Mike Malbrough: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway






head shot


Hip, hip hooray for another incredible 2017 debut picture book author/illustrator. Please welcome our Will Write for Cookies guest of honor.

Mike Malbrough was a freelance graphic designer, comic book artist, performer and teacher with a career spanning two decades before beginning his career as a picture book author-illustrator. He is an active teacher and mentor for young artists in his community, and has received several awards and honors for his work with children and teens. Mike lives in Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, two adventurous kids, and a cat named Agnes who hates him.

cat on desk

Mike, I’m so excited to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?


I was always enamored with the work of Mercer Mayer, especially how his creature characters crowded the pages in PROFESSOR WORMBOG IN SEARCH FOR THE ZIPPERUMP-A-ZOO. And of course Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Suess and Ludwig Bemelmans. I also remember the HENRY books by Mark Taylor and Graham Booth always being around.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?


That having terrible ideas and writing even worse sentences was just part of the path as opposed to a cosmic sign that you should never write. Putting that stuff down on the paper/ screen is important to getting somewhere as a storyteller.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?


I am constantly in flux, like I am trying to tune in a radio. I gravitate towards whatever gets me somewhere. As an author and illustrator, I interchange disciplines fluidly. Sometimes I can “write” quite a bit by designing a character’s clothes or setting, but there are times when just pounding the keyboard gets me there faster.

storyboard and illustration

ME: When do you write? Set schedule? When the muse strikes?


Early morning at a coffee shop is the best time to plow through a first draft. I haven’t quite exited the world of dreams while having enough caffeine in me to work quickly.

ME: Why do you write for children?


I think of storytelling, and art in general, as a call and response, a dialogue. You “see” certain things in the world and then reflect those back through your creativity to a certain audience. The things that I find fascinating and fill me with a sense of love and wonder radiate strongest in the world of children, and I find that the work that I find most pleasing to do resonates with the hearts and minds of young people.


ME: Mike, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?


My advice for writers: It’s never too early to take it seriously. Also, it’s never too late to take it seriously. And lastly, you should never take it too seriously.


I LOVE THAT ADVICE, Mike! We’ve got to buckle down and do the writing and rewriting, right? But we also have to find joy doing it and have fun with it…like kids. And it is NEVER too late. EVER!

If you’d like to find out more about Mike and his work:


Twitter: @studiomalbrough.

Now dear friends, Mike has a very special treat recipe for us. Take it away, Mike.


A traditional Greek shortbread cookie, that is dense and delicious. The texture is amazing. Have some with tea!

Ingredients should be at room temperature.

Bake at 300 degrees for 22 minutes. Makes 2 ½ dozen.


2 ½ sticks of unsalted butter

1 cup superfine sugar

2 egg yolks

1 ½ tbsp. brandy

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

Whole Cloves (optional)

1 package 10x confectioners’ powdered sugar


Beat butter and superfine sugar in a large bowl with electric mixture at high speed for 15 MINUTES, or until light and fluffy. (Should have a white pearlescent look when ready.) Don’t skimp on the time it makes a difference. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula occasionally.

Add egg yolks, brandy and vanilla. Add flour, ½ cup at a time. If dough is too heavy, work it by hand. (Dough should be soft but firm.)

Break off walnut-sized pieces. Shape into crescents and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Insert a clove (optional) in each crescent.


Bake in slow oven (200 degrees) for 22 minutes or until pale brown. (Color should not change too much.) Remove cookies from oven and place on a platter. Cool. Remove cloves. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar. (The cookies will look like a mound of sugar.) Store in a metal tin with a tight-fitting lid.

WOW! These look amazing! I think I am gaining a pound every week with all of these fabulous treat recipes. But it is worth it, right?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment today…it will give you an entry into the giveaway of a copy of MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE. And for another entry, make sure you comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of the book.


And, if you have a little extra time, why not hop over to Amazon and/or Goodreads and leave a review for Mike and all of your favorite authors and illustrators. It will mean the world to them!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on July 22, 2017, in book giveaway, Dessert recipe, Uncategorized, Will Write for Cookies - Author/Illustrator interviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Maria Marshall

    Wonderful interview and advice. I love your assistant! Can’t wait to read this book.


  2. Hello, from Patras, Greece! I am excited Mike for reminding us how important is to think that ”never is too late” regarding writing plus the fact that one of my favorite sweets ”Kourabiedes” is presented by you! Yiassou my dear friend!


  3. Lovely interview and gorgeous looking book. That cover and those cats eyes really grab you. Illustrations are fab.


  4. Thanks for a great interview (and the recipe)!


  5. Can’t wait to read about Marigold! Thanks for the great advice…got to have that behind in the chair!


  6. Never too early, never too late – I think it’s writing time right now! Wonderful interview & fabulous recipe – with butter AND brandy, how could it not be?


  7. Marigold is adorable. Mike’s advice…seriously! 😀


  8. Beth Gallagher

    Absolutely love Marigold and cannot wait to read it! Thanks for the great interview, the advice to keep on going despite life’s obstacles to quiet writing time :), and for the fabulous recipe! Yet another great post, Vivian! ❤


  9. I have the book on hold at the library so I can write a review – and preview it before I buy it for my grand baby! Mike, I am glad you named your cat Marigold instead of Agnes. Also, and since Agnes already hates you, I can say this: Marigold is GORGEOUS! Agnes is just . . . gray. 🙂 Best of luck with this lovely book!


  10. Love this interview! And would love to win this book to share with kids I work with – and honestly, for the kid in me. LOL


  11. danielle hammelef

    I have to keep your advice in mind–I tend to take myself too seriously. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions and give us a sneak peek into your art life. I also have to remember that my writing is a learning curve/hill/mountain! that I’ll always be climbing to seek improvement as I go. This book is a must read for me.


  12. I love the idea of art as call and response. From the book description, I think the response here will be lots of laughs! Continued success to you, Mike, as you call us with your words and illustrations. Thanks for hosting Mike here, Vivian.


  13. Mike,

    Thanks for sharing your process and advice.
    Love the photo of Agnes ‘sharing’ your work space with you. ; ) I have two cats that love to do the same. Off to buy ingredients for those yummy cookies. Mahalo!


  14. Ahh, now my tummy is growling, but that’s ok since my heart is singing! Thank you for your beautiful and inspirational words. You encouraged not only me but my 15 year old daughter who is sitting here with me writing her stories. :)!


  15. Oh boy, oh boy, a cat book! Must have. Fun interview, Vivian. Thanks for sharing Mike with us. Multitalented guy!


  16. I hope you’re right, Mike, that it’s never too late. I love your illustrations.
    Great interview, Vivian.


  17. I love your advice! And your cookie recipe sounds great. Congrats again on Marigold. I’m looking forward to the sequel.


  18. joanraymondwriting

    Thank you for the encouraging words and recipe!


  19. Ah, I just love your advice! Well said 🙂 We make a similar dessert in Bulgaria, too . . . yummy! Congratulations on the book! Can’t wait to read it.


  20. I can’t wait to read Marigold and appreciate your advice. A good reminder to persevere. Congratulations on your success!


  21. I can’t wait to read this book!


  22. David McMullin

    Marigold looks terrific. I’m can’t wait to find this book.


  23. Sounds like a cheeky kitty. Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for sharing.


  24. Looks like a really fun book– now I’m in the mood to bake!


  25. Mike, the photo and part about your cat Agnes hating you made me laugh. I thought “No, that can’t be true”. Then I saw the your illustrations and completely understood. The cat in your book does NOT look like Agnes. Agnes is insulted!!! I, on the other hand, find your illustrations lovely and the story sounds like a fun tale. I look forward to reading it.

    And thanks for the recipe.

    Another good interview, Vivian. Thanks for always keeping me up to date on new books. It’s hard to find the most recently published English books here in Germany. Your posts help me know what to look for (and what books to order when I can’t find them nearby.)


  26. I can tell already that Marigold has a unique voice and is a character to follow! Congrats, Mike on your debut book.


  27. ACK! Marigold is so adorable!! I love to bake and can’t wait to read it! Congratulations, Mike!


  28. Great article and wonderful encouragement. Thank you


  29. Love the cover on this book! Thanks for the great interview, Mike and Vivian!


  30. This book looks like a charmer for young and old. Just looking at the illustrations make you smile! Will be awaiting my copy!


  31. I absolutely love the sign on the door! We could all use that as a poster! I had to laugh at Marigold’s expressions. I knew a marmalade cat who had a way of letting you know just what he thought. I think he and Marigold would have been quite a pair.


  32. How cute for the kids!


  33. Am I too late to enter? Anyway, this looks delightful!


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