WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
TRACEY M. COX
As I’ve mentioned many times, the connections I’ve made in this amazing kid lit community are as important to me as the actual writing. I interact with people all over the world and have even gotten to meet some of them. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting today’s special Will Write for Cookies guest of honor, but I feel I know her well through our shared Facebook groups.
Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is the author of nine picture books and has a few more under contract. Her first illustrated book, Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum In a Dish, will be release in 2016. Tracey is involved in SCBWI, the South Georgia Writers Guild, the Books Love & Taters Book Festival, and is a KidLit TV team member. I did a review of one of Tracey’s book here.
Welcome, Tracey! It is a pleasure having you here. We’ll get right down to the interview because I know you’ve got some great ideas to share.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
My favorite author growing up was my papa. No, he doesn’t have any books per say, but he would take stories and make them his own. Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Pigs were all heard in the house, but with a special twist. My papa was a magnificent storyteller and shared his story-magic with me. Two of his original stories, with a special twist, can now be read. They are my own stories, Ribbert’s Way Home and Liddil Gets Her Light. I’m so thankful he got to see them both in print before he passed away.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
Something I wish I knew back then that I know now is that it takes time to learn your craft and it takes time to find your own voice. It’s more than writing sentences, more than having correct grammar, and more than having a beginning, middle, and end. It’s finding your own lane. Staying true to that inner you. Never giving up and always believing in that initial spark that sends you down a writing/illustrating path.
ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?
First drafts are always on paper. Yep, I’m old school. I love the feel of putting the words out before me, to feel the flow of the words. Once I’ve gone through a few (or several) revisions, I move over to my laptop. I’m usually at the end of my dining room table, a/k/a Tracey’s Office, but will occasionally be found on the couch or outside, enjoying the country air. Sometimes it will depend where I can get some work done without my fur-babies in the way. *laughing*
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?
I don’t have a set schedule. I know many authors tell you to do this, but I don’t. It doesn’t work for me. I tried to do this, but would stare at a blank page and doodle. I write when and wherever I can. Part of this may be my sons’ fault. I started writing when I had a 7-year old, 5-year old, and a 3-month old. I learned to write in snippets… at baseball practice, during the lull time of wrestling tournaments, or whenever I could find a minute or two to jot something down.
ME: Why do you write for children?
Honestly? Because I have never grown up, and I don’t want to either. Children have a way of looking at the world and seeing the wonder of it all. Feelings are deep and true. Everyone can be on the same level. Things can be simpler, yet more complicated. I hope to write stories for them that matter, that will make a difference, that will inspire them to continue to see the world and everyone in it as one.
ME: Tracey, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?
Two pieces of advice
1) Don’t be afraid to go after the small publishing houses. I have three publishing houses I’ve been published with: Guardian Angel Publishing, Xist Publishing, & 4RV Publishing. All of them have treated me with respect and I have been very pleased with the end results of all my books. While they might not have the pull of the bigger houses, they sure do show some mighty love!
2) Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn! Marketing is key for the longevity of your career. It doesn’t matter if you are published with a big or small house. Marketing is falling on the shoulders of the authors and illustrators now. Have a website, blog if you like, be active on social media, network, and make friends with people in the industry. After all, kidlit-ers are some of the bestest people in the world!
Great advice, Tracey…and I know everyone wants to thank you so much for the inside look at your writing process.
If you’d like to connect with Tracey or find out more about her books:
Any of you who know Tracey, know that she is a really sweet young lady…and how lucky can we get…she is sharing a really sweet treat recipe with us today!
Tracey says, “My favorite cookie recipe is for Peanut Butter w/ M&Ms Cookie.”
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
- 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 Eggs
- M&M Minis
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a bowl mix sugar, peanut butter, and eggs until smooth. This will take a while.
- Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.
- Press to flatten
- Place a few M&M minis on each cookie and press into batter
- Place in oven and cook 10-12 minutes. Depends on oven and how done you like them.
- Take out of oven and place on cooling rack.
We sure will, Tracey…thank you again!
Well, dear readers, all of the prizes from the #50Precious Words Contest have been sent off. The challenge was a thrill for me…and from the many comments, I can tell it was enjoyed by all. Now that I don’t have wonderful entries to read, I’m back to writing my own stories. Right now I am working on two nonfiction picture book biographies. Later this month I’ll be traveling to Chicago to visit family as well as attend the Wild Midwest SCBWI Conference in Naperville, Illinois. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of you there.
I hope you all enjoy your weekend…if you are traveling, please be safe.