Julie Rowan-Zoch: Will Write for Cookies






Headshot 2



Most of my Will Write for Cookies’ guests – in fact, most of the people I’ve connected with in this incredible kid lit community – are ‘just’ internet friends. But a very special few I have met in person – and Julie is one of those!

A few weeks before my departure from Colorado, there was an author event at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. I actually got to listen to Peter Brown read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. And while that was an honor, the biggest thrill for me was going to lunch with several Colorado writers including: Julie Hedlund, Stacy Jensen, Sheri McCrimmon, and our featured author/illustrator, Julie Rowan-Zoch.

Julie grew up chasing hermit crabs on Long Island, New York and spent years slicing rich, dark breads in northern Germany before she found joy in blue Colorado skies. She makes her own if she wants decent bread now. She studied Advertising/Graphic Design at FIT in New York City, and the Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste in Braunschweig. Julie still loves design, but recently found her passion for writing, reading and illustrating picture books. She’s an active SCBWI member and 12×12 participant (3 years!), belongs to an online and a local PB critique group, and recently illustrated three board books for Bailiwick Press, released in October 2014.


I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.

Welcome, Julie!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?



Russell Hoban’s  FRANCES books; anything by Else Holmelund Minarik or Joan Walsh Anglund; and still close to my heart, CAPS FOR SALE by Esphyr Slobodkina.


ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?


Actually, I am glad I was naive. I thought I could whip up a story in one go, and drawing would be a snap, so how hard could it be? Luckily it took a while for it to sink in – the awareness came in doses. If I had known how much hard work and patience was necessary from the get-go, my passion would not have been able to blossom. No turning back now!

 Year-by-Year Board Book Series_Bailiwick



ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?



As you know, the Colorado sun is pretty intense, so drawing outside isn’t easy for detailed work, and impossible on my tablet (Samsung Galaxy Note, 10.1), which is my sketchpad of choice now, but my first love is pencil and paper, any scrap will do.


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?


Any time of day really, but I like to use the quiet morning hours for drawing. 


ME: Why do you write for children?



I have a secret. I don’t write for kids. I don’t think of children reading my stories as I am writing them, nor my drawings. Of course I hope they enjoy them, and nothing thrills me more than parents telling me their child likes a character sketch of mine. BUT…I just have that much fun crafting them. It’s the joy I get while creating them that fuels my passion. I love being with and working with kids, but maybe because I love playing and being silly too!


ME: Please feel free to share any tips that will help aspiring authors.


For writing: READ. If you don’t like to read a lot of picture books, don’t bother writing them. For illustrating: DRAW. Yes, but EVERY day! One tip I got from Will Terry that cracked my brain open, was to think of your characters in silhouette and ask what can be read from the outline, what information can you impart with just that outline? I watch a lot of old movies (especially fond of British films from the 40’s and 50’s), but I find it easy to learn from actors. Telling story through their bodies and tone is their passion, right?



Oh my goodness, Julie! I knew it would be awesome to have an author/illustrator in the spotlight. Artists do see things from a different perspective and I love that you shared about watching old British movies and that you study how their body language conveys what they are trying to say – in the same way as illustrations in a picture book convey what the text or main character or story is trying to say.

I know everyone joins me in thanking you so very much for the peek inside your writing and illustrating process, Julie.

To contact Julie or learn more about her books and her

Blog: https://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/

Portfolio (page on my blog): https://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/portfolio/

‘Illustrator Showcase’ on my agency’s website: http://www.wernickpratt.com/illustrator-showcase/nggallery/illustrator-showcase/julie-rowan-zoch

Facebook artist page: https://www.facebook.com/ArtistJulieRowanZoch

I hope you will all head over and look at her brilliant work – but first check out the yummy recipe she shared with us!

Rote Grütze Vanillecreme

Rote Grutze – ‘Red Grits’:

a sweet fruit dessert from Germany and Denmark

3x one pound bags of frozen mixed berries, any combo will do, but I like lots of raspberries, some cherries or blueberries, and strawberries. You can easily use fresh, but I usually eat them before I can get 3 lbs together!

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of apple cider or juice

3 tablespoons of corn starch

Directions: Mix the berries with the sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil, for just 5 minutes, or till the larger fruit have thawed. Mix the cornstarch into the cold juice, add it to the berries and bring it to a boil again, then remove it from the heat source and let it cool. Best served with vanilla sauce or melted vanilla ice cream. Vanilla sauce can be made from scratch, but mixing a packet of instant vanilla pudding with 3 cups of cold milk (no cooking) is tasty too. 

Ooooh…raspberries are my favorite! And with vanilla ice cream? I wish I had some right now.

Happy Reading and Writing, Everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

And please don’t forget about the Show Me How Library Initiative Giveaway in honor of National Library Week. Sign up for my newsletter and your local library might win a copy of Show Me How for their shelves – just click here.

60 thoughts on “Julie Rowan-Zoch: Will Write for Cookies

    • Awwww….I miss you guys also, Julie. I’m thankful I got to meet you all that day in Denver…and I’m planning on going to the Chicago SCBWI conference in 2016…Stacy says maybe you and she will drive…what fun it would be to meet up. 🙂

      And thank you for participating in Will Write for Cookies…you are a stellar guest!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. OH MY GOODNESS…. I am green with envy you all got to meet in Denver.. OOOooohh I so wish I could have been. What a lovely warm interview between two of the sweetest cyber friends I know. Oh and I am definitely going to try that desert…. even though my hips are already shaking their heads….LOL Thank you so much Vivian and Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a really special day, Diane. But never say never…we might meet at some conference one day – or maybe I will take that round the world trip (I wish, I wish) and stop by to say hi to all my crit buddies. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the interview, Diane…and let me know how the dessert is – I want to try it also…and remember, as Susanna Hill says, it’s got fruit…it must be totally nutritious. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love homebaked bread also, Tina. When my kids were small and I ran a home daycare, we baked bread several times a week…the kids loved taking home their own little loaf that they had mixed and kneaded and shaped themselves. 🙂


  2. Thank you for featuring one of my favorite people! Julie is a treasure in the kidlit community, not to mention an uber-talented artist. Seeing her daily sketches is a highlight of my day. She always makes me smile. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The character in silhouette idea is brilliant, Julie–thanks for sharing it!!

    Incidentally my husband is German, so I’ve lived in and visited Berlin many times.

    Good luck with your books! I love seeing your sketches too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The silhouette idea was very cool, Maria. And I loved that Julie watches classic movies to observe the body language of the characters – I’d never thought of doing that – I think it can translate to helping us write deeper, more authentic mcs.
      Thank you so much for stopping by for Julie’s interview!


  4. What a true and marvelous statement from Julie Rowan-Zoch… “If you don’t like to read a lot of picture books, don’t bother writing them.” This could be a great moto for ReFoReMo. Thankfully, my love of picture books began as a child and has grown in intensity over the years. (never mind how many years…)

    I had to smile at the inclusion of the recipe for Rote Grutze. Growing up with a German mother, this was a dessert we frequently enjoyed. My mother’s recipe was slightly different. She used maple syrup instead of sugar as it intensified the cozy flavor.

    This dessert holds another memory for me, too. It was on the day before my mother passed away that I raced home and made her favorite Rote Grutze which I brought to her so the last wonderful food she tasted was her favorite dessert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, Leslie. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and for sharing the story of why the dessert holds such a special place in your heart. I’m so glad you had that last meal with her – and that you made her last moments so joyful!
      You honed in on a gem from Julie…’If you don’t like to read a lot of picture books, don’t bother writing them’ would make an excellent motto for ReFoReMo..and every writer of picture books, as well. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • And how wonderful that you met so many talented writers at the Denver Tattered Cover Bookstore, a place I frequented every Sunday afternoon while I lived in Denver years back.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Leslie, thank you for sharing your sweet memories. I will try your mother’s version next time! Maria, Berlin is such a cool city, a lucky destination for you. I lived in Hannover, not too far. Joanna, I’ll have to practice that one again til you get here, but I have back-up recipes that satisfy too. And Diane, it’s mostly fruit!! Thank you for popping in and sharing too, Renee, Iza, Dana and Tina!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darn, if only it were as easy as Julie first assumed to write and illustrate picture books… glad she persevered and we get to enjoy the fruits of her labors now. So talented!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful interview! Thank you so much Julie and Vivian! I so agree with you about the awareness coming in small doses… and what a good thing that is… or we mightn’t have the strength to keep at it 🙂 One of these days I’m going to meet you both in real life – probably somewhere between New Hampshire, New York and Colorado 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful interview!!! Julie is a super talent!! And I was lucky enough to meet Julie person too!
    I love this: “the awareness came in doses. If I had known how much hard work and patience was necessary from the get-go, my passion would not have been able to blossom. No turning back now!” So much truth in that for me, too.
    Thanks, Vivian and Julie :•)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Whenever I think of Julie, and I think I’ve said this before, I think of The Police’s song “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”! I never tire of finding out more about her because she inspires me no matter what it is she’s doing. If I could have even a small fraction of her creativity and artistic skills, I would be a more fulfilled person. 🙂 ❤ to you both for this interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved the interview. You opened my eyes to something I’ve never considered regarding seeing silhouette and ask questions. That could be translate in many ways for writers too. Would lo be a fly on your studio wall. Great interview.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great interview ladies! Julie, I can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂 I also love what you said about how you don’t write for kids. We must start by writing for ourselves if we want our work to be authentic and to resonate. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great interview ladies! And ooh that recipe! I don’t write for kids first either. So neat to hear all this. I immediately think of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy.

    Liked by 1 person

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