled to have.
Besides writing, what are some of your hobbies?
Reading, drawing, cooking, gardening, swimming, socializing.
What did you enjoy most about working with Dorrance?
They were great! Especially the personal assistants assigned to me along the process, starting with the encouraging, warm and wise Brenda. Thank you!
What are your favorite books of all time?
War and Peace
Angle of Repose
Gone with the Wind
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
As far as children’s books, there are so so many but these definitely are in my top picks:
The Maggie B – by Irene Haas
Pierre – by Maurice Sendak
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble – by William Stieg
Madeline- by Ludwig Bemelmans
When We Were very Young – by A.A. Milne
If you were to give advice to someone who wanted to write a children’s book, what would it be?
The best advice I’ve ever received came from a concert pianist and composer. She told me “It’s more about the process than the result. Just keep working at it.”
To add to that I would say: Formulas are for chemists. Be true to your own voice and ideas. Believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities.
What do you hope your readers will take from this book?
An exciting story, and an enhanced understanding of the joy of giving.
Thank you, Susan!
You can purchase The Christmas Ghost Boy at the Dorrance Bookstore – use code JINGLE for 25% off!
Have a Christmas children’s tale you’d like to publish? Contact us!