WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
When I first joined this kid lit community, I admired Katie Davis from afar. She was already a rock star! Her BrainBurps podcasts were legend! She had books out there! But, instead of holding herself apart, up on a pedestal, Katie was down in the trenches, always helping others, always sharing her expertise, always giving. In fact, in her coaching classes, that is her mantra—always be giving.
I’m excited to welcome Katie. She’s got a lot to share with us so let’s get started.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
When I was little I loved all the books you see in the picture. There are few books missing, like Harriet the Spy, which I’m re-reading for the first time since childhood. Boy, you couldn’t get away with some of the things now that were written back then! Take a look at just the first couple of chapters. Also missing is The Snowy Day. I thought I was that child. I lived in New York City, and was there for the big blizzard of (mumbles some year no one understands) and remember sledding in the park next to our building. Whenever I read that book, I felt like that child.
But there was one book, which I still have, that completely fascinated me. I think it worked my imagination in the same way a wordless picture book would because I used to weave all kinds of stories from looking at it. It’s really more like a pamphlet, and is called Pop Art For People to Play Around With.
As you can see, the pages are trimmed to different levels so when you turn them, they create new images. I was mesmerized and spent many hours looking at this, intrigued by the 3-D objects that draw the wordless stories along. At the end there is a real piece of string (“MOM! LOOK! THERE’S A REAL STRING!”)
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
I had to think about this for awhile; I don’t look backwards and regret much. I wish I knew it’s not about one book. It’s about a career. If a book doesn’t sell, or I get a lot of rejections on a particular manuscript, or have challenges, no panicking is necessary! Regarding marketing––I do wish I had a mailing list started way back when. You can never start too early!
ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?
Before I’m at final stages––anywhere! For final art, I’m at my desk. And the medium depends on the story. But I haven’t been drawing as much as I’d like these days. I’ve been working pretty hard with my students lately, and it gives me such joy––though I do have two books in the works. But I tend to take a while to get things right!
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?
Have you ever noticed that people are impressed with those who get up early but not with people who stay up late? They never marvel, “Good for you! You stayed up till 2am!” They do say, “You got up at 5am to work?!” But I wish I could pull all nighters! I’m best in the morning. I’ve been so busy getting Picture Book Summit ready I was knocked off my schedule. I am now writing again––even a paragraph if that’s all I have time for––every day.
Whether you keep a journal, or write a blog post, just write something every day. It keeps your writing muscle in shape. Same with illustrating, though I’m worse about that!
.ME: Why do you write for children? And a second question Katie, you’ve branched off and, in addition to writing for children, you also provide coaching for authors, as well as being an incredible resource for parents and teachers. How did that come about?
Why do I write for children? The most obvious is they’re way more fun than grownups. They’re tough critics so they up my game. It’s how I think––I’m still very much in touch with the child I used to be.
In answer to the second part of the question, the business changed. Indie publishing got bigger and more respected in the last decade, and the publishing houses merged and I took many years to work on my middle grade and YA novels. That led to a dry spell for me in my picture book writing/illustrating. The ones I’d already published were still selling, so many authors were coming to me, asking how to market their books. In response I wrote and self-published How to Promote Your Children’s Book.
It was from there my coaching business grew. I particularly enjoy enlightening people who are confused about the tools available to them for their book marketing, tech aspects, and how to go about creating an author platform. It’s why I have both downloadable courses as well as my live course where we meet online for four weeks, called How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers.
It’s not a regular thing, but I try to fit it in because I love doing it––I wish I could do it all the time!
Oh my goodness! Katie, you are tireless! You are like the Energizer Bunny. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit with us.
Believe me, guys, I’ve taken several classes with Katie as coach and mentor…she never gives up on you…she’s a powerhouse of activity and ideas and problems.
She’s a pretty darn good baker as well…and here’s a fun cookie recipe that kids will love – get out the paintbrushes to paint the frosting!!!!
This is a great recipe to do with kids, and then paint them by using inexpensive paintbrushes and icing “paint” you make by mixing powdered sugar, heavy cream, and Wilton’s color gels which you can buy at grocery stores or craft stores. The thicker the icing, the better!
Cookie Cutter Cookies
These are not overly sweet cookies and are quick and easy to make.
Pre-heat over to 400.
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add 1 c.
at a time the flour along with the baking powder. Don’t chill the
dough. Make 4 balls out of the dough. Roll out each and dip the
cutters in flour first . Bake cookies 4-5 minutes depending on
size and thickness.
Thank you all for joining me and Katie…have a beautiful weekend everyone!!!