Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interview with Gayle Jacobson-Huset Part II

Back again with Gayle from Stories for Children with a look at what this great e-zine is all about.

SFC is growing and fast. How does the team work together? I mean do you do most of your connecting online? Do you meet? If so about how often?

I must tell you, we have the most awesome magazine team in the world! All of us are "there" to help each other, especially when we get backlogged. Since I started at the magazine almost right at the very beginning, I did every job there is to do and helped teach others as they came aboard. We have team members "cross-trained" for some of our jobs so that if somebody is gone or sick, the magazine can continue forward without them. Since we are always on deadlines, this works out really well.

This may surprise you, but I've only met one of my co-workers in person. Ms. Angelika Lochner lives in Florida, and she came to Minnesota for a week to meet me, work on some SFC items, and then we attended a MN SCBWI Fall Conference together. I've "known" most of my co-workers for years, mainly through critique groups I've set up and they were members of, and from networking through SCBWI. By the time they became staff members at Stories for Children Magazine, I felt like my best friends in the world had joined together to help Virginia and I move SFC Magazine forward. And OH BOY, have they ever! We are truly bursting at the seams, and our future here looks great!

We are all scattered across the U.S. and Canada, and our "office" is a virtual one. Yet, it works! All of us communicate constantly online or by phone since we have our own phone system as well. We have phone conferences with the entire staff approximately once every two months to discuss the next direction we need to take, and discuss any problems we've encountered. We all hope to meet face-to-face some day in a central location, but if one of us is traveling to a co-workers' area, we make plans to meet and get to know one another a little better. It's awesome!

All of this sounds super-charged, Gayle. What a great job.

Tell us about the Grannies. What are they? How can a writer enter to win, or can s/he? Where do we find out who the winner is each year?

I dreamt up the idea of the Grannys, and I did so because we felt so bad that we weren't at the point yet where we could pay our loyal contributors for their awesome work. If we couldn't pay them with money, then Virginia and I decided to pay our contributors with "warm fuzzies". Since Hollywood had the GRAMMIES, then I thought SFC Magazine should have the GRANNYS! Since Wendy Dickson and I were brand new to the world of grandparenthood, that is how we came up with the name.
This award is based on the editors' PERSONAL FAVORITES in the following categories:
Cover Artwork

Stanley Bookman, our SFC Magazine Mascot, hosts the Granny Awards every April 1st. You can tune in and read/watch all about it on our website on April 1st. Each winner of the Granny receives a trophy with three lines engraved on it:
1st line-SFC Magazine Granny Award;
2nd line-what the award is for; and
3rd line-published title or artwork/cover art month.

The statues are really quite nice, and our winners have been thrilled to receive them.

The winners will be announced on April 1st, (SFC Magazine's Birthday!) but later in the month, we should have photos of all the winners up with their comments about winning.

The absolute neatest thing about the Grannys is that you don't have to do anything to enter. If your work was picked for publication at SFC Magazine during the year, then you are automatically entered to be considered for a Granny. This was a really tough year to choose winners for each category because we had so many excellent choices! Mark your calendar to check our website on April 1st to see who won!

April 1st is on my calendar. Hey! That's only a week away.

I know about your exciting plans to take Stories for Children Magazine into print at some point. Is there anything you can tell us about this project?

We still plan to move forward with our plans to become a print magazine AND a paying market. It all takes time, and at this point, we have had to slow down a bit because of the economy affecting our reader's ability to subscribe to our magazine. We will always have part of SFC Magazine for free for children everywhere, but we need to attract more advertising and sponsorship to move forward with print plans. We have all brainstormed on this, and every possible avenue to move us forward to print has been discussed and put into motion. Keep your fingers crossed it can be soon!

Now we have some quick and I hope fun choices to let the readers know who Gayle Jacobson-Huset really is—you know the person behind the smiling face on the website.

Smiling face? Lol – I think you mean Grimace! That photo was taken on hubby's and my 35th wedding anniversary at my daughter's house. We'd been helping out for two weeks after she had our grandson. Hubby and I were ready to collapse with extreme weariness since our granddaughter was two at the time and just FULL of spunk (for which we were not quite prepared for. Lol)

You can only choose one from each pair, Gayle!

Pie or cake?
CAKE (I want my cake and want to eat it, too!)

Snow or sunshine?
SNOW (I DO live in MN by choice, you know! The weather here keeps my imaginary penguins nice and cool!)

Forest or open plains?
Open Plains (That way, I can see the tornadoes coming and rush those slow-waddling penguins down to the basement!)

Writing or reading? (Not fair! Skip this one.)
I'll pick anyway – the answer is YES!

Early morning or late afternoon?
Early Morning before the Penguins start staring at me with their beady little eyes that challenge me to WRITE something!

Fluffy pets or exotic scaly ones?
Fluffy Stuffed Penguins

Blue or red?
Is this really a question? There ARE no RED penguins, but there are BLUE ones, so it's BLUE! LOL

Bustling city or quiet rural area?
Quiet small town where penguins can roam free.

Business suit or jeans and sweater? I've never worn jeans in my life!
Always looked like something stuffed out of a sausage factory, so I'd have to say comfortable clothes – my penguin pajamas with the built-in feet suffice when I'm in the office. But, for the Granny Awards, I may just don a penguin tuxedo minus the goofy bow tie!

That’s enough, FUN. Thanks for being a good sport.

Can you wrap this up with anything you’d like to share with readers, contributors or possible contributors?

Without our beloved contributors who have believed in us for the past two years and have donated their fantastic work, there would not BE a Stories for Children Magazine. We are all volunteers that run the magazine, and it has taken on a life of its own as we continue moving forward. I find that the generosity of my coworkers and our contributors to be outstanding in this modern day and time when nothing is "free" anymore. I'm very proud of SFC Magazine and what we stand for and how we are making a difference in the lives of children all across the globe, and how we are giving new authors and illustrators a chance at becoming published. There is so much talent out there, just waiting to be discovered. I just hope the magical combination that IS Stories for Children Magazine continues to entertain children and adults alike in the years ahead.

Thanks so much. I know you are a busy lady, but my father-in-law once told me, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” I’ve always followed his advice.


  1. Terrific interview. Gayle certainly knows how to make you LOL and she truly gets into the depths of the magazine. Well done!

    Best wishes,

  2. Gayle, I think I may need to hire some of those penguins of yours to help you out with all that paperwork. LOL

    Great interview and I'm glad to have you on my team. SFC wouldn't be the warm fuzzy it is without you and the rest of the SFC Team.

    VS Grenier

  3. WOW! What a great interview! Gayle is probably one of the most creative, personable, and genuinely caring people I know. She wants only the best for everyone--her readers, her friends, other writers, and pretty much everyone else who shares her world with her!

  4. Great interview. I love the penguins :)

  5. Wow! What a fantastic interview! Very insightful look into SFC. I would have chosen the pie though.

  6. I love the name "Granny Awards" and look forward to finding out who won.

  7. Very interesting interview!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. This sounds like such a worthwhile endeavor. It does a heart good to see so many caring people spending time and energy putting wonderful stories into the hands of children.

    I especially love the Grannys! Great idea!

  9. I can't wait to hear about the Granny winners. Fun interview.

  10. I'm late to this interview, but well done! Gayle is such a supportive, wonderful editor at SFC!


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