WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
MARTY MOKLER BANKS
My initial connection with the writing community back in 2010 was with today’s featured author. As one of the Colorado Springs SCBWI leaders, Marty welcomed me warmly and made me feel at home. More than that, she made me feel I had a right to call myself a writer.
Marty Mokler Banks is a children’s author and freelance travel writer. She has published five books and writes a blog on children’s chapter books,
I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
I went to Catholic schools where the Arts weren’t promoted too heavily. “Art class” was an hour on Fridays when the math teacher let us use colored markers to make graphs, all with straight lines from our rulers! My dad loved to read Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books, but I don’t remember anyone else in the house reading. They do now, but since I have five older brothers, my mom was probably too tired and my brothers were busy getting in trouble. I remember I owned and loved a copy of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I had a set of Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library, with four tiny books in a box. That was special and I read each one a zillion times. Even then I recognized the excellent illustrations. And in about fourth grade I discovered the transporting qualities of a good book through the middle grade novel The Raft.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
I thought once I got published, that was it–I’d be launched and my career would only go up. I’ve found that it’s more a cycle. You get published–woo hoo! Success! Excitement, excitement! And then, next book–you’re back at square one. It’s kind of like a wheel instead of steady steps up.
ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?
In my office in my house. Also, if I have a big project going, I move to my dining room table. The view is better and there’s more light.
ME: 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?
Ugh. The process. It’s always changing. But mainly, when I start a new project I give myself a set number of minutes or a stopping point that I need to reach each day. I like to do this in the morning, but sometimes I can’t due to other commitments. It’s always brutal to get it done in the afternoon–I feel much lazier, less settled, and less alert. But in the end I’m a believer in the “butt in the chair” philosophy: sit down and do the work each day. Even if it’s not great work, the process always wins out. If I procrastinate, nothing gets done, literally… no thinking, no bad-ideas-that-spawn-good-ideas, no progress.
This is Monkey, faithful companion and part-time muse.
ME: Why do you write for children?
I didn’t start here. I have a B.S. in Journalism, and so I’ve been a magazine editor, corporate communications soldier, marketing flunky and more. But early on I spent my free time writing adult novels. Nothing ever got published, but I think I needed all that practice to hone my craft. Then when I had children I read to them endlessly, and the middle grade novels really hit me with their style, wit, originality and craft. So I switched. Then I got caught in the magic of picture book writing. My first published book is a picture book. Now I mainly write chapter books.
Thank you so very much, Marty! I’ve read several of your chapter books and they are awesome! I recommend them highly for anyone with kids who are looking for an exciting engaging page-turner.
If you’d like to contact Marty or find out more about her books:
Amazon author page:
Blog on chapter books, Chapter Book Chat:
Facebook page for her chapter book series:
I’ve reviewed several of Marty’s books – you can access the posts here:
And now I know everyone is waiting for the treat that comes at the end of these Will Write for Cookies posts…so, without further ado, here is Marty’s sweet share…a tried and true recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Take it away, Marty!
So, I’m a lousy baker. Seriously inept. But, years ago I tried the “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” recipe inside the lid of Quaker Oats (Old Fashioned). Works like a charm every time. I’m in Colorado at 7,200 ft., so it even tells me the adjustment for high altitude.
Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Servings: 4 DOZEN
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 minutes
- 1/2 Cup(s) (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 Cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
- 1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
- 3 Cup(s) Quaker®Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
- 1 Cup(s) raisins
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Serving Tips: Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 24 BARS. VARIATIONS: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.
Marty, I know everyone joins me in thanking you so very much for sharing your thoughts about writing. Many of us are proponents of Jane Yolen’s BIC (Butt in Chair) philosophy – it was fun to see you follow it as well. And some of us are just finishing ReviMo with Meg Miller…so there were definitely a bunch of butts in chairs this past week.
Happy Reading and Writing, Everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!
Butt in Chair …. Yes! I need to do that more in the mornings. Thanks for sharing Marty! And the cookie recipe looks yummy.
Isn’t it amazing what happens to time? I’ll bet you thought that when Enzo went to school in the morning, you’d have hours of free uninterrupted writing time…and instead, by the time you drop him off and pick him up and stop at the store or whatever, there is almost no time at all.
Interesting interview….My illustrator/husband has the same early experience with Catholic schools not encouraging the arts. He persisted in spite of that, so I guess the moral is if you trying have the passion and talent, it will eventually rise to the top.
Glad your hubby persisted, Barbara. 😉 And now he is your illustrator…how cool is that!
Great interview. Thanks Vivian and Marty!
And thanks for stopping by, Sandy…glad you enjoyed the post…Marty is so much fun!
Enjoyed the interview ladies. Nice to meet someone with a similar writing/communications background. I was recently introduced to Marty’s G.G. Rock Climbs when looking for chapter books for a great granddaughter. I like books that are not stereotypical for kids.
Glad you had a chance to check out Marty’s G.G. series, Pat. 🙂 I really enjoyed reading them.
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Thanks for a great interview (and yummy recipe!) I love Marty’s Chapter Book blog – I get so many great recommendations there.
I’m happy that Marty’s Chapter Book blog has been helpful for you, Katey…she does great reviews!
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Thanks for introducing Ms Banks! I was not familiar with her name, but now will be sniffing out her books!
You are so welcome, Rhythm! Her books are great…full of action!
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Very nice! I love that she did a book about rock climbing and other outdoor sports. What a fun idea for a chapter book series!
Marty lives in Colorado, Iza…so there are lots of opportunities for outdoor sports like those in the Rocky Mountains. I agree, it was very clever to make a chapter book series about them. 😉