preloader image

Author Interview: Susan H. Hines

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Holly Connors is talking with Susan H. Hines, author of Buckley's Family Fishing Trip.

FQ: Before asking questions about your book, I like to get to know the author. Please tell us (and our readers) a little bit about yourself - your background, what led you to want to become an author, and why children's books.

HINES: Hello, I'm Susan H. Hines, the owner of TJP Publications and the author of the Buckley children's book series. I am a lifelong learner who holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL and earned multiple advanced degrees in Business Administration and Information Systems. Additionally, I am a certified IT Project Manager with a background in supporting early childhood education in daycare systems. My commitment to continuous learning enables me to stay updated on technologies, enhancing my interactions with children. Staying informed about current trends highlights my dedication to early literacy goals. I have a 10-year-old grandson and currently live in the Atlanta Metropolitan area with my husband, Edward, and our Standard Schnauzer, Sir Winston Buckley, who is the main character in the Buckley Children Book Series.

FQ: I noticed from reading your bio, your Amazon page, etc., that early childhood education is very important to you. Where did this passion come from?

HINES: Growing up as the youngest among eight siblings has immersed me in a world of young children throughout my life. Actively taking part in the upbringing of my twenty-three nieces and nephews has shaped my perspective. I strongly believe that being around children keeps one youthful at heart, adventurous spirit and enables your inner child to explore boundless possibilities. Having a nurturing environment where learning is encouraged is crucial before the world's influences take hold of a child. Reflecting on my childhood, I cherished reading, creating, and performing adventure stories with my best friend Jennifer and my beloved rag doll Penelope. Our backyard escapades fueled our imaginative journeys. As an adult, I still enjoy creating stories and skits, which enables me to keep the spirit of adventure alive. and immerses me in a realm of creativity, evoking the comforting nostalgia of childhood. Writing has been a lifelong passion, highlighting my vivid imagination and artistic expression. A standout memory includes watching Star Wars with my family, igniting a creative spark that led to reenacting scenes at home. Reciting movie lines in front of the mirror, often with the help of my siblings, helped me keep details in a light-hearted and enjoyable manner. The magic of words and their musical harmony, enabling me to conjure vivid mental imagery, remains a source of endless fascination.

FQ: In line with my last question, you state on your website that it's important for you to help develop "early literacy skills and enhance their imagination..." I truly believe that excellent quality children's books and parents reading to their children on a regular basis is very important. Why do you think so many parents leave the learning up to the child's phone or tablet? What would you tell parents about the importance of reading to their children?

HINES: The progression of technology has undoubtedly brought convenience, yet one must question its implications. What is the price we pay? This is a question I often ponder. I believe that certain aspects, no matter how convenient, cannot replace the value of human interactions. This belief was reinforced when I stumbled upon a TED Talk by Molly Wright, a 7-year-old, titled "How Every Child Can Thrive by Five." Wright presented compelling examples illustrating the significance of parental engagement through activities like playing, talking, and sharing laughter in a child's learning and growth. She emphasized that these early interactions are vital for a child's brain development, enabling them to reach their full potential. Five key areas highlighted by Wright for parent-child interaction are connecting, communicating, playing, keeping a healthy home environment, and engaging with the community. Children receive help from activities like mimicking games that foster connections, naming games that enhance focus and attention, and interactive games like peek-a-boo that aid in memory and trust-building. Such interactions instill life skills, nurture trust, and are essential for navigating the world.

Early and frequent engagement with children is crucial. When children are deprived of parental attention due to excessive use of technology, their young minds can become disoriented. A child cannot feel secure and at ease when attention is diverted elsewhere. Establishing connections is crucial for fostering confidence, encouraging exploration, and trying new things.

If young Molly Wright can eloquently articulate the significance of connection, why do so many parents overlook these vital steps? The rapid pace of work and increasing demands on parents lead to overwhelming situations where the focus shifts from the child to various distractions and responsibilities. Placing a child in front of a device may seem like a safe and quick fix for parents looking for a moment of relaxation. Technology offers benefits and can serve as an educational tool, but, there must be a balance between the two, as technical devices can never solely replace the profound connection essential for a child's healthy brain development.

FQ: Now on to Buckley's Family Fishing Trip! This was such a fun book to read/review. First, I have to ask - is Buckley a real dog? If so, is he one of your dogs? Would you tell us a little about him?

HINES: I appreciate your kind words and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the exciting story of Buckley’s Family fishing Trip. Buckley is not just a fictional character; he is a cherished member of our family. As the inspiration behind the Buckley children's book series, his full name is Sir Winston Buckley Hines, affectionately known as "Buckley." This 4-year-old Standard Schnauzer hails from a prestigious lineage of AKC show dogs. Buckley adores interacting with people but can get easily distracted. His remarkable intelligence shines through in his affectionate and childlike demeanor. Curious and playful, he craves attention and loves going for walks, always expecting the next adventure.

FQ: Buckley is a Busy Boy was your first book about Buckley. Would you tell our readers a little about Buckley's first adventure?

HINES: After closely observing Buckley's daily routine, I noticed his consistent behaviors and his passion for adopting healthy habits, enjoying the outdoors, and cherishing family connections. He naturally took on the role of the household alarm clock, rising at 5 am to kickstart everyone's day. Following his morning rituals of breakfast and grooming, he enthusiastically heads out to the backyard for new adventures and squirrel chasing. Sometimes, he pauses to watch the trees sway in the wind or the birds soaring above, displaying a calm and adaptable demeanor. My aim in capturing his vibrant personality in this book is to share his experiences with young readers, inspiring them to seek adventure in their daily activities, embrace creativity and connections, and show structured routines for a joyful day of playful learning. This adventure book uses simple rhyming techniques and sight words to help develop basic vocabulary skills.

FQ: Why make fishing the focus of Buckley's second adventure? Is fishing a passion of yours? Is it an activity you share with family or friends?

HINES: I selected the Fishing Day tale to introduce fresh characters to the series. The story is inspired by a real fishing trip at the lake. My family loves fishing, and I join them to see and unwind. The serenity of nature outdoors is truly calming. Watching my husband and grandson fish fills me with happiness, especially when they feel a fish bite. We laugh when the fish and turtles slyly steal the worms from the line, and they only reel in a twig. However, the excitement is palpable when they do manage to hook a fish. These moments never fail to thrill everyone, including Buckley. However, it's common for them to catch and then release the fish.

FQ: As I mentioned in my review, while the focus of the story is fishing, you impart lessons in problem-solving (how to find the worms) as well as sharing time with family and friends. These are life lessons that are so important for children to learn. How do you decide what lessons to include in your stories? Do you decide before writing the story what to focus on or do these things come to you as you write?

HINES: When brainstorming story ideas, I find inspiration in life events. Observing and experiencing these moments allows me to infuse my stories with emotions. As I put pen to paper, the words flow, creating a captivating narrative. Problem-solving becomes part of the adventure. I've discovered that life is simple, yet we tend to overcomplicate it by overthinking.

In Buckley’s Family Fishing Trip, I emphasize the importance of planning to achieve a common goal. The book focuses on spending quality time together outdoors while fishing. Through a checklist, the story illustrates how planning steps can lead to a successful fishing trip. By highlighting teamwork and cooperation, the book conveys the message that together, we can conduct more.

FQ: As an author, doing events and meeting "your public" is an important part of marketing your books. I see that you've done quite a few. What do you enjoy most about your school visits and other events? Do you have any fun stories about the children they meet and their reactions to Buckley?

HINES: Engaging with students during Author and Career Day visits at schools brings me immense joy. Witnessing how children connect with the book, take part eagerly in Storytime, and try to guess the rhyming sentences is truly heartwarming. The Q&A sessions are special as they give an opportunity for the students to offer feedback on the book, share their likes, and suggest what they hope to see Buckley do next. Their anticipation for the next edition and inquiries about my return always bring a smile to my face, knowing the positive impact I am making on their lives. During my recent visit, the School Counselor shared feedback that students who previously showed little interest in reading or writing are now trying to construct sentences and create stories inspired by Buckley. This feedback deeply touched me. After our Storytime session, a student even inquired if I would come back next year and visit him in the next grade. Seeing children lining up with blank sheets of paper, eager for a personalized Buckley paw stamp and the author's autograph, is simply adorable.

FQ: I just discovered your Buckley merchandise! Sooo cute! I love T-shirts and the Buckley stuffie is the best! Have they proven popular with readers? I have to believe that kids would absolutely love having their own Buckley as they read his books.

HINES: Children adore having their own Buckley merchandise and reading with their Buckley Buddy, a plush toy that offers comfort and companionship. Additionally, they can collect Buckley patches by reading, which is a hit among the Girl and Boy Scouts. The appeal of Buckley merchandise extends beyond kids, as my books emphasize the value of family. I aimed to cater to everyone with the Buckley merchandise range, promoting shared experiences with family and friends. From Grandpa's coffee mug to Sister's water bottle tumblers, and unisex tees for both adults and kids, there's something for everyone. Even a frisbee is included for playing fetch with your dog if you have one.

FQ: What is next up for Buckley? Have you started working on his next adventure, and if so, would you share with us a little preview? And/or are you working on another book going in a different direction (another children's book series, or a different genre)?

HINES: Yes, I am working on Buckley’s next adventure, I am gearing this book to the young middle grade students, as I hope for the Buckley books to grow with our readers. The next book will be Buckley’s backstory of how he came to be, the pressures he face from being a descent of prestigious show dogs and how a setback caused him to have to find his own way into the spotlight. How he overcomes challenges, makes friends, learns the importance of being his authentic self and he uncovers his superpowers, which helps him to develop leadership skills a path that leads him to own rewards.

Read the Review

Feathered Quill

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

Copyrights © 2023 Feathered Quill Reviews All Rights Reserved. | Designed & Developed by