Ask the Author: Suzanne Nelson
What would you like readers to know about you?
I want readers to know that they are the reason why I write. I write in hopes that my words will resonant with my readers, give them comfort and joy, and let them know that they’re not alone in their feelings or conflicts. When I was a teenager, one of the main reasons that I loved reading was because books left me with a certainty that I was not alone. Even though a character’s world or challenges might be different from mine, our experiences with our friends, families, feelings, and worlds connected us. In books, we find connection. My books are my way of connecting with my readers. I’m so grateful for each and every one of my readers, and for the gift that they give me by reading my books.
Also, I want readers to know that I love elephants, chocolate, music, and the scent of freshly-fallen rain. In fact, one of my most recent books, A Tale Magnolious, has an elephant as one of the main characters, and rain, chocolate, and even music (admittedly of a rather unusual sort) all play roles in the book, too.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
You’re Bacon Me Crazy is a fast-paced, fun read about first-crushes, food trucks, and one fantastically fabulous BLT sandwich. Main character Tessa works at her aunt Cleo’s trendy food truck, helping to serve up delicious, eclectic sandwiches to customers while inventing mouth-watering recipes of her own. But when Asher, a boy from Tessa’s middle school, starts working at the truck, too, he and Tessa clash over everything! At first, popular Asher seems arrogant and spoiled, but Tessa has to look past her initial impressions of him to uncover who he really is. Once she does that, her feelings for him begin to change. When the city’s biggest food truck competition is canceled, Tessa has to fight to help Aunt Cleo’s beloved food truck survive. She and Asher have to work together to save Cleo’s business, but they just might fall for each other in the process.
You’re Bacon Me Crazy is the second book in my foodie romance line of books for Scholastic, Inc. The line began with Cake Pop Crush, and the ninth book, Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life, will come out this September. The books are for 4th grade readers and up. What’s great about the foodie line is that all of the books have different characters and storylines, so they can be read independently of one another and in any order.
I’m especially excited right now because You’re Bacon Me Crazy has been adapted into a movie for the Hallmark Channel. The movie, which focuses on adult character Cleo’s foodie rivalry with fellow food truck owner Gabe, premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, April 4th at 9 P.M./8 Central. I’m a huge fan of the Hallmark Channel, and I’m thrilled to watch Cleo’s story unfold in the movie. The movie is family-friendly, so readers and their families can watch and enjoy it together. To celebrate the upcoming movie, I’ve posted a number of bacon-themed recipes on my author blog, as well a how-to for launching a parent-child book club. Readers can visit my website at www.suzannenelson.com to explore the recipes and fun foodie activities. For more information about the movie, visit: https://www.hallmarkchannel.com/youre-bacon-me-crazy. For more information about the book or to purchase it, visit: https://www.suzannenelson.com/books/youre-bacon-me-crazy/.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
When you ask about inspiration, what else can I possibly say besides, “Bacon?” Ha ha. Who wouldn’t want to write a book about all of the delicious recipes you can cook up with bacon? Bacon and chocolate…you can’t go wrong with either one.
Seriously, though, what inspired me to write this book was wanting to create two strong heroines in Tessa and Cleo. The niece/aunt duo make quite an indomitable force. Tessa is strong-willed and determined to help save her aunt’s business, and Cleo is a truly unique young woman who’s built her own small business from the ground up. I come from a long line of women who are strong, stubborn, and fiercely independent. I hope to convey elements of that in all of my heroines.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
There’s one scene in You’re Bacon Me Crazy where Asher and Tessa get into a food fight. That was a lot of fun to write. There’s also a sweet moment that Asher and Tessa share on a rooftop garden overlooking the city of San Francisco. Confession: I’m a romantic at heart and such a sucker for meet-cutes and near-kisses. When I was in middle school, envisioning my first slow dance or first kiss was always fun, and that’s a big part of what I try to capture in these foodie books, that butterfly-in-the-stomach flutter of an innocent first crush.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
When I was younger, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery. Anne was an aspiring writer, like me, and I was so inspired by her tenacity and exuberance. Her outlook on life and the world has always been one I’ve sought to emulate: To relish the beauty of life, humanity, and the world and try to make the most out of every single day. There is so much negativity in the world right now, so much anger and tragedy. Having a reason to hope and feel grateful for life is so important.
Another book that has made a deep and lasting impression on me is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. My high school English teacher loaned me her copy of the book when I was seventeen, and I read the book in one or two days. I couldn’t put it down! It was my love for Jane Eyre that made me decide to study English literature in college. My course of study and all of the editorial jobs that followed it helped put me on the path to becoming a published author.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Writing is fun and fulfilling, but it is also work. If writing is your passion, then you should practice writing daily. Write a paragraph, one page, or ten pages, but make it your goal to put something down on paper each and every day. Keeping a journal is a great way to hone your writing skills. Getting involved with your school’s newspaper or literary press is another path to improving your writing, too. Also, read as many books as you can. Study other authors’ craft as you read their work. Reading with a critical eye can help you look at your own work more objectively. Most importantly, don’t give up! My writing was rejected hundreds of times before it was published. Even published authors still get rejections (I know I do!). Persist, practice, and write what you’re passionate about.
Suzanne Nelson is the author of dozens of middle-grade books, including You’re Bacon Me Crazy, Cake Pop Crush, and the rest of the books in the foodie line for Scholastic, as well as A Tale Magnolious for Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Suzanne can be found on Twitter @snelsonbooks and on Facebook and Instagram @suzannenelsonbooks. Her website is www.suzannenelson.com.