Behind the Scenes: Writing My First Children’s Book About Susie Martin, Kid Detective

Written by chellie

February 20, 2024

When you think of my books, you probably think of personal success, self-help, leadership, or culture building. However, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with my newest series. I’m thrilled to introduce a project with a special place in my heart. “The Case of the Missing Sneakers” isn’t just any children’s book—it’s a heartfelt tribute to my dad, and it brings to life a character I created in Mrs. Fairweather’s 7th-grade PROBE class at D.A. Smith Middle School in Ozark, AL. It also makes its debut to the world this Friday, 2/23/24.

While this series of stories breathe life into Susie Martin and a slew of her middle school friends, it also serves a more significant purpose than entertainment alone. It’s my way of keeping my dad’s memory alive and supporting a cause he was passionate about. He helped the children’s ministry at Chalkhead Baptist Church grow and thrive. So what better way to help support that program than through the proceeds of a children’s book series that tied in with the values I learned from him? My dad was also an avid reader. Some of my earliest memories of him are his reading to or with me. Even after I was grown, when he’d visit, he’d bring me books he had read that he thought I’d enjoy reading.

Dad sitting in a chair with me as a baby with a book reading.

I hope you’ll join me as I venture into the whimsical world of children’s mysteries, where every page is filled with adventure, laughter, and a little bit of sleuthing—all in honor of a man who inspired me to dream big.

So who is Susie Martin? I’m so glad you asked.

Susie is a spunky and clever pre-teen detective ready to tackle any mystery that comes her way! “The Case of the Missing Sneakers” starts Susie’s journey as she launches her detective agency, eager to crack her first case. Her dad allows her to turn a corner of the family garage into a detective agency. With her trusty notebook, a camera phone, and a keen sense of adventure, Susie finds herself on a mission to solve the curious case of her best friend Angie’s vanished lucky sneakers.

As clues lead to twists and unexpected turns, Susie navigates through a maze of suspects and surprises with the help of Angie and her playful dog, Daisy. When the trial points to Brenda, Angie’s rival, a surprising twist challenges Susie’s detective instincts. But no mystery is too complex for Susie! With determination, teamwork, and a bit of detective flair, she uncovers the truth, proving her mettle as a detective and the power of friendship.

I couldn’t do it alone.

As the series continues, you get to meet more and more of Susie’s Detective Squad. She would be able to solve all the cases she does without the special talents and skills her friends bring to the table. And that’s the same for this book as well.

While I could bring Susie to life through words, if it weren’t for a fantastic illustrator, Mark Jackson, no one would have been able to see Susie the way I saw her in my mind. Mark could take my words and turn them into the characters and scenes found throughout the book. I’m not sure how he did it, but he would read the story and the descriptions I’d send him like the ones here…

  • Susie Martin: a petite blue-eyed girl with short, curly red hair that bounced with each step she took
  • Angie Jacobs: a taller and sporty girl with long brown hair that was always pulled back into a ponytail, runner 
  • Daisy: Angie’s fluffy yellow dog, big brown eyes, loves to cuddle

and turn them into the adorable characters that made it into the pages of the book. He really captured their personalities and quirks and made them come to life.

Another person who was instrumental in helping me bring Susie to the world is fellow author Beverly Reichman. She has a beautiful series of books about Cindi the Teenie Chiweenie and another with Hugh the Hippo. (You can check her books out here.) She’s a former educator who taught me about sight words and other essential things kids learn that I knew nothing about. She also shared much insight and her unique editing talents with me.

I’m grateful for all the people who helped me bring Susie and The Case of the Missing Sneakers into being. The journey has been filled with many ups and downs, tears and laughter, but it’s been worth every moment. It’s given me a way to work through my grief and come up with a way for me to help keep my dad’s memory alive.

I have a favor to ask…

Now that the official release day is just a couple of days away, I need your help. And I have a special reason for asking. Proceeds from every book purchased in my Susie the Detective series will go to help the children’s ministry at Chalkhead Baptist Church. My dad helped get the program going and I want to make sure it continues in his absence. So how can you help? I’m so glad you asked…

  1. TODAY: The best way you can help is to pre-order the book while it’s in presale status on Amazon. Shoot… order a couple of copies and share them with all the kids in your life.
  2. The second best way to help is leave a review on Amazon. I’m trying to have 100 reviews the first week the book goes live. There’s an excerpt you can flip through right there on the page. Why? Because when this happens, Amazon will feature the book to people I don’t know and it helps generate more awareness. If you wait until after you order the book, it helps get the review approved.
  3. If you have a Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, it would help me if you left a post about the book and encouraged others to look at it. Remember to tag me in your posts as well. Here’s a quick post you can copy and paste or make your own: My friend is trying to honor her dad’s memory by releasing her first-ever kids’ book, “The Case of the Missing Sneakers.” Will you join me in ordering this week and help keep his memory alive?
  4. Here’s a photo you can use on social media too…

If you can’t wait for your book to arrive from Amazon, you can order advance copies through my publisher here. Either way…I can’t wait to see pictures of you reading about Susie the Detective with your kids.

As we wrap up this behind-the-scene journey, I can’t help but feel a huge sense of gratitude and excitement. Venturing beyond my usual realms of personal success and leadership into the whimsical world of children’s literature has been an adventure. “The Case of the Missing Sneakers” marks a significant departure from my norm, but it’s a project close to my heart, inspired by memories of my father and a character that has been with me since my school days.

This book is not just a story; it’s a legacy and a testament to the values and passions my dad instilled in me, shared through Susie Martin’s and her friends’ adventures. As we count down to the release this Friday, I’m reminded of the power of storytelling, the joy of sharing a piece of my heart with you, and the impact we can make together in keeping cherished memories alive. Thank you for joining me on this meaningful journey. Let’s make Susie’s debut a moment to remember for my dad, the children at Chalkhead Baptist Church, and for every young reader we inspire to dream big.

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