Interview with Bruce Shutts

Author of The Moon in the Sky (poems your kids would have written if only they could write)

Question: What books do you recommend for an aspiring writer?

Answer: As an author of a children’s picture book, I’ll answer with that genre in mind. As both a child and parent I always loved anything by Dr. Seuss, full of make-believe and entertaining. Books with a message for the child would include “The Giving Tree”, a classic. My current favorites would include “The Day the Crayons Quit”, fresh and extremely clever.

Question: What’s your Go-To source when you need inspiration?

Answer: I try to remember the real reason why I am writing in the first place. I picture a child sitting on their parent’s lap, wide eyed and totally enthralled in the story and then say to myself “Now go create that story”.

Question: Do you create elaborate outlines for your books? If so, can you explain the process (briefly)? Or do you fly  by the seat of your pants? If so, do you have any tricks you use to keep yourself from crashing?

Answer: For “The Moon in the Sky”, which is a collection of poems supposedly written by children, I started by choosing the 13 topics most relatable to kids. I then created lists of all the items I wanted to cover in each poem and, finally, created 2-4 humorous lines describing each item. It was actually systematic, which sounds rather non-artistic, I guess. 

Question: What was the greatest challenge you faced when writing the book? How did you get through it?

Answer: Each poem not only had to be written in rhyme, but with a sing-song cadence to make it easy to read and memorize (which is what kids like to do). Much like the songs they might learn in nursery school. I was constantly counting syllables. Plus, I had to limit myself to a three-to-six-year-old’s vocabulary.

Question: If you have a writing ritual, can you share that here?

Answer: Nothing special. I was the most productive writing at 3 or 4 AM when I couldn’t sleep and my mind was not clogged or distracted. Not sure if I would recommend that for everyone!

Question: In what genres have you written, and which one of them gives you the most satisfaction?

Answer: I am strictly a children’s picture book person. I love the audience. I think I can relate to them, keep their attention and make them laugh. That gives me all the satisfaction I need.

Question: What one piece of advice can you offer to a writer who has yet to tackle the publishing world?

Answer: Most first-time authors are likely to be one-time authors since they are fulfilling their lifelong dream to create and publish their book, not necessarily beginning a whole new career. They will also, almost certainly, need to self-publish. In that case, you want to give it the best chance of success. There is so much information on line to introduce you to the world of self-publishing, but I would enlist the help of a seasoned professional consultant to guide you through the maze. Avoid a “quick fix” approach. Anyone can get a book quickly into print. You want something you can control and be proud of.

Question: What one piece of advice can you offer to the more experienced writer who is having a bad day/week/year/decade?

Answer: Take a break from everything if you need to (unless you are up against a serious deadline, which is doubtful). Very few people can do their best work under pressure. Try to recall exactly what got you excited about your book. Write just a few paragraphs or pages that you are really happy with. I have to believe the creative juices will begin to flow again.  

Enter below to win a signed hardback copy of “The Moon in the Sky” Poems Your Kids Would Have Written (If Only They Could Write) (five winners/USA only) (ends April 22)

Children have the power to turn simple everyday tasks into moments of intrigue and laughter.

Delight in thirteen whimsical poems that capture the simple honesty of everyday childhood activities written from the perspective of three-to-six-year-olds.

From getting dressed, eating snacks, or having stinky feet, you and your child will recognize yourself in these poems.

​Crafted to make you laugh, smile, and build memories with your kids.

THE MOON IN THE SKY Book Tour Giveaway

About the Author

Bruce Shutts has spent countless hours reading children’s picture books to his three children and five grandchildren over the past forty years. He also loves to create humorous poems for nearly every occasion he can imagine. Coupled with the fact that he often thinks and acts like a three-to-six-year-old, it makes his entrance into the world of children’s books a natural fit. He currently is retired with his wife of forty-five years and loves to travel, play golf, and (you guessed it) read books at night to his grandkids! 

connect to the author: goodreads

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Bruce Shutts

  1. Deborah,
    Thank for spotlighting “The Moon in the Sky”. I enjoyed doing the interview and appreciate the support. All the best.
    Bruce Shutts

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