WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
It’s a joy for me to welcome our guest today. Catherine Bailey is a children’s author and presenter from sunny Florida. Her current books include MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling Publishing, 2015), HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony Press, 2016), and LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony Press, 2017) – with more on the way! She has also written for popular children’s magazines such as Highlight’s Hello and Babybug. She is a frequent children’s speaker and has visited with hundreds (and hundreds, and hundreds!) of kids at schools, libraries, stores, and special events.
When Catherine is not writing, or editing, or swatting at mosquitos, she looks after her husband and two children. All three of them are quite sticky, and none like bedtime, but she loves them anyway. Her prior job titles include Lawyer (interesting), Sailboat Deckhand (fun but occasionally sea-sicky), and Cartoon Network Intern (best job ever, besides writing). Her hobbies include reading, travel, and TJ MAXX. But mostly reading.
We are so happy to have you here, Catherine!
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
My favorite author as a child was Roald Dahl and my favorite illustrator (perhaps not surprisingly) was Quentin Blake. There was – and still is today – a magic that comes from the combination of Dahl’s witty text and Blake’s expressive characters. I actually saw original Quentin Blake sketches for sale at the Palm Beach Art and Antique Show a few years back. If I ever win the lottery I’m going to go back and try and find them – LOL!
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
When I first started to write for children, I wish I knew about SCBWI. I did not learn about the organization for several months and *oh boy* did it have a lot to teach me! On the other hand, I am actually glad I did NOT know how long it takes to get published, how hard it is to write good rhyme, how everyone thinks this job is so easy, and so on. If I had been aware of all those negatives, I may have been too scared to plunge into kidlit. Of course, now it’s too late to turn back. I’m hooked!
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?
I began writing for children (officially anyway) in January 2010, right after my first daughter was born. At that time, I either wrote at the local Panera, or I wrote sitting on an ottoman that was tucked in sort of an office/closet combo. I called it my “cloffice” and it was smack in between both of daughters’ rooms. It was not ideal for concentrating, LOL! However, in 2016 we finished building a new house. I now write in my fabulous new office. I always write out manuscripts on my laptop, though if I get a random idea I will jot it down on anything I have handy (including McDonald’s bags, my hand, the back of grocery lists…)
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 first started writing in the middle of the night when I got up to feed my then infant daughters. It worked well for a few years (see aforementioned cloffice, located near babies’ bedrooms), but eventually my kids started sleeping through the night and I was able to start working in the daylight. Like a normal person – ha! Nowadays I try to keep office hours 9am-2pm, at least four days a week. “Try” being the key word. However my writing will usually spill over into evenings when I am close to finishing a draft of a manuscript.
ME: Why do you write for children?
I write for children because I love introducing kids to the world of reading. Books were a massive component of my youth – they taught me to be creative and curious. They made me feel excited and safe all at the same time. It may sound cheesy, but if I can do that for even a handful of kids, then I’m a success. And of course, there is the totally selfish reason – it’s SO FLIPPIN’ FUN!
Thank you, thank you, Catherine! This was wonderful. You are an inspiration! I know everyone truly appreciates how you shared your journey.
Learn more about Catherine and her work at www.catherinebaileybooks.com.
And now for one of my favorite parts of Will Write for Cookies…the treat recipe! And what a treat it is…perfect for a salty sea story, right?
SEA SALT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
CATHERINE: I really enjoy baking, as do my two daughters. (They are excellent taste testers and oven watchers!). Since my latest book, LUCY LOVES SHERMAN, is a sweet and salty story of friendship between a girl and a lobster, I picked an equally flavorful cookie for your readers. I think they will get hooked on the combination of rich chocolate and tangy, sea salt.
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 stick room temperature unsalted butter
¾ c packed brown sugar
½ c sugar
¼ c powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
8oz bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
(2) Combine flour through baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
(3) In electric mixer, combine butter through powdered sugar. When those ingredients are mixed, add in egg yolks through vanilla. When those ingredients are mixed, slowly add dry ingredients until mixed.
(4) Turn off the mixer and fold in chocolate chunks.
(5) Spoon 1 ½ inch balls of dough (about 1-2 inches apart) onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with the sea salt.
(6) Bake for 8-9 minutes, and allow a few minutes for them to set before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
WOW! These are a MUST-MAKE…and definitely a MUST-EAT!
And before we sign off, Catherine has one more thing to say:
I am so excited that LUCY LOVES SHERMAN has finally splashed out! I would like to send a signed copy of the book, a bookmark, and lobster-shaped cookie cutter, to one lucky reader.
Thanks again, Catherine! That is a very special giveaway!
So, my dear readers, please comment on this blog post (and/or on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book review) in order to be entered into this fabulous giveaway.
I know you join me in thanking Catherine for a wonderful Q&A.
And I wish you all a beautiful weekend. Thank you all for stopping by and spending your precious time here with me.