Earlier this week our friend Suzanne from Thea Chops Books published her first book, She's Not Good for a Girl, She's Just Good! To celebrate this amazing achievement we chatted to Suzanne about the book, what led her to write it and her family.
We are delighted to be a stockist for Thea Chops Books, check out the brand page here.
Tell us a little about you, your family and where you live?
My name is Suzanne but most people call me Suze (if anyone calls me Suzanne I jump like a child and wonder what I’m being told off for!). I live in East Dulwich in South East London with my husband, Rich, and our 4 year old daughter, Thea. We moved to the area in 2001 and love living here. Rich is a Marketing Director, and a keen cyclist (I am married to a MAMIL) and Thea is a fournado! She’s full of fun and mischief and makes me laugh out loud every day. Don’t get me wrong, she's as much a cheeky monkey as the next 4 year old, so it’s not without its challenging moments! But this is usually when she’s tired, or hungry (bit like me really), or when she feels strongly about something and is asserting herself, or trying to work out how the world works (bit like most of us really!).
What led you to launch Thea Chops Books?
Before I had Thea I worked in TV, but the hours are crazy and the work is freelance, and it took quite a while for Thea to come and join us, so I decided I’d be a stay at home mum until she started school. I’d always loved to write, and started blogging about parenthood and its baffling moments; not with the intention of it becoming anything, more just to blog out the stresses really. I was also always on the look out for good books for Thea as we’ve read to her since she was just weeks old. As a child I adored reading and could get lost for hours in a book (I’m the same as an adult, though I don't make the time for myself since becoming a mum, and I really miss it). Rich and I had a conversation one day about The Gruffalo and what a great message is has about using brains over brawn. And then we bought Rosie Revere, Engineer and that was such a wonderful story and has a great message about perseverance. I started to think about the messages that Thea would be hearing over and over again from her books, helping to shape her view of the world and how she fits into it. I didn’t just want her to hear about pink princesses waiting to saved. Don’t get me wrong, I like the colour pink, and I love a romcom as much as the next person, but I wanted to find stories that offered Thea other views on life. There are some amazing books out there, but I just thought, why not have a go. So I started writing and the rest is (hopefully!) history!
Tell us a little about the brand and the name
Thea Chops has been Thea’s nickname since she was tiny. And I think Chops is quite a common term of affection that people use for their kids. Once I’d decided that I was going to go for it, and self publish, I struggled a little to come up with a name for the company. I realised that I was doing it for Thea, to write fun stories that hopefully inspire and empower her, and also to create flexible work for me that fits in around school hours and holidays, so it just made sense. One day there was no name, and the next, it was Thea Chops Books.
What do you like to do when you are not writing books?
I miss reading as I’ve already mentioned, so I really do need to start making time for that. I honestly can’t remember the last thing that I read that wasn't a parenting book, or a newspaper article, or a blog. I started reading parenting, and child psychology books when I was pregnant, and really I should’ve put them down and just carried on with wonderful works of fiction! I love movies and TV dramas, and am a big box set fan (I can sit up for hours binge-watching and then wonder why I’m so tired - I never learn!). I love eating good food with good friends and family, either in great restaurants or at home: Rich and I both enjoy cooking. And I really love just hanging out with Rich and Thea; I love our little team of three, and it’s a lot of fun just spending time with them.
What is the best thing about being your own boss? And worst?
I love writing: I’m very happy in my own company, and it gives me great flexibility to fit work around being a mum. The worst thing is all the stuff I have to do to make it happen! I never really wanted to be a small business owner, working out accounts or dealing with sales. But sometimes you have to do things, to allow you to do the thing you really want to do.
What is next for Thea Chops Books?
Well, we have to see how well our first book, She’s Not Good for a Girl, She’s Just Good! is received by everyone! But I’m working on a second book; it’s not a follow up story, though right now the main character is also called Florence (Florence is Thea’s middle name, and where Rich and I got engaged, so I’m quite attached to the name). It’s a story about being true to who you are, and showing people where your strengths lie. It’s also got a princess in it, ‘cause, y’know, I can’t escape the fact that Thea does love a princess! But I’m trying to create a princess who happens to like maths and science. We all wear more than one hat in life: no reason why a princess shouldn't also!