WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS
There are many reasons to blog…for me, one of the most important is to reach out and connect.
And that is how I connected author Emily Lim. Two years ago, while searching for articles on the importance of picture books, I discovered Mum Mum’s The Word, Emily’s blog. I didn’t know who she was…I only knew that someone had written a darn good post about a topic near and dear to my heart. I linked my post to hers…and the rest is history.
I met Emily when I was in Singapore last year at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. She is kind and generous and smart and beautiful and talented and a true friend. As one of the festival directors, Emily was directly responsible for my being there. I was thrilled and honored to go…and I am equally thrilled and honored to shine the Will Write for Cookies spotlight on one of Singapore’s leading picture book authors, Emily Lim!
Welcome, Emily…thank you so much for agreeing to the interview. I know everyone is anxious to hear all about you.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
Emily: Enid Blyton was my all time favourite. I dreamt of finding a faraway tree and wishing chair which could take me to magical places. When I was older, my girlfriends and I all chanted Judy Blume’s recommended… ahem…exercises.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
Emily: I wish I knew how helpful it is to have critique partners and writer’s support groups .I wrote and published my first 4 picture books based on three How-to books, a few conferences and a couple of best friends reading just one or two drafts. I’m thankful my books somehow turned out well but it did get lonely and tiring at some point.
Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?
Emily: When I first started, I found my inspiration through spending hours at the library and bookstores browsing picture books. My ideas would then take form over the next few weeks. When I finally had some semblance of a story in my mind, I would then write it out on my computer.
When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?
Emily: Now that I have a young child, I don’t have big chunks of time to hang out in bookstores,
so I write in my study at night after my little one is asleep. I’m definitely more productive now…out of necessity!
Why did you choose the particular animals/characters that you do for your picture book manuscripts?
Emily: My first book, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, was a submission for my Book Council competition.
I didn’t know if that would be my first and last book so I wanted a character with universal appeal, hence the teddy bear. After I decided to write and publish three more titles with publishing grants I received, I decided to continue with my toy theme.
Please feel free to share any tips that will help aspiring writers/illustrators.
Emily: Firstly, get into a writer’s group and find compatible critique partners as it provides the extra eyes for the blind spots in your manuscripts and the shoulders to provide support through your ups and downs in your writing.
Secondly, have faith in yourself. After you have received all the critiques possible, take time to mull over it and be the one to decide what works for you. It can get very confusing when everyone has a different view on how you should amend your manuscript.
Finally, whilst we all want writing achievements enjoy the process too and see every rejection as a step towards your growth and success as a writer. If you are not getting rejections, that means you are not writing and submitting your manuscripts.
Emily…thank you so very much for your candor and encouraging words! And I’m excited to share the delicious-looking recipe you contributed. What a wonderful treat to add to our collection! And I apologize for the upside-down look…obviously, I am head over heels in love with these tarts!!!!
Cookie recipe: Pineapple Tarts
1 kg of high-grade pineapple jam (in Singapore, Sun Lik, Bake King and Phoon Huat are the best grade)
500g of plain flour
½ tsp of salt
3 tbsp of milk powder
2 tsp of baking powder
420g unsalted butter (omit salt if using salted butter)
2 egg yolks (lightly beaten) – don’t store eggs in fridge and don’t use eggs which are too old
1 ½ tbsp castor sugar
6 tsp hot water
¾ tsp of vanilla essence
+ Glaze 1 additional egg
(Makes about 140 pineapple tarts)
- Roll pineapple jam into balls of 7g each
- Sieve plain flour, salt, baking powder and milk powder and add to butter
- Rub with fingertips until resembles breadcrumbs
- Beat egg yolk with sugar and vanilla essence
- Add egg yolk mixture, followed by hot water to breadcrumbs and knead to form dough
- Roll into balls of 7g each and wrap pineapple jam
- Brush tarts with glaze and bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes
To learn more about the amazing Emily Lim and her books:
- Emily Lim is the award-winning author of several children’s picture books. She is the 1st outside North America to win 3 medals in children’s books at the IPPY awards, the world’s largest book awards and 1st in Southeast Asia to win the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. She also won the Honourable Mention Award at Writer’s Digest 20th Self Publishing Awards and was on the shortlist for two other awards
- Emily’s books have been published in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Korea and also turned into animation, theatre and are also used in the schools.
- Emily was named Singapore Woman Award Honoree 2013 for inspiring readers through her children’s books and her memoir Finding My Voice, based on her journey of losing her voice to a disorder and finding it again through writing.
- Read more about Emily’s books at http://mummumstheword.wordpress.com/