Southwest Children's Literature

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The Three Little Javelinas /Los tres pequeños jabalíes

Author Interview with Susan Lowell:

This is a photograph of Susan Lowell wearing a cowboy hat.

How did you get interested in writing children's books?
I got interested in writing children's books entirely by accident, while telling a story to amuse my two-year-old daughter in the car at a red light one day. It occured to me that I had never seen a Southwest variant of the old tale of the "Three Little Pigs." My eight-year-old daughter put in some suggestions, and by the time the light turned green, the idea was complete. (Did I say I live in Tucson, Arizona?)

How long have you been writing children's books?
The actual timespan during which I've been writing for children is from 1989-1999. Before then, I wrote for adults: journalism, scholarly articles, book reviews, and fiction. I am finishing up several children's projects at the moment, including two picture books: A Wild Western Cinderella and Dusty Locks and the Three Bears.

Are you still teaching?
I hold a master's degree in creative writing from Stanford, and a master's degree and Ph.D from Princeton in English literature. Previously I taught those subjects at the Universities of Arizona and Texas at Dallas. Since becoming a full-time writer, I've occasionally taught a class, but it's hard to find the time to do both well and to have a family. Maybe sometime in the future I'll teach again.

Why did you choose to use this illustrator?
I had nothing to do with choosing Jim Harris to illustrate my first two books. Authors of picture books, unless they are author-illustrators, rarely have any choice of illustrator, or much control over the pictures. Publishers almost invariably choose the illustrator and sometimes prevent any contact between author and artist.


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