WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION
I’ve known our Will Write for Cookies guest for just about as long as I’ve been active in kidlitland. And I’m so thrilled to finally get a chance to have her visit here.
Rebecca Colby is a children’s picture book author, poet, and screenwriter. Her fourth book just launched, CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER (Albert Whitman). Her other books include MOTOR GOOSE (Feiwel & Friends, 2017)…which I just reviewed yesterday on Perfect Picture Book Friday, IT’S RAINING BATS AND FROGS (Feiwel and Friends, 2015), and THERE WAS A WEE LASSIE WHO SWALLOWED A MIDGIE (Floris Picture Kelpies, 2014).
Rebecca, I am so very happy to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
REBECCA: There were lots but the ones that stand out from when I was of picture book reading age are James Marshall of the George and Martha stories, Dr Seuss, Garth Williams, Tasha Tudor, and Esther and Eloise Wilkin.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
REBECCA: That networking is as important as writing. You can’t write in isolation and expect to get anywhere. You’ve got to get out there and meet ‘your tribe’ and lift each other up!
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
REBECCA: I prefer writing outside, but because of all the rainfall in England, that’s not always possible. I try to make the most of the spring and summer months by taking my laptop to a nearby garden and writing amongst the birds and flowers. During the colder months, I sit at home in bed, snuggled under the comforter where it’s warm and toasty. Another place I enjoy writing is on trains, but as a general rule, I prefer an environment that is quieter. For that reason, I’m not much of a coffee shop writer.
As to paper or laptop, laptop wins hands down. I learned to touch-type in high school—a course I wish schools would introduce alongside their IT classes for younger children—and as a result, I can write quicker and more efficiently (not to mention neater!), if I’m on my laptop.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
REBECCA: The earlier, the better. My Twitter handle is @amscribbler because, for many years, I did most of my writing between 5 and 7 am. I rarely write in the evening as, after 8pm, my brain starts to shut down. I tend to reserve the evenings for marketing, e-mails, reading and watching films.
Wait for the muse to strike? You must be joking! No, this is a job–one I love, but a job. I write because I want to be a career-author and that means showing up for work regardless of whether the muse has graced me with her presence or not. Writers write!
ME: Why do you write for children?
REBECCA: Two main reasons: I enjoy children’s books far more than adult books and I want to bring more laughter into the world–and what better place to start than with kids’ books! My family would probably add that I’m a 7 year old at heart, so that probably has a lot to do with it also.
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.
REBECCA: Advice to writers:
I see a lot of writers posting their frustrations and disappointments on Facebook after receiving a handful of rejections, and I want to tell them that a handful is nothing. If they really want to get published they’ll stop counting the rejections and start counting the manuscripts they’ve written. My advice is: Up your game and keep getting better, and that means KEEP WRITING!
It’s a numbers as well as a talent game. I’ve had more than one published picture book author in the UK tell me that only about 1 in every 5 manuscripts they write is acquired—and this is from established authors. Don’t waste valuable time counting those rejections, or you may quit. I racked up about 140 rejections in 7 years (but, hey, who’s counting—shame I don’t take my own advice) but if I’d counted all the rejections as I’d gone along, I probably would have dropped out of the game. It was hard enough counting the years pass. So don’t count your failures, count your triumphs, and before you know it, you will ‘beat the odds’.
For educators and librarians:
I don’t consider my work finished on a book until I’ve completed an accompanying resource guide. If you’d like to use my books in a classroom or library setting, please feel free to download these free guides from my website at www.rebeccacolbybooks.com/teachers
Thank you for having me today, Vivian! Though I must admit, I’m much more of a cookie eater than a cookie maker. In fact, that’s why I’m here—you promised cookies! 😉
ME: Oh my goodness…you are so funny, Rebecca. And you are right…for all of your wonderful insights, you definitely deserve cookies!!! But I know you aren’t done yet…so please share your cookie recipe!
REBECCA: Here’s a recipe from my THERE WAS A WEE LASSIE WHO SWALLOWED A MIDGIE resource guide. It’s a recipe for Midgie Shortbread. Enjoy, and thanks again!
Cook shortbread with chocolate sprinkles.
Note: Be aware of any food allergies.
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup chocolate sprinkles, plus some additional for topping
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix butter and sugar together.
- Add vanilla and flour.
- Fold in chocolate sprinkles.
- Roll out dough until a half inch thick.
- Cut into shapes.
- Place on a baking tray.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Shake additional chocolates sprinkles over the top and cool.
ME: Wow! These look amazing, Rebecca! I am definitely a shortbread fan! Thank you so very much for all of your insights. And I’m thrilled to talk a bit about your newest book that just launched yesterday! I know it is a book everyone would love to win, especially with Christmas around the corner…so thank you so much for offering a double giveaway!!! And I encourage all of my readers to be writers also…when you read a book that you love, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads or other book review sites. This will mean so much to your favorite authors and illustrators!