WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
I’ve connected with amazing people on this kid lit writing journey. Some I meet at conferences. Others join Facebook groups where I’m active. Many are my critique buddies. And once in a while, authors reach out to ask if I will review their books and new friendships are formed. Our Will Write for Cookies guest emailed me because her newest book was launching…and I’m so glad she did. What a special lady she is! Here’s just a bit from her website:
Carole Gerber is a poet and children’s book author living in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Not only is she the author of nearly two dozen picture books, early readers and chapter books, but she has also worked as a high school and middle school English teacher, an adjunct professor of journalism at Ohio State, a marketing director, editor of a company magazine, a member of creative teams at an ad agency and a hospital, a contributing editor to a computer magazine, and – finally! – as a freelance writer of hundreds of elementary textbooks, magazine articles, speeches, annual reports, and patient education materials.
Besides being a “Jill” of many trades – or more precisely – one trade (writing) with many incarnations, she is also the wife of Mark, the mother of two grown daughters, Jess and Paige, and “Mimi” to Sara and Tyler, Paige’s children, and to Joanna, Jess’s daughter. Plus, she also sponsors half a dozen children at a time through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children of all faiths in more than 100 developing countries.
Carole, it is an honor to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
I read all the Louisa May Alcott books. Jo was my favorite character. I also read all the stories in a set of books for children that my parents bought. It was called “The Young Folks Shelf of Books,” and categories included adventure, poetry, history, and various others. In high school, I used to check out a book every morning before home room and sneakily read it throughout the day. Our school librarian, Maxine Finkbine (isn’t that a memorable name?!), was impressed by my appetite for reading but feared I was a slacker about my studies. She was right!
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
I now know that the first idea isn’t necessarily the best idea – and that rewriting is far more important than writing. After teaching school for two years, I returned to college and earned a master’s degree in journalism. Afterwards, I held a variety of writing jobs that included marketing director, ad agency writer, churning out textbook ad copy for McGraw-Hill, teaching newswriting and covering conferences for Ohio State, and writing feature articles and annual reports. As a freelancer, I also wrote dozens of work-for-hire elementary science and reading books, which was my entry into becoming a children’s author. From these jobs, I learned that self-discipline and perseverance are essential for success as a writer.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
I write on a desktop computer, so that limits my movement. I haven’t yet found a laptop with a keyboard that feels as substantial as my Dell desktop. My office is now located near two big windows and a glass door in our walkout basement. Before he sold it, I had an office in my husband’s software company. I drove to work there five days a week for 20+ years when I freelanced.
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?
After an early breakfast and a walk, I drive to my local Starbucks for my morning fix – a grande chai latte – which I try not to drink until I sit down at my desk. Some days I spend a few hours writing. Others, I just read emails and enjoy my latte before heading outside to work in my flower gardens or run errands. Since I no longer need to make a living as a freelancer, I rarely have deadlines except those I self-impose.
ME: Why do you write for children?
I spent most of my career as a journalist writing for adults, and I find writing for kids to be far more creative. I enjoy the playfulness! For example, my new book, A BAND OF BABIES, tells in verse the story of the newcomer who arrives at daycare and leads a group to a nearby grocery, where they wreak havoc. Refrain: “Thump-a-thump. Toot-toot. Whee! Babies on a shopping spree.” Jane Dyer illustrated and the babies are adorable! Amazon editors named it among its “Best children’s book picks for June.” Another reason I write for children is that pre-readers love to hear their favorites read again and again. Young readers will often reread them on their own. Children grow intensely attached to books, and that should warm our hearts. They literally love our words and pictures!
ME: Carole, if you have any special tips or thoughts for writers, teachers, parents…please share.
Publishing is a competitive business. Many wonderful manuscripts never make the cut. I describe the process as sewing a lovely garment and then trying to find the perfect fit for it. Some of my books have been sold by agents. Others were accepted by publishers who take direct submissions. But most of what I write will never be published. Sob! It’s true! Rejection is the rule, even for those of us with many books to our credit. When you get rejected, whimper a bit but don’t take it personally. Revise yet again, if you need to, and then jump back in. If you want to be published, you must continue to submit – and so must I because, for the first time in several years, I have no in manuscripts in production. Sniffle.
Thank you so very much, Carole. That is GREAT advice! Write, revise, submit, repeat!
Dear readers, let’s join in a big round of applause for Carole…the insights she shared will help all of us. And if you’d like to find out more about Carole and her fabulous books:
And guess what? We are not done yet! I know you are all waiting for a sweet treat.
French Bread Pudding Cake
Photo courtesy (and you can find a gluten free version of this pudding cake here: http://cookituppaleo.com/french-toast-bread-pudding/
This bread pudding cake separates in baking to a soft custard sauce below and soft chocolate crumbs on top. Makes about 8 servings.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate*
1/3 cup butter
3 large eggs (separate yolks and whites of 2 eggs)
1 ¼ cup granulated white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups fine soft bread crumbs from day-old French bread (use Cuisinart to make crumbs)
- Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. *(Instead of chocolate squares, you can make the equivalent by following the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa box. (1 T cooking oil and 3 T cocoa powder = 1 chocolate square.) Cool butter/chocolate mixture.
- Separate 2 eggs, putting whites in one small bowl and yolks in a larger bowl. Set egg whites aside.
- Use a wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and one whole egg.
- Into the beaten yolks, stir in these ingredients in this order: 1 cup sugar, melted chocolate and butter mixture, salt, vanilla, milk, and crumbs.
- In the small bowl, beat the 2 egg whites with an electric mixer. Add ¼ cup sugar to form stiff peaks.
- Use rubber spatula to fold beaten egg whites gently into chocolate mixture.
- Spray Pam in bottom and sides of a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Pour batter into baking dish.
- Set dish into a large metal baking pan. Fill baking pan with water so that 1 inch surrounds the baking dish.
- Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
- Remove pudding pan from water pan. Cool to room temperature. Enjoy!
Dear friends, if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of Carole’s lovely new book, A BAND OF BABIES, please make sure you leave a comment. And if you’d like to thank Carole for her insights, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Book reviews are so very important in this business.
Thank you all for stopping by…and have a safe and happy 4th of July!