(Posted Sept. 4, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Best friends Sue Cutler and Nancy Geruntino can’t help themselves. When they are together, they often converse in British accents and rhyme.
Why would grown women do such a thing? One, because they are kids at heart, and two, because they have a heart for kids.
Both former educators, the two have collaborated over the past seven years to produce children’s books with positive messages. The messages are delivered by characters Camilla Carnation Chrysanthemum and Gwyneth Geranium Gardenia, two English queens who get themselves into outrageous predicaments.
“With our books, we’re using a lot of humor to talk about character building and good values,” said Geruntino.
“We cover things like making good choices, peer pressure and being a good friend,” said Cutler.
Geruntino, a Hilliard resident, is a retired speech and language pathologist. Cutler, a Plain City resident, is a retired art and kindergarten teacher. Both said that while working with school children, they struggled to find books to support thematic units on manners and values. So, they decided to come up with their own to fill the void.
To date, they have self-published two titles, “My Hair,” about friendship and learning from failure, and “Dumpster Diving,” drawing on the adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. With inspiration from sometimes the most unlikely of places, they have another 12 books written.
“We take a lot of trips together. During one, we went over some speed bumps and ended up writing a book about adjusting to the bumps you come across in life,” Cutler said. They keep a notebook in the car’s glovebox for when inspiration strikes. And, yes, their brainstorming is done out loud in British accents.
The duo’s next quest is to find a publisher for the 12 books they have ready to go and the many more they are likely to write. In the meantime, they are making appearances, dressed in full queen costumes, at hospitals, nursing homes, preschools and elementary schools. Recently, they read their books and talked about their creative process and mission at the Madison Herb Society meeting in West Jefferson.
To learn more about the adventures of Camilla Carnation Chrysanthemum and Gwyneth Geranium Gardenia, to schedule an appearance by their real-life counterparts, or to purchase books go to www.queensplaytime.com or send email to email@example.com.