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  • Writer's pictureLittle Thoughts Press

Interview: Sue Lancaster

A photograph of Little Thoughts Press Issue Three: Hit the Road with a sneak peek of the poem "Summer Vacation" by Sue Lancaster. A blue page with black text and a graphic of a red car.


Sue Lancaster is a children's writer living in South West London with her husband, two children, and pet budgie, Buddy. Before turning her hand to writing, Sue worked in TV as a Production Manager and got her degree in Media Studies at the University of East London. She grew up in Clacton on the coast of Essex and spent much of her childhood writing stories and poems, playing with her three cats, and being tormented by her two older brothers.


Little Thoughts Press: You created and operate the children's lit magazine The Toy! Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start your own press and how running The Toy has changed or informed your own writing?

Sue Lancaster: My inspiration came largely from existing publications such as yours! As a children’s writer, I aspire to physically hold my words in printed form and for small children to experience my writing in this way too. However, when I started researching journals and magazines to submit to, it became apparent that – with the exception of a few – most of the literary publications for children are online or digital only. I know there are lots of children’s writers out there who, just like me, dream of their stories and poems being published in print, and by launching The Toy earlier this year, I have already been able to make that dream come true for a few of them! The magazine is still in its early days (I'm just working on the second edition now), but I am thoroughly enjoying doing it. Being on the other side of the submissions process has made me much more aware of the work that goes into it and why my own writing might not always be accepted.

Little Thoughts Press: Issue 3: Hit the Road is all about travel and summer adventure. Can you tell us your favorite place you've traveled to, as well as somewhere you hope to go in the future?

Sue Lancaster: Being from the UK, most of my travels take place in Europe. This summer I went to Italy and did a bit of a tour around Tuscany with my husband and our two children, which was beautiful.

I'd love to see the northern lights at some point in my life, so a visit to Iceland or somewhere like that is definitely high on my wish list.

Little Thoughts Press: What initially drew you to writing kid-lit and what do you find most challenging and rewarding about writing for a young audience?

Sue Lancaster: I was first drawn to writing for children when my own two were very little. Seeing how much pleasure they got from picture books at such a young age really inspired me to give it a go myself. Writing kid-lit is hard - it is such a competitive industry and it's a huge challenge to stand out among the many other talented writers out there. However, the thought of my words being read and enjoyed by little ones is immensely rewarding and I can't wait for the day my children hold one of my actual books in their hands (fingers crossed!).

Little Thoughts Press: Which kid-lit authors and books were your favorites growing up?

Sue Lancaster: As a child, I devoured stories by Shirley Hughes, Judith Kerr, Jill Murphy, Janet and Allan Ahlburg, and later, Enid Blyton. All these authors played a huge part in my early love of reading and writing.

Little Thoughts Press: And what about today? Any kid-lit writers you love and want to shout out?

Sue Lancaster: Julia Donaldson was a huge inspiration to me when I first started writing kid-lit a few years back. Her rhymes are flawless and she creates such fun and imaginative characters. I am also fond of anything by Chris Haughton and Peter Bently.

Little Thoughts Press: What advice would you give to young writers?

Sue Lancaster: I would advise young writers to:

1) Read lots! Get a feel for what makes a good story or poem, and seek inspiration from other successful writers.

2) Write lots. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect - the more you write, the better you will become.

3) Enjoy it! Writing is lots of fun and can be very rewarding!

Little Thoughts Press: Is there anything else you wish I had asked? Any upcoming projects, publications, or other news you'd like to share?

Sue Lancaster: I wish I had some news about an upcoming publication, but sadly I don't at the moment! Instead, these links will take you to some of the poems I've already had published online this year:

Tail Tales in Tyger Tyger

Also, if anyone would like to purchase the first edition of The Toy, they can do so right here.


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