Tracy Marchini: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

Will Write for Cookies

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Insight, Inspiration, Information

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Today’s Guest

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TRACY MARCHINI

Our kidlit community is populated with amazing people…writers, illustrators, mentors, agents, and editors. Sometimes, these amazing people wear more than one hat. And that is true for our guest today.

 

Tracy Marchini is a Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary, representing fiction, non-fiction and illustration for children and teens. Prior to joining BookEnds, Tracy worked as a freelance editor, a Literary Agent’s Assistant, a children’s book reviewer, and a newspaper correspondent. She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children.

 

But, she is also a debut picture book author and we reviewed her fabulous CHICKEN NEEDS A NAP yesterday. Please don’t forget to leave a comment on that post to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of her book.

 

Welcome, Tracy! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar. I can’t wait to get to the Q&A, and I know there is also a sweet treat at the end.

 

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

TRACY: My favorite picture book was Chatty Chipmunk’s Nutty Day by Suzanne Gruber and illustrated by Doug Cushman. There was something about the refrain that I just loved, and has stuck with me all this time.

I also loved Princess Furball by Charlotte Huck and Anita Lobel. The idea of three dresses that fit in tiny walnut shells fascinated me, as well as Lobel’s gorgeous illustrations of the dresses that reflected the sun, moon and stars. (I think even as a kid I liked the idea that you could pack your whole wardrobe in one bag – always ready for travel!)

Finally, I think I still have my copy of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. (And as a Literary Agent and reader, I still love more subversive picture books with a bit of dark humor!)

 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

TRACY: Besides learning craft, patience is one of the greatest things you can learn as a writer. Publishing is a slower paced business and learning to write a good picture book takes a lot of trial and error before you get it right!

 

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

TRACY: I like to write by hand when I’m stuck on something. So if I’m revising, I tend to break out a notebook and write out my inner monologue until I hit the right fix for a manuscript. Sometimes the result is just a page of me asking myself the same question over and over again – but eventually I hit on an answer that works!

 

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

TRACY: I agent during the day, so my writing tends to happen in spurts outside of working hours. I’ll take a whole weekend day to do nothing but work on my writing, or I’ll break out a manuscript in the evening.

 

ME: Why do you write for children?

TRACY: I just love how the world has infinite possibilities for children. There’s an incredible sense of freedom (and opportunity for humor!) when you can write from a number of implausible premises.

As someone who read a lot as a child, I also think that reading itself is a fundamental childhood activity and I hope to write (and as an agent, represent) books that foster a love of reading well throughout adulthood. It does make me a little sad when I hear that an adult doesn’t read (and not just because I’m in the book business!)  I can’t help but wonder if they just never found that book that spoke to them as a child.

CHICKEN cover

ME:Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 🙂

TRACY: Make sure to stay current! Picture books that sold twenty years ago might not sell today, because the market has and will continue to change. Today’s picture books – particularly in fiction – have a lower word count, but still have all the same layers (emotional and physical) that earlier, longer works had.

As an agent, I can always tell when an author has written a picture book but hasn’t read a picture book in a long, long time.

WOW! Thank you so much, Tracy! I love that we have been able to get your take on things from two perspectives…as an author AND as an agent. I know this post is going to be shared quite a bit on social media…your comment about knowing when an author hasn’t read a picture book in a long, long time is going to create a run on the libraries, I think. Although with all of the online kidlit challenges throughout the year, I know that most of us read picture books like crazy.

But I will admit that when I first started writing, before I had taken any classes or joined any writing groups, my head was still back in the picture books I had read to my kindergarten students and my own children, so many years before. I needed a wake up call which I got from online challenges and critique buddies.

 

Thank you so much, Tracy!

To find out more about Tracy, as an agent and as an author:

Website: www.tracymarchini.com

Twitter: @TracyMarchini

CHICKEN NEEDS A NAP is available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target.

 

And now, a very special treat…actually one of my favorites. Take it away, Tracy!!!!!

TRACY: I’ve been making my own pizza lately and it’s been working really well!

I use this recipe to make the dough: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe-1921714

and then I cook at 500 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes on a sheet of parchment paper. Then I pull the dough out, add my toppings, and bake it again for another 7 to 8 minutes.

We’ve experimented a lot with trying to get a good crust without a pizza stone, and even though we use a pizza pan to get the dough in and out of the oven more easily, baking directly on parchment paper on the oven rack gives you a great crispy crust that still has a bit of depth/lightness to it.

The recipe makes two 14 inch pizzas, so we almost always have a ball of dough in the freezer now for quick baking!

This is fabulous, Tracy! I can’t wait to try this! You’ve been a delightful guest and we are all very appreciative of your insights.

I’m wishing everyone a wonderful and safe weekend and hope you’ll be back on TUESDAY when my special guests will be the pirates from Henry Herz’ new picture book, CAP’N REX AND HIS CLEVER CREW.

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 August 5, 2017, in Author Interviews, book giveaway, Recipe, Uncategorized, Will Write for Cookies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. David McMullin

    A terrific new picture book and pizza in the same interview! Two of my favorite things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephanie Salkin

    Thanks for your perspective–and I, too, love The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stacey Corrigan

    Great advice! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for visiting, Stacey! It’s fun getting an inside peek at the process of different authors…we all have our own ways of doing things and getting there…but one thing is the same for all of us, I guess…you’ve got to be writing. 😉

      Like

  4. I enjoyed reading this Interview and can’t wait to read the book. Thanks, Tracy and Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your advice is solid and I’m reading as many of these recommended picture books that I can find and I’ve been so impressed by the humor, emotion, and word play. I want to be able to make the mind connection between writing as few words as possible to leave room for the illustrations to show the story. This is hard work and I admire authors that achieve this! Thank you for the interview and recipe for me to try.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the interview — and the pizza tips! It’s a real challenge to try to develop the layers with minimal words. Looking forward to reading and studying your book, Tracy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That cover!😄 Made me literally lol so that’s a great sign! Thanks for sharing your particularly well informed insights with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Becky Scharnhorst

    Great interview, Vivian and Tracy! Thanks for sharing your insight with us! I like a bit of dark humor in my picture books too, so when I read about the ending of Chicken Wants a Nap I knew I had to have it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing, Tracy! I appreciate the reminder about needing lots of patience. It was also interesting to hear that you break out the notebook and pen to work out kinks in your manuscripts, too. Best wishes on your debut book.

    Like

  10. Great advice to read current picture book offerings (one of the side benefits of also reviewing them weekly, as you do, Vivian). Lovely to meet a fellow dark humor lover, Tracy. Look forward to reading your new PB!.

    Like

  11. What a gorgeous looking book, Tracy. I love the title and the cover. What a fun concept.

    Like

  12. Elizabeth Curry

    Great interview–so interesting to hear from someone on both sides of the desk. 🙂 Congratulations on what looks to be an adorable PB. And now I am hungry for pizza!

    Like

  13. I echo Elizabeth Curry’s comments, above! It’s such a treat to hear from someone with the dual perspective of author and agent. I will have to try your technique of solving problems by writing things out, especially asking yourself the same question if need be until the answer presents itself. Thanks for a great interview, Tracy and Vivian!

    Like

  14. Kathleen Taylor

    Great insight, and the same pizza dough recipe I use!

    Like

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