Interview with Susan Day

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent a many years of my childhood aboard cruise ships. This was the cheapest way to travel and so, before I turned seven I had circumnavigated the globe twice - not on my own, mind you, there were a lot of people on those ships!

The experience gave me a lot of ‘fodder’ to draw from when I was asked to write stories in class. I was also an only child and from a very early age I felt the need to recount my thoughts to my friend, Rupert the Bear. Together we’d try and nut out the weird and often unfathomable logic of adults. We’d record the fantastic things we saw – flying fish; armed military standing on every corner in some dark mysterious land and a psychedelic poster in the rec room (that kept me intrigued for hours!)

During this time I developed a great love of pencils, paper and drawing and I still have Rupert.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent a many years of my childhood aboard cruise ships. This was the cheapest way to travel and so, before I turned seven I had circumnavigated the globe twice - not on my own, mind you, there were a lot of people on those ships!

The experience gave me a lot of ‘fodder’ to draw from when I was asked to write stories in class. I was also an only child and from a very early age I felt the need to recount my thoughts to my friend, Rupert the Bear. Together we’d try and nut out the weird and often unfathomable logic of adults. We’d record the fantastic things we saw – flying fish; armed military standing on every corner in some dark mysterious land and a psychedelic poster in the rec room (that kept me intrigued for hours!)

During this time I developed a great love of pencils, paper and drawing and I still have Rupert.
When did you first start writing?
I don’t remember reaching for my journal at birth but I know I started pretty early. I still have a book I made when I was five. It was a record of our holiday to Ireland. I had cut pictures from a travelogue and glued them in and written commentary next to them. I must have got tired before I finished because the writing on the last page begins straight but then drifts downward. I really treasure this book and, like Rupert Bear, it holds a special place in my heart.

Throughout school all I can remember is writing... writing stories, writing reports, writing notes... always writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Gypsy Curse is the 5th book in the Astro’s Adventures series. I enjoy writing these stories so much I plan to use different scenarios and explore how the characters deal with them. I have always had a soft spot for gypsies – I may even be one, who knows!

In previous titles, Astro and the gang have travelled to the States to fight ghosts; have helped destroy monster robots at Melbourne airport; been smuggled into a cat show and; saved lots of dogs from The Check Out! I also have plans to do an ‘under the sea’ story; a cowboy; circus and a space themed story. Thankfully my imagination is endless!

All the characters in my books are based on real dogs and cats. I started with my and my friend’s pets and in each book I introduce another friend’s dog. The Gypsy Curse involves a plucky little corgi named Scrappy. In real life, Scrappy was called Lilly but I couldn’t use that name because it belongs to another character. Sadly, Lilly passed away before the book was published but I think the story honours her courage and tenacity and is a true reflection of the bond she shared with her owner.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Over twenty years ago I dreamt of being published but I was rejected over and over again. In the end I just gave up. When I discovered that I could do the whole thing myself I got really excited. I have operated a business for many years and that’s how I approach my books. I market, advertise, produce and publish them myself. It’s an exciting process and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to learn all the facets of book publishing – print and ebooks.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been fantastic. I couldn’t have gained the confidence I needed to keep going without being given the opportunity to publish my books electronically. The system is so easy to use and the feedback essential for any up and coming author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I like to make people laugh, especially children. I think the sound of children laughing and being joyful is one of the most beautiful sounds we can hear. When I conduct workshops I get a thrill when I see the children’s eyes light up. Being happy is the best defence to the difficult times children are often exposed to. I use humour to encourage children to take care of their pets and themselves. I hope they will extend these feelings to the wider community.

My characters all work together and each one is very different so there’s always a particular trait that a child will identify with. Through my characters I hope the child will identify with the message and enjoy reading and learning more. And I always hope they get a big belly laugh!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me. I love them all! They make me feel proud and humble at the same time. It always amazes me that other people like what I do. I watch adults pick up my books and flick through the pages. Then they smirk as they read one of the humorous lines.

They often remark that the dogs portrayed remind them of their own pets. I have found my fans to be generous and kind but also willing to offer advice and criticism and I am really grateful for this because it gives me the opportunity to grow and develop my work and realise my dreams.
What are you working on next?
As usual I have more than one iron in the fire! I am illustrating Speed Bump Charlie’s ABC and I am editing the 6th manuscript for Astro’s Adventures. It's a Christmas story that involves Santa's sleigh being stolen, three cheeky ducklings and a young pup commissioned to save them all. Unfortunately, at this rate my first Christmas book might be out for Easter 2014!

I am also planning out the seventh title ... I just can’t stop myself!

As well, I am running competitions and have sent my books to their first Book Fair. It’s in China and we are very interested to see how the tale of a grey shaggy dog is received in this beautiful country.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Five books? Hmmm, there’s so many to choose from. Okay, here goes...

Number 1 – The Little Mouse Trapped in a Book. I love this book because there are no words – not one. All the action is played out via the fabulous illustrations. The little mouse finds himself trapped in a book and has to work his way through various possibilities and escape. The artist was able to capture perfectly the different stages of emotion the mouse goes through. It’s brilliant – sorry, I can’t remember who created it.

Number 2 – The Oath of Bad Brown Bill by Stephen Axle. This is a rollicking tale told in rhyme that shares the story of Bad Brown Bill and his horse, Mudpie. The illustrations are engaging and some of the lines I will hold with me forever. For example, “He got such a scare, it turned his teeth to toast!”

Number 3 – To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m not sure I need to tell you what a fabulous story this is. I love the way the rhythm softly lulls you along and reflects the warmth of humid afternoon in summer.

Number 4 – Canary Row. Another timeless classic you don’t need me to explain. Again, it’s the way words are used to enhance the mood and atmosphere. Recently, I was at a loud party and I picked Canary Row up from the shelf and began to read the opening pages. For all I knew the party could have frozen in time I was so completely transfixed.

Number 5 – Anything Stanley Coren has written about dogs and their behaviour.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Samsung Galaxy S4 - I Love it!!!
Describe your desk
I have a corner desk which as the computer at the centre and draws and cupboards on either side. There are stacks of books about InDesign and Photoshop; the proof copies of all my books (I don’t like to have them far away); the usual stationary and a large, very large green peg!
Published 2013-08-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 49,700. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Grandparenting, Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Family relationships
Do you worry that your grandchildren will grow up and forget you? Are you concerned about being alone; distant from your family emotionally and physically? Would you like to have a positive impact on the lives of your grandchildren, and create memories that will last forever? This book is an open and honest look at how much the role of grandparenting has changed for the good.
The Lucky Leprechaun - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures. You set the price! Words: 28,110. Language: Australian English. Published: July 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.60)
Astro the dog and his gang are dog-napped and forced to rescue a cat. They are taken to Ireland by a wicked leprechaun and that's just the start of their troubles! What an adventure they have meeting all manner of magical beings and exploring the ancient places of this beautiful country. This is an action packed, hilarious book written to delight readers from 8 to 80!
Dog Trick Training and Obedience
You set the price! Words: 29,620. Language: Australian English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock
In this informative book you will find 25 tricks that you can use to train your dog. You also get the Ultimate Obedience Training Guide with everything – yes, everything – that you need to train your dog. This includes retraining unwanted behaviours like jumping up, digging, toilet training and much more.
Astro's Indian Odyssey - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures. You set the price! Words: 25,290. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Historical / Asia
(4.00)
Exploring exotic Indian, playing cricket at the most famous grounds in the world and wrestling snakes! Join Astro and the gang on this mad capped adventure.
Waking the Dragon - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures. You set the price! Words: 27,520. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.00)
Babysit a baby dragon, they said. Then deliver it safely to China, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. What could go wrong, they said? Everything! You’ll need to hang on to your hat as Astro and the gang try to keep one step ahead of the evil genius, Speed Bump Charlie and his sidekick, Furball, hide on board a plane and negotiate Chinese dragons on this fast-paced, exciting adventure.
Astro's Adventures Illustrated Box Set Books 1 to 5
Series: Astro's Adventures Box Sets. You set the price! Words: 94,640. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
To celebrate Astro’s birthday and Astro’s Adventures five year anniversary you can purchase a special box set of his first five books for a very low price. In this set you’ll receive, The Great Escape, The Golden Treasure, Rampaging Rats, Major Dakota’s Ghost and The Gypsy Curse. What a great gift for your middle grade reader.
Clarence. The Snake from Dunolly
You set the price! Words: 9,470. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.75)
The stories of Clarence the Snake from Dunolly came from the discovery of a six foot Eastern Brown Snake in the author’s veggie patch and the subsequent overload of information received on how to avoid being bitten. Thus from strange beginnings, Clarence was born.
The Haunted Circus - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures. You set the price! Words: 21,030. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
(4.50)
Dog-napped by wicked clowns, Astro and the gang become entangled in the goings on of a twisted, evil HAUNTED circus.
Astro is Down in the Dumps A Teaching Resource Book
Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 8,060. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Special education / mental disabilities, Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Special education / social disabilities
This is the teaching resource book that can be used with Astro is Down in the Dumps. It is only available as a PDF on Smashwords so that it can be printed and used in the teaching environment. There is also a weblink and a password at the back of the book so you can download a PDF at anytime.
Astro's Horrible Hound Howlers or the Worst Dog Jokes Ever!
You set the price! Words: 2,630. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
This book has been created to be viewed on a phone, tablet or computer. It is a collection of possibly the worst dog jokes ever! You won’t think they’re funny at first but after the first dozen or so you won’t be able to stop laughing. It’ll start with a smile, then a chuckle and before you know it, you’ll be rolling around the floor giggling your head off.
Astro is Down in the Dumps
You set the price! Words: 2,250. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Depression & Mental Illness, Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Suicide
(4.94)
This fun and entertaining book, Astro is Down in the Dumps, was created to give children the skills they need to build resilience and cope with depression and anxiety. Astro is feeling so sad and blue he can’t get out of bed. Then there’s a knock at the door… who could that be?
Dogs in Space! - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures. You set the price! Words: 23,690. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Science & Technology, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.57)
Come on! How hard can it be to find a replacement for the moon? Just head into space with a Moon Detector and it should be easy, surely? Well, maybe not for our heroes. They are after all dogs and prone to, well, shall we say, ‘little’ accidents. For example, knocking the spaceship off course; heading directly into the sun, being attacked by aliens… eating all the food supplies in the first hour!
Neptune's Trident! - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 7. You set the price! Words: 23,940. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.50)
Arrr! Me, Hearties! Avast ya pack of seadogs! It’s Captain Black from the wicked pirate catfish gang. I’m here to tell yas about a new book that stars me and me gang. Neptune's Trident it be called! There’s a lot of dogs in it too but don’t let that put ya off.
A Christmas Calamity - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 6. You set the price! Words: 22,450. Language: Australian English. Published: December 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
(4.00)
After the terrible calamity that befalls Santa and the reindeer it is our much loved heroes who are left to save Christmas. Surely, it can't be that hard? Drive the sleigh, deliver the presents, eat all the milk and cookies... Simple! Sadly, the wicked acts of one old alley cat and a robot undermine our heroes at every stage and saving Christmas is not as easy as you might think!
Speed Bump Charlie's ABC
You set the price! Words: 2,530. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Concepts / Alphabet, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
Speed Bump Charlie's ABC with illustrations is not for the faint hearted. You should only read this story if you’re really brave. I mean really, really brave. Are you brave enough to save your granny from a burning building? Are you brave enough to eat a worm? A live one?!!
The Gypsy Curse - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 5. You set the price! Words: 23,520. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
(4.00)
So far, the greatest enemy Astro and the gang has come across has been Speed Bump Charlie, the evil alley cat. That is until now! Tinka, the Gypsy Cat, winds a curse not only around our brave heroes but around Speed Bump Charlie himself. What can Astro and the gang do? Will they all be caught and be thrown in the Check Out?!
Romeow & Drooliet
You set the price! Words: 1,090. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
In the style of the great bard, this tale of two paw-crossed lovers leads us on a tragic tale. There is also a message to every pet owner about the importance of neutering their pets.
Major Dakota's Ghost - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 4. You set the price! Words: 17,200. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
(4.00)
When Commander Rocky vanishes in a puff of smoke Astro gathers the team and they travel to the USA to rescue him. However, things don’t go to plan and our valiant heroes become dog-napped and locked in a room without a door! Their mission is further complicated when they have to save a group of celebrity dogs being held for ransom and deal with five ghosts lurking in the haunted house!
Rampaging Rats - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 3. You set the price! Words: 21,810. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.00)
In this fun children's book our heroes have to save Melbourne City Airport. It is being destroyed by monster rats. People are led to believe that dogs are responsible so Astro and our valiant team not only have to destroy the rats, but they also have to find out who created these terrible creatures and clear the name of the secret Organisation that exists to save dogs from neglect
Tricks Any Dog Can Do!
Series: Quick Puppy Training, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,370. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Animals
This great beginners guide will provide your family with hours of fun as you teach your dog these great tricks. These tricks are presented in a step by step format and are designed for any breed of dog of any age. Any child can teach their pet dog these tricks too.
The Golden Treasure - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 2. You set the price! Words: 17,790. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
(4.00)
In this great children's book of the Astro's Adventures series, The Golden Treasure, our dedicated operatives are sent to find a secret treasure which has been stolen by the evil cat, Speed Bump Charlie. To make things more difficult the Golden Treasure has been cleverly hidden in the one place no dog has ever entered before - a cat show!
The Christmas Mouse
You set the price! Words: 6,300. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00)
This book is about a rather finicky little mouse lives in a tree in the country. His life is full of dinner parties and celebrations. However, his world is shattered when the tree he’s living in is chopped down and taken to a home in the city. Not only does the little mouse find himself dragged into this strange environment but the family who now own his tree are rude and quite lazy
The Whispering Castle
You set the price! Words: 7,280. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
The Whispering Castle is an Interactive Adventure Story where the reader gets to add their own details and create their own story. This is the first of a series of these types of books. They are designed to capture the reader's imagination and let them take control of the story.
The Great Escape - Astro's Adventures
Series: Astro's Adventures, Book 1. You set the price! Words: 15,610. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.00)
There is a special organisation responsible for the well being of all dogs. Its main goal is to make sure that all dogs are provided with a proper home, a nice warm bed and a cat to chase. This organisation is kept secret from every human being and operates, as you are about to see, right under our very noses…
Understanding Your Dog.
Series: Quick Puppy Training. You set the price! Words: 5,580. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
This is a reference guide written by a Border collie called Rocky. It explains some of the fundamental issues that strain the human/dog relationship like why dogs bark at lawn mowers, chase cats and rip up cushions. It's a dog's view on our world and all our stuff in it and it also explains how to make your dog happier and healthier in the funniest way possible.