Sue Agauas, of Sterling Heights, is the author of the children’s novel “Grandma’s Sock Drawer.”

Sue Agauas, of Sterling Heights, is the author of the children’s novel “Grandma’s Sock Drawer.”

Photo by Donna Dalziel

NaNoWriMo, ‘Narnia’ inspire Sterling author to write novel

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 18, 2020


STERLING HEIGHTS — To Sterling Heights author Sue Agauas, being a retired elementary teacher and crafting an immersive children’s book are similar in how they capture children’s attention and imagination.

“I see how they learn,” she said. “I love to watch them learn something. I tried to create places where they could discover for themselves. To let them go on a journey, to let them be in the middle of it, and I just love to see what they discover.

“As a teacher, I tried to ask the questions that make them think. I want them to have fun. I want them to enjoy reading.”

Agauas said she published “Grandma’s Sock Drawer” this summer. The book is an adventure fantasy novel in the spirit of author C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. The main audience is middle-grade children, but the book is designed to appeal to adults, too, she said.

Agauas, of Sterling Heights, runs her own publishing company, Why Not Now? Children’s Books, following her retirement as an elementary teacher for almost four decades.  

“I’m a big fan of C.S. Lewis, and I like how he travels to different worlds, so I wanted to explore my own fantasy world,” she said.

The plot of “Grandma’s Sock Drawer” is about a girl named Sukey who goes on an adventure to learn the truth about her family after getting a note and a key to a sock drawer at her grandmother’s beach house.

Agauas drafted the story in November 2017 during National Novel Writing Month, in which she has participated for around 10 or 11 years as she wrote unpublished children’s books. She said the annual NaNoWriMo experience incentivizes writers to craft a full novel without letting self-criticism get in the way.

But she was uniquely confident in what resulted from “Grandma’s Sock Drawer.”

“This is one I really liked,” she said. “I thought this one is worth putting time into, to revise and get it into print.”

Agauas said the themes of family and love, including God’s love, dwell in her book. She said the book’s themes involve “the exploration of things that are basic to all of us,” including the need to know family and be loved, to have people around. Plus there is the escape of traveling to different places and meeting animal people.

Agauas said her daughter, Hannah Carbajal, who lives in California, gave honest criticism during the editing process by color-coding passages in yellow, green and red.

“She didn’t pull any punches,” Agauas said. “She really nitpicks and looks for things, but I also know that she has a very imaginative mind. She gave me great feedback.”

Carbajal said her mother is diligent about her daily writing process and seeking outside perspectives of her work and its characters, plot and writing style. Carbajal described what stuck out to her about the book.

“I think more than a specific moment, what I like most is kind of Sukey’s internal world, and I think you get into her thoughts and her experiences with nature and her appreciation of beauty,” Carbajal said. “And I see my mom a little bit in it because she sees beauty in the world in a unique way.”

Agauas said she is already working on a sequel to her latest book.

“Grandma’s Sock Drawer” by Sue Agauas, is sold on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and platforms. Find out more about it by visiting