Susan was inspired by the tale of King George, a quiet man who never wanted to be king yet responded to the call of duty in the face of great danger. She tells his story in a rhyming picture book, Bertie: The Best Stuttering King.
Tell us about yourself!
I’ve always been an avid reader. I believe a passion for books and reading is essential to be successful in life.
When I was growing up in the stone age, we didn’t have computers, ebooks, Google, or Wikipedia. We had encyclopedias or we went to the library for a book.
A book was a special, treasured thing. You had to make an effort to seek it out. It was valuable.
That love and respect for the printed word has stayed with me throughout my life. My all-time favorite book growing up was Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book. I still have the taped, dog-eared copy on my bookshelf!
I don’t know of anyone else who has heard of this book, but it is phenomenal. It was the inspiration for me in writing my own book.
Tell us about your picture book.
Bertie: The Best Stuttering King is a picture book about the life of King George VI of England, also known as “Bertie” to his family and friends. It’s written in rhyme–Dr. Seuss style!– for children 7-12.
Although the story revolves about a British king, the themes have global appeal because they deal with universal issues such as bullying, lack of self-esteem, and physical limitations.
Bertie’s story also teaches inspiring lessons of courage, perseverance, dedication, responsibility, and service to others.
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
I hope to reach children and parents who enjoy books that bring history to life in a fun and engaging way. (It would also be wonderful if my rhymes helped children who stutter!)
When I was growing up, history books were dull, dull, dull. It was a slog to get through them. I hope to help change that with this book.
Although it deals with a certain era in history (the 1930’s and 1940’s specifically) and global events, it’s really a story about sibling rivalry, stuttering, and bullying. And how all of these issues are conquered by dear Bertie as he becomes the best king of 20th century England.
I think many people will relate to Bertie’s struggles and hopefully find some inspiration from his story.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
The main character is Bertie, a shy, young prince with a terrible stutter and knock knees who has to wear ugly leg braces.
His older brother, Edward, is lively and dashing. A true prince in every sense of the word.
Then there is a mean old nanny. Bertie’s parents, the king and queen, are also in the book. But they are only minor characters because the princes were raised mostly by nannies.
Cute dogs also make an appearance, as does a wily wizard, two princesses, and a villain in a pink dress!
What inspired you to write this series?
Actually, I saw the movie, The King’s Speech around 2011 and I was hooked!
Who WAS this king?
Why had I never heard of him?
What was he like?
That set me on a decade-long path of research. I discovered that there were dusty old biographies about him on some bookshelves, but nothing written specifically for children.
And when are most people interested in kings and queens, princes and princess? As children!
So that inspired me to write this book and bring Bertie back to life for a new generation of readers.
Additionally, while watching the movie, I learned that speech therapist Lionel Logue used rhyme and tongue twisters with Bertie to control his stutter. I wanted this book to assist young stutterers, so I took Dr. Seuss as inspiration for my rhyme.
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always been interested in the written word. I still can’t keep my hands off books…my family laughs at how I always have my nose stuck in a book in a room full of people!
In college, I majored in Mass Communications, including journalism. I have written countless newsletters and press releases in my prior positions.
I guess it was only natural that at some point in my life, a story would bubble up in me that needed to be told. “Bertie: The Best Stuttering King” is that story!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Follow your dream, nurture it, and make it a reality. If you are passionate about something – anything – it will guide you and carry you through all the twists and turns of the writing process.
What formats are your books available in?
Find them all here (affiliate).