I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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Happy almost Book Birthday to–> Q & U Call It QUits + 7 QUick QUestions for author Stef Wade

June 8, 2021

Stef Wade’s new picture book, Q & U Call It QUits (IllUs. Jorge Martin / QUill Tree Books) hits the shelves next week and we are celebrating with some QUick QUestions…

BUt first–what’s it all aboUt?

For fans of Z Is for Moose and Little i, this hilarious and quirky story about friendship and the alphabet will make young readers excited about letter learning.

P.S. You can Pre-Order your copy here!

7 QUestions for Stef Wade:

Q 1. I love how all three of your pictUre books have strong social-emotional themes of facing fears, fitting in, finding yoUr place. We’re these part of yoUr childhood as well?

Illus. Melanie Demmer / Capstone

Stef Wade: I’m very blessed in my life to have parents, grandparents, teachers and mentors who gifted me their wisdom and guidance to manage so many different situations in life. That’s not to say I haven’t had to face fears or find my place, but with the help of those around me, I was able to manage pretty well. I realize not all kids have that.

There are so many children out there that can’t or don’t share what they’re going through. My hope is that my stories can give guidance to a child and/or open up a conversation with a parent, teacher, grandparent or even other child that will help kids learn how to handle all different social and emotional situations and struggles in their lives.

Illus. Jennifer Davison / Capstone

Q 2.  Where did yoU get the inspiration for Q & U CALL IT QUITS? 

Stef Wade: My oldest son’s preschool teacher (shout-out to Mrs. Willer!) used to say – “this is Q and U and they’re best friends!” It always struck me as so cute. I wasn’t even writing picture books at that time, but when I started, that phrase stuck in my head and the rest is history!

(Interior Illus. Jorge Martin / Q & U CALL IT QUITS by Stef Wade/ Quill Tree Books)

Q 3. They say most books are a tiny bit aUtobiographical. Are yoU more like Q, U, or another letter in yoUr story?

Stef Wade: I love this QUestion! I’m definitely more like U in this story. I’m an extrovert and love being around lots of different kind of people. I’m fiercely independent, so I could see myself getting frustrated by the weight of Q’s neediness. I also tend to work to the point of burnout, so just like U, I need to realize that a little self-care is a good thing! But just like Q realizes in the end, I also value the importance of a long-term friendship and appreciate that friends can be different and that’s what makes a relationship special.  

Taking the #kidlit leap!

Q 4. How is yoUr previous career in marketing similar (and different) to writing pictUre books? What inspired yoU to take that leap? 

Stef Wade: There are so many similarities to my marketing career and writing picture books. Getting your point across in a short space. Making every word count. Being able to pitch an idea. But I’ve also realized that my ability to sell in marketing translates to selling my story to my readers. Not in the “buy my book!” sense, but in writing in a way that makes the reader believe what you’re writing, connect to the character, and care about the story.

I always wanted to write fiction but chose the “more practical” route of business and I don’t regret it! I decided to give my writing a real go when I quit my full-time job to stay at home with my kids. I did a lot of freelance marketing work in the time after that, but somehow, I also found the time to write for myself and it’s been moving forward ever since! And my kids inspire me every day to keep writing for children.


Q 5. What sUrprises did Q&U’s illustrator Jorge Martin bring to the book? 

Stef Wade: What an absolute joy to work with someone as brilliant as Jorge Martin. I could stare at the spreads in this book all day! I included very few art notes in this manuscript and Jorge let his imagination run wild. His ability to convey emotions in these block letter people is such a feat!

(Interior Illus. Jorge Martin / Q & U CALL IT QUITS by Stef Wade/ Quill Tree Books)

I especially love the kids as lower-case letters and the illustrations when the other letter blends start to leave each other (the F and L in the plane gets me every time!)


Q 6. Which comes first in your process—the title, a key phrase, or plot, or___?

Stef Wade: It changes every time! This one started with a phrase, but others start with a feeling, an observation, an article I’ve read, an experience I’ve had. Although, for me, it never starts with the plot! That always seems to come later.

Last QUestion

Q 7. Is there a Q word yoU wanted to place in this manUscript that didn’t make the cUt?

Stef Wade: Why, of course! There are so many lovely Q words but I decided to drop “quixotic” from the lexicon of this story. Other choices that didn’t make the cut: quintessential, qualmishness, quadrumvirate, quadratic and definitely not quarantine….

We also love the word QUirky, and this candid of Stef, dressed as Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek, to Zoom with a whole bUnch of schools…and celebrate:

Happy June 15th Book Birthday to Q & U CALL IT QUITS!

To learn more about Stef and her books,

check out StefWade.com

and follow her on Twitter: @Stef_Wade and Instagram: stef.wade

Next up on the blog–JaNay Brown-Wood‘s new picture book, SHHH…THE BABY’S ASLEEP!–also out on June 15th.

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