Today, I am so pleased to welcome author Sue Wickstead. Sue seems to be a very busy lady, with lots of exciting things to do. She has written some amazing books, and is also a Patron of Reading. I can’t wait to learn more about her. So, let’s get started!
Firstly, welcome! It is so nice to have you on my blog Sue, and I am sure that anyone who reads this will be really interested in what you do, and the messages you give through your writing and projects.
What would you say your best feature is?
I have always got on well with children and love listening to them.
I enjoy/enjoyed teaching.
I can communicate and connect with children, when I have asked them why they like me they say, ‘because you listen’, and ‘because you are kind’.
I love meeting different children along my supply teaching and author journeys.
Is there anything which you would change about yourself if you could?
Perhaps at times I am too serious and think a little too deeply. I worry about things too much and can be very intense. I can be easily hurt or take things to heart.
My motto is ‘I need time to think’.
What makes you happy?
My children and my family make me happy.
What are you really passionate about?
I do get very intense and focussed if I find something, I am passionate about. Such as the Playbus. I gave my time and energy to helping the Playbus survive and it was also something I loved being involved with.
It helped me when I was a young mum and needed something other than my two lovely children to focus on.
I began by painting the old bus and then became involved with the fund-raising events. It not only made me grow in confidence but opened up a few doors along the way.
You are a Lego Lady. How lovely! Have you always liked Lego?
No. My son had some Lego as a child, which he built and put on display. My daughter loved to play with the pirate ship and in her imaginative play she broke it.
It was then put away in storage. Many years later my daughter and I re-built the pirate ship for my school topic on ‘Pirates’.
My mum also found a big discarded box of Lego in a charity shop. From there my new passion began.
I always tell the children, in the many schools I visit, that I am the ‘Lego Lady’. The children named me that and it is that they remember.
I tell them I play with my Lego when not at school… true.
From there my passion has grown, buying and selling the Lego enables me to pay for the book illustrations and not to have to return full-time to teaching.
My husband and children who laughed at me doing this initially now join in, they are certainly not laughing now.
(I would always do a Jig-saw puzzle in school holidays – to relax – the Lego is just a 3D version I suppose)
What made you write your first book?
I left full time teaching as I had been asked to write the photographic history book about the Playbus, the project having now gone.
I took the time to collate and write the book which was published in 2012.
I was also visiting schools as a supply cover teacher.
I told the children that I was writing the social history book and was surprised to find that the children were curious.
They asked questions and wanted to know: –
What a Playbus was?
How was it different?
What did it do?
This became a story I told and then decided to eventually write it down so that I had both the Fact and Fictional books.
I would tell them in passing and once the non-fiction book was published, I wanted to write a story to go with it.
Fact to fiction.
Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, is the fictional story behind the factual bus. Published in 2014.
A lot of your books have buses in them. They are all great, but can you tell us why?
The first story book is the fictional bus tale which I wanted to go with the ‘Bewbush Playbus’ history book.
I was also asked to write a few more bus stories for a Book bus in Scotland, although the books were written and edited, they were never published. However, ‘Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure’ was indeed one of their stories.
Following the first book in print my daughter suggested there might be other stories to go with some of the fun things we did or were involved in.
So, the story writing continued with links to real buses.
I also add a ‘Real Life Playbus’ page to the back of all my books as I found children and adults still want to know about the real bus.
I have also undertaken work with a local library and it was the librarian who suggested I need to have a bus in my books somewhere as it is my signature.
This was hard when writing the Christmas Story – but it does have a bus of course.
Some of my stories, including A Spooky Tale and the Christmas Play Rehearsal, were stories I wrote when teaching at school.
At the moment my books have a bus somewhere.
How do your author visits get booked?
I did offer author visits to local schools or schools I had visited on supply cover.
But have also taken bookings on requests or referrals.
I charge a small fee which gives signed books for the school library, so that if children can’t buy a book there is a least a book in the school for them to read.
I also leave a copy of my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the supersonic bus’, in every school I visit on my teaching visits when I am the ‘Unexpected Guest’ or surprise author. (In these cases, I am there as a teacher not an author)
Can you please tell us what a Patron of Reading does?
The primary goal of the patron is to promote reading for pleasure, to encourage, inspire and develop a love of books, words and stories.
A Patron of Reading is an author, poet, storyteller or illustrator who works closely with a school over a period of time. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage and develop a reading for pleasure culture in the school: storytelling sessions, book quizzes, blogs, book recommendations, discussions, writing workshops, drama workshops, poetry bashes, blogs, book trailers and visits. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Do your run any workshops?
Over the years on supply I have been asked on occasion to come up with work ideas. This has led to many worksheets and power-point presentation ideas.
(I hope to produce an activity book and smaller information book in the future)
I have undertaken workshops on 3D bus design as well as story writing, depending on the schools requirements.
A visit from an author is indeed a magical opportunity and one the children love (even if I appear unexpectedly).
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Play with my Lego of course!
But also visit Spain. (My books have connections to Morairs, in Spain and I have read them in the local schools there.)
Then I like crocheting, macramé, gardening and seeing my new grandson!
Exciting future news!
Three of my books were entered in a writing competition and all three have been finalists in the ‘Wishing Shelf Book Awards’.
Good luck with that competition. I do hope that you win!
If you want to know more about Sue, or connect with her, here are the links you will need:
Web site : www.suewickstead.co.uk
Amazon .comhttp://amzn.to/2BxvU2l –
Facebook: – Author Page https://www.facebook.com/storiesSue/
Facebook – Playbus page https://www.facebook.com/BewbushPlaybus/
Facebook – teacher page https://www.facebook.com/SupplyTeachingJourney/
Instagram me: https://www.instagram.com/sue-wickstead/
Thank you so much for talking to us Sue.You do a great job, and I am sure that your efforts are much appreciated.