WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
I’ve met many wonderful people on this journey into kid lit writing. One of the most generous is today’s Will Write for Cookies guest. Early on, I discovered her website which remains a source of information and inspiration for me.
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (not really), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She’s written several picture books including Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang; and Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 2.5 dogs, and 1 husband.
Stacy…welcome!!!! Before we begin, I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of Stacy’s newest picture book, Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, so please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end. I did a wonderful Perfect Picture Book review of it right here.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
I wasn’t a big reader as a kid. In fourth grade, I clearly remember counting the words in the book How to Eat Fried Worms, instead of reading them. That was an assigned book. When the class went to the library and I was given a choice, I’d check out a Shel Silverstein book. The librarian eventually cut off my Silverstein habit because I’d renew A Light in the Attic every week. I can still recite the Crowded Tub poem.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
Quality comes from quantity. When I began, I’d rewrite the same picture book manuscript for six months, maybe longer and not create anything new. Sometimes what I write is just not going to be good—or publishable—no matter how much I rewrite or polish. Now, I’ll write several picture book manuscripts over a six-month period. My instincts (and my critique group) can help me determine which ones deserve the time and energy required to make a manuscript great.
Also, I now know that rejections will always be a part of my career. They’re not just for beginners.
ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?
For picture books, I like to write the first draft in a notebook. For chapter books, I outline on my computer, usually in my office. And these outlines are very detailed and get revised several times. For a first draft of a novel, I go Vin Diesel style—meaning fast and furious! I aim for two thousand words a day (with no days off), and I do this on my laptop because I can take it anywhere.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
When I talk to students, I tell them my job is awesome because I can work whenever I want. Yes, I work during the day when my kids are at school, but I also work nights and weekends. Basically, it feels like I constantly have homework. I am blessed that I get to do what I love full-time. I just didn’t realize full-time would be sixty to eighty hours per week. Of course, that’s not all writing time. About twenty-five percent of my work life is spent on clerical duties and promotional work.
ME: Why do you write for children?
I love making kids laugh.
ME: Stacy, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.
Here’s 10-Second Advice from Stacy McAnulty – an untrained professional advice giver.
Aspiring Writers — Invest in yourself! If you wanted any other job—nurse, personal trainer, lawyer, juggler—you’d probably go back to school or at least take a few classes. Find a good writing class, it’s worth it.
Parents — Get caught reading! I can’t tell my kids to go read and then sit down to play Candy Crush on my iPhone. Kids need to see us reading.
Educators — Thank you! What you do is so important and you probably get more complaints than compliments. I am amazed by what you accomplish with such limited resources. You make a difference.
Librarians — Another big thank you! When you help a child find a book or connect with a book, you are changing the future. Librarians are superheroes.
Stacy, I LOVE your 10-Second Advice! I am 100% in agreement with every word of it.
And for all of you who want to find out more about Stacy and her wonderful books: http://www.stacymcanulty.com/
Okay friends…you know what they say…it’s not over until the cookie recipe is shared!
I know I mentioned triple chocolate cupcakes, but when I make cupcakes, I just use a mix. But I do have a cake I love and actually made it for BEAUTIFUL’s book birthday.
German Chocolate Chip Cake
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
1 cup mini chocolate chips
4 Tb grated German chocolate
1 – In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, milk, and oil. Beat on low speed until moist. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
2 – Stir in chips and grated German chocolate.
3 – Pour into greased and floured bundt pan.
4 – Bake at 350° for about 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5 – Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack. Cool completely.
6 – Sprinkle with sugar.
Stacy, thank you so much for being here…and for sharing the recipe for the cake you made for Beautiful’s Book Birthday. I’m excited to try it…I’m a lover of anything chocolate.
And I’m also a lover of giving away books…so, dear readers, I’ll be enjoying your comments and then Random.org will choose the winner of a copy of Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite.
I hope your weekend is filled with some of your favorites. Like writing a draft for your #50PreciousWords entry.