WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
JACKIE AZÚA KRAMER
Jackie and I connected in a couple of kid lit Facebook groups. I absolutely love her picture book, THE GREEN UMBRELLA, which we spotlighted during her book blog tour. I’m thrilled to announce that THE GREEN UMBRELLA was just chosen as a Bank St College Best Books.
Her story melds so perfectly with the reuse/recycle/repurpose theme of Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/, I knew we would want to welcome her to Will Write for Cookies today.
And because I think it’s fun for you to know a little bit about our guests, I grabbed a paragraph from her website about page:
Many lives ago I was an actor, singer & school counselor. Now I’m an author, and wile away my time writing children’s picture books. What ties these all together are my dreams and imagination. Most of the time you’ll find me reading, watching old movies, globe trekking and whenever possible sharing laughter & food with my family.
Welcome, Jackie! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
It may sound cliché, but Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Arnold Lobel. They were my generations Mo Willems or Mac Barnett. I wore my copies thin of In the Night Kitchen, Horton Hears a Who and Frog and Toad are Friends. At the time, reading in school was very dry and uninventive. It was a welcome relief to discover these books at the library and simply laugh out load or see yourself in these stories. I remember crying when I read Frog and Toad because I knew as a child what it meant to feel lonely sometimes.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?
Apart from the ‘ins and outs’ of the publishing industry, not much. I felt then, as I do now, that wonder is the secret sauce. Wonder allows you to stay curious, open and present, and from that can come great stories. There is one thing—I would have read more picture books.
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?
All the above. I love my writing space at home, but sometimes there are too many shiny distractions. When the weather is warm, I love to sit on my deck under a canopy of trees. I also love the back corner of my library that faces an old church.
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’m writing ALL the time. Just not on paper or my computer. Much of the time, I write in what I call my ‘writerly mind’. In that space–I imagine, dream, think and wonder. Bit by bit, the idea for a story begins to form along with a possible structure. The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) at 300 words lingered in my thoughts for almost two years.
ME: Why do you write for children?
Honestly, I write for children because I feel I have something I want to share with them. My hope is that my stories are conduits to feelings—joy, curiosity, sadness, laughter, surprise. Nothing is worse than knowing a child read my book and at the end there wasn’t an ‘AHA’ moment.
ME: Yes, you are so right, Jackie…those are crucial elements to strive to have in our stories. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Join Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators—that’s a must. Have something where you can jot down inspirations, thoughts, ideas. Don’t edit or limit your ideas at this incubation stage. Quirky, nuggets or impossible, silly, bizarre and wrong ideas, collect them like a jar of penny’s. One day you’ll cash in BIG!
Thank you so very much, Jackie, for sharing your insights. I know everyone is walking away with a renewed (YES, renewed…pun intended) excitement for why we are all writing for children.
To find out more about Jackie and her books:
Facebook: Jackie Azúa Kramer
The Green Umbrella on Amazon
Oh, wait a minute…don’t walk away yet. First check out the treat recipe. And then make sure you leave a comment to be entered in Jackie’s giveaway. And because it is Earth Day, please join the fun and post or tweet a photo of you doing your Earth Day thing…recycling/repurposing/reusing…make sure you tag me and Jackie so we can see it.
And because we are doing things a bit differently in honor of Earth Day, Jackie has a savory dish for us to try. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe she shared my hubby’s FAVORITE brunch.
JACKIE: I have a simple breakfast dish that we love in our family, Egg in a Basket. And eggs and spring also go well together.
Recipe for Egg in a Basket:
Cut a medium slice of your favorite round bread. I like a good sour dough. Take out most of the center of the bread. Place in a hot pan with butter and crack two eggs in the center. Flip once and cook eggs to your preference. I love the eggs over easy which compliments the crispy bread. Tip: In the last 30 seconds, add a slice of cooked bacon on top. Bacon makes everything special.
Vivian’s note: This is my husband’s favorite brunch…we call it Egg in a Nest and we add a slice of cheese…American, Swiss, or provolone…let it melt on top…mmmm…mmmm…good!
At this very moment, I am at the NESCBWI with so many of my kid lit friends…maybe even you! Next week, I hope you’ll stop by again for an NESCBWI recap, a Book Review and Giveaway from Rosie Pova in honor of Mother’s Day (doing it early so the prize will get to the winner by Mother’s Day), a Perfect Picture Book Friday with Tara Lazar and a Will Write for Cookies with Anna Forrester. And don’t forget to leave a comment and share a recycle/reuse/repurpose photo on social media.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
We call this dish “egg with a hole in the middle”–because that’s what I called it when I was a kid (for some unknown reason). My kids love it, and we all still call it by that silly name.
Jackie, you had me at the book cover. Delightful, engaging, and imaginative story, I’m sure. Thanks, Vivian, for highlighting this talented author.
I grew up with Dr Seuss, too and need to enter that ‘wonder’ space again. Thanks for the sound advice, Jackie!
Thanks for the inspiration, Jackie and Vivian!
“The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) at 300 words lingered in my thoughts for almost two years.” This line gives me hope. I have an idea that has been swimming round my brain for a whole year now but I haven’t quite figured it out completely. Maybe one day that A-ha moment will come.
I can’t wait to read The Green Umbrella.
Congrats on such a sweet and lovely book, Jackie :). And thanks for sharing, Vivian!
Wonderful interview–I enjoyed learning more about Jackie, and the How and Why behind her books.
Thanks for the recipe reminder! I forgot about this fun and delish dish, haven’t made “eggs in a nest” in a very long time. My son will be delighted when I make them tomorrow morning! : )
Thank you both for a wonderful interview. I agree that the thinking part of writing can be as productive as the writing part.
Lovely interview with Jackie, and a great choice for Earth Day. I’m going to try the recipe. Sounds easy and delicious, not to mention healthy and nutritious. Thank you.
Thank you Jackie and Vivian- always insightful and fun!
The recipe sounds delicious, though i’d add some veggies in between the bread and the egg – like sateed bell peppers or spinach… the book sounds great to and thanks for a wonderful interview, Vivian and Jackie.
I cannot wait to read THE GREEN UMBRELLA! I heard the story at a conference years ago when Jackie’s agent spoke at an Eastern PA SCBWI conference about “perfect picture books.” He read her text as an example and I loved it! I was so excited to read this will finally be published!
Hi Vivian & Readers!! I’m so happy to be Vivian’s guest. It’s uplifting to read your comments and know that in some small way I may have inspired you and your writing. If not for anything else, it’s hilarious to hear all the names given to yummy eggs cooked in crusty bread. I’m deep in the throes for research for my new story, so I’m keeping social media limited. Good luck to all in the giveaway💚☔💚