Patricia Keeler: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

PATRICIA KEELER

I connected with our Will Write for Cookies guest early this year and fell in love with her beautiful art and wonderful stories. (Plus, she’s an awesome person!) When she said she’d be happy to stop in to chat, I was thrilled!

Welcome, Patricia! We are so happy to have you here.

ME:  What was your favorite book when you were a child? 

PATRICIA:

My favorite book was THREE LITTLE HORSES. This is a wonderful story written and illustrated by Piet Worm. The little horses liked playing games that they dreamed up wearing their colorful thinking caps. An artist, wearing a tree suit, befriended them and took them to town. He disguised them in elaborate princess costumes and masks.  

 You might think this a strange story, but it made perfect sense to my six-year old brain and heart. My mother was a textile artist. She spun and dyed her own wool. She wove the yarn into sweaters and dresses. She also created beautiful wedding dresses. Her clients, the brides-to-be, would stand in the middle of our living room to try on their new gowns. Imagine the twirling, the billowing, the excited laughter and chatter.

 So of course little horses could go to town wearing princess masks and wearing princess gowns. Better yet, an artist, like my mother, provided them. I still have the book, and will occasionally pull it down and page through it just for the joy of it.

three little horses

 ME: Where do you like to write and illustrate – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper? 

PATRICIA:

I mostly write in my studio. First drafts are usually with pencil on paper. I write later versions on my computer. I often take these to my writer’s group, where I get constructive feedback. While it’s still fresh, I’ll often start improving the manuscript on the subway on the way home from Brooklyn.

 I’ll almost exclusively do my illustrating in my studio, although I’ll take walks along the Hudson River to work out content, design, layout and color paletteconcerns. After sketching a dummy of my story, I’ll start painting with watercolors. I’ll scan each page spread, and then combine images in Photoshop. I also incorporate elements of collage and photography. With LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL I created ocean waves and Lou Seal with encaustic wax. If you’d like to see more of this process, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evADOs7z068

V AT THE DRAWING TABLEHere I am at my drawing table.

supplies Here are some of the art supplies I work with.

And if you’d like to see even more of my art studio and my illustration approach, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9cCm4T1V0

This You Tube video shows me at work on my current project, SCOOP the ICE CREAM TRUCK, (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018).

ME: Why do you create picture books for children? 

PATRICIA:

One of my greatest joys is creating art for children’s picture books—art that shows the rich emotions of feisty, assertive little girls. I illustrate independent creatures who demand to solve their own problems and expect to enjoy the rewards of doing so.

 I’m especially interested in girls who run up playground slides, win watermelon-spitting contests, and dress in colorful layers. I love little girls whose voices are dainty-delicate but when they shout, trees bend back.

 When visiting parks and playgrounds I discover the unique characteristics of a child by noticing how a baby’s legs hang like noodles from a carrier, how a toddler in a diaper walks like a goose, and a child can bend in positions that are a yogini’s dream.

 My greatest challenge is to have a consistent character while keeping up with her ever-changing moods. Hair and clothes help keep the character looking like the same child, but over 32 pages keeping her 5 years old and not 4 or 6—or her look irritated, but not angry—is on me.

lizzie crash

 I want the world to be a place of true opportunity for girls. In my work I want to show that crying is a badge of courage, because she gave her all. Her hair and clothes are expressions of freedom, because they’re her own flag. And failure is a necessity, because she’ll never move forward without it.

 Little girls intuitively know these things. I want to create books that support them from the get-go.

V BEAHere I am at Book Expo America this May sketching Lizzie wearing everything she needs for her day at the beach on her beach tool belt!

 Now about those cookies, I’ve asked my wonderful husband, Francis McCall, chief cook, bottle washer, editor, my biggest supporter—and baker—to supply the recipe for the best cookies I’ve ever had, cookies I defy anyone to manage to only eat one and not go back for more!

 Grandmother Gera’s Almond Crescent Cookies

V HOT FROM THE OVEN

 

 1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound fine ground almonds

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add almonds.  Add 1 cup of the flour.  Add vanilla.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over this mixture and mix by hand.  Place a handful of dough on a floured board.  Roll out a log of this mixture 1 inch in diameter.  Cut off 1/2-inch slices.  Roll small crescents from the slices with the heels of hands.  Place the crescents on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  Slightly cool and remove.  Place in container and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.  Yield approximately 10 dozen cookies.

 yumYUM!

 

 Giveaways

 coverLIZZIE and LOU SEAL book

necklaceLOU SEAL necklace

 HURRAY! I can’t thank you enough, Patricia, for sharing all of these insights with us. And for your generous giveaways! And for the yummy cookie recipe…Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like…but these are melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness!

Dear friends, if you’d like to connect with Patricia or find out more about her many wonderful books:

LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, Sky Pony Press (why not hop over and write a review?)

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, Sky Pony Press (Spring 2018)

patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com

Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

WOW…what a post! Patricia has been exceedingly generous in sharing so much of her process…we even have the YouTube videos to learn from. You definitely don’t want to leave without commenting because I know everyone would love to win the book and necklace. And don’t forget, leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, and you’ll be entered in THAT giveaway for a copy of the book AND the earrings.

And guess what??? The goodness just doesn’t stop because we need to announce the winners of author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s giveaway!

A copy of Beetle Bop goes to….LESLIE GOODMAN

And a copy of 5 Little Ducks goes to…MANJU HOWARD

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Please contact me so I can connect you and Denise.

Phew! I think I need to grab a big glass of iced tea and a plateful of those Almond Crescent Cookies! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2018), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, cooking, playing Monopoly with my 8-year old grandson and fly-fishing with my husband.

Posted on June 24, 2017, in book giveaway, Cookie recipe, Uncategorized, Will Write for Cookies - Author/Illustrator interviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. The more I read about Patricia and her book, the more I know I need a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What a great post. I read it over and over. I love what you see in little girls, Patricia. Your colorful, insightful descriptions match your illustrations! Thanks, Vivian, for introducing me (us) to Patricia. Oh, I must try the cookies too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right, Mona! LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL is so much more than a fun beach story…Lizzie’s character goes deep and she is a wonderful role model for little girls.

      Liked by 1 person

    • In LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL earlier drafts I was told to make her a little boy! Editors felt a boy running around a beach without an obvious adult would sell better. Maybe that’s true still, but I’m glad Sky Pony took the chance!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Almond crescents are our family’s favorite as well! Great interview!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Delightful interview Vivian and Patricia. Thank you, Patricia, for sharing your process, videos, and yummy cookie recipe. Like Vivian, I’ve never found a cookie a didn’t crunch on down.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha…yes, we should have a cookie exchange, Charlotte. 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the interview…Patricia was the BEST of guests!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Francis and I have nicknamed them ‘Moon Cookies’! He spends a week making them at Christmas. I’m not supposed to eat any until he’s made enough for everybody, but the apartment here in Hoboken smells . . . well . . . divine!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for this post. I love to hear about artist’s creative process. It was a special honor to read Patricia’s interview. I am inspired by her motivation and creativity. Truly an inspiration for us aspiring to be writer/illustrators.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nevrr give up, Shirin…I think that is the MOST important key to success in this business. YAY for being inspired by Patricia’s interview. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I really struggled for the longest time, and then it started to come together. I mean, I began to be able to keep a character consistent and use a variety of techniques. But even now I feel like it could all evaporate. That one day I could sit down to draw, and wouldn’t be able to, so I’m trying to enjoy the moment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful creative process. I’m in awe of illustrators and the number of choices they must make when illustrating. It’s daunting. I would be so overwhelmed, i’d never make any progress. I just have words to choose from. I love the pool noodle legs and diaper walking duck images. So spot on! Thanks for a terrific interview!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My mum made almond crescent cookies at Christmas when I was young. She called them Austrian Almond Crescents. I wanted to make some for my kids to try, and I couldn’t find her recipe…so thank you so much Patricia and hubby, Francis, I will give this one a try. Loved this interview. Little Lizzie looks a wonderful character! Thanks for another great read Vivian!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad you enjoyed the interview, Julie! I agree…the almond crescent cookie recipe looks amazing!
      Hope all is well, dear friend. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • So glad to connect over this recipe! I just asked Francis how many he thought he made every Christmas. He said about 1,200! I think that’s right as he works nonstop for a week and gives individual bags to everyone including the mailman!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you so much for this post! I loved the insight into the whole process — and the recipe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much! It really helps me to look at what I do — kind of like a basketball player reviewing the video after a game. I can better see where the art went off, and how I can improve the layout of my studio. Actually, it’s kind of embarrassing to hear myself umming my way through the video, but I just think we’re one community figuring it out!

      Like

    • So happy you stopped by! Reading about and watching the process is defiitely eye-opening. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, so much information, Thank you. I have a soft spot for the ocean so I’m excited to read this book! The art looks fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s funny, Linda..I’m not a fan of swimming, but I do love sitting near the ocean…I grew up in NYC and was close enough to Coney Island that we’d go often during the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I surprised how much I’m drawn to the ocean, as I’m not a bathing suit (wish they made bathing suit shorts), sit in the sun, kind of woman, but there is something about the vastness of the ocean and the sounds of the waves washing up on the beaches that allows me to sit and be still. Thanks so much for your kind words!

      Like

  10. A wonderful informative post ladies. Loved seeing the illustrator at work as I used to love drawing at school. I could spend hours looking over Patricia’s process and watching what she does. Thank you so much for the wee peek. Yes I love making those Austrian Almond cookies… Hmmm don’t tempt me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I stopped drawing for awhile, but then I started following artists whose work was mixed media and quirky on Instagram. Now every morning I look at artists from all over the world on to see what crazy things they are trying out, and that got me experimenting again! You might like Elizabeth Wood, fotinitikkouillustration, or illustration artists on Instagram.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane…I didn’t know you loved art…you should try to illustrate your wonderful stories. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Deborah Cuneo

    What a great interview! I have the book and it’s truly beautiful as well as a really fun read!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. great post!

    Liked by 2 people

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