LAURA SASSI: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

 

LAURA SASSI

We are so very fortunate to have generous mentors like today’s Will Write for Cookies guest. I’ve been a fan of Laura Sassi for years. Her website is a treasure trove of information and resources for parents, teachers, and writers. So, I was thrilled when she agreed to stop by and chat with us today.

Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014) and GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018), and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.

inside image

 

Welcome, Laura! It’s wonderful to have you here. I know everyone is excited to get to know you a little better. 
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child? 

Laura: I loved reading as a child and my all-time favorite author was Madeleine L’Engle. I loved her writing so much that as a twelve year-old— in quick succession – I read every book she’d written up to that point.  And now, with the recent release of the A Wrinkle In Time movie, I’m enjoying rereading that book – which was the first book of hers I ever read – with my daughter. We just finished it last week and it’s as marvelous as I remember. 

Later, as a writer, and because I admired her so much, I got interested in reading some her more autobiographical books and something she said in her memoir A Circle of Quiet has, for a long time, resonated with me.  In that book, she writes, “Those of us who write are responsible for the effect of our books… Like it or not, we either add to the darkness… or we light a candle to see by.” Wow! What a responsibility and what a privilege it is to write… and I hope that like Madeleine L’Engle’s books did for me, my books – fun and light-hearted as they are – will also light the way for kids towards good.

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

LAURA: When I first started writing, I expected immediate results.  What the writer in me now wishes I could tell the fledging version of me is – Don’t rush the process!  Good, multi-layered, rich writing takes time and more rounds of revision than my younger self ever imagined. I spent TWO years revisiting and revising my first book Goodnight, Ark before it was fit to float. And Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse took me FIVE years from the time I got the idea until it was finally ready to submit to publishers. Those time frames might surprise readers, but I believe that the time and effort spent revising each of my books has been key to capturing the editors’ attention (and hopefully readers’ as well).

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

LAURA: I have a laptop, so my work station is 100% portable and my favorite strategy to keep from getting stiff and to keep things fresh is to move around as a write. During the winter months, I often set up shop at the dining room table. As soon as the weather gets warmer, I’ll start taking my laptop or notebook and a cup of tea and sit on the front porch with just the morning breeze and those early-rising song birds for company. And if I’m really engrossed in a story and the thoughts are spilling out, I’ve been known to write at the kitchen counter while cooking. I also like taking my laptop “on the road” so I can write outside in a local park or my favorite local coffee shop.

 

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

LAURA: This question has me giggling right now because I’ve had the darndest time finding quiet stretches of time to thoughtfully answer your questions. In fact, right now, I’ve made a little escape from home while my husband supervises homework, so I can write this while sipping a cappuccino! What a treat!  Thank you, Vivian, for giving me the excuse!

handwritten notes

But, seriously, like many writers, writing is not my only job.  I currently homeschool my daughter, which is my primary focus from 8am – 2pm weekdays, and after a day of teaching I’m often tired. I’m also the Director of Children’s Ministry at our small church, which requires several hours of planning time during the week.  So, I have to be disciplined. 

 What I’ve discovered works best for me is to wake up between 5 and 5:30 am and write for an hour before the day begins and then for another hour in the evening.  But the truth is that when I’m fully immersed in a new story, it’s hard to turn that side of me off, so I always keep a note book handy (or even just a scrap of paper in a pinch) to capture new plot ideas, “perfect” wording,  inspirational rhyming pairs or metrical phrasing – both of which are important for someone who writes in rhyme, as I often do.

ME: Why do you write for children? 

LAURA: I write for children for several reasons.  First, I love the way children see the world – where everything is so fresh and new and ready to be explored.  I also appreciate their honesty- a kid really tells it like it is. Writing allows me to explore that joie de vivre of childhood and hopefully capture its essence and magic through my stories.

I also write for kids because I am a long time fan of children’s literature. I loved books as child and even before I could read myself, I have fond memories of being cozily read to by my parents.  My favorite read-togethers from those youngest years, included the gently humorous rhyming poems of A. A. Milne. I loved the rhythmic rhyming sound of Milne’s poems – especially the one from When We Were Very Young entitled “Disobedience” about a mother who had the nerve to go downtown for tea without consulting her son, though he was only three. As I’ve said interviews before, that was first poem I ever memorized, quite by accident mind you, and I’ve carried its wonderful rhyming beat with me ever since. 

This leads me to the third reason I write for kids. I have a special passion for rhyme and telling humorous stories in rhyme.!  At first I was hesitant to pursue this playful love of words because I’d heard the selling rhyming picture books was extra difficult.  Thankfully, my sister, who has always been a champion of following one’s passion, encouraged me to just go for it.  So I did.  And I’ve been rhyming ever since.  DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE is the third of my humorous rhyming picture books to reach publication stage and I’m excited that it is finally out and available for children to read and enjoy!

ME: Oh my goodness, Laura! I’m such a fan of rhyming picture books…as you say, it’s the genre that everyone says editors won’t buy. But you are proving ‘everyone’ wrong…of course, I know why your rhyming books go under contract, Laura. They are awesome stories with heart, humor, and spot on rhyme. And you work on them for YEARS!

LAURA: Thank you for having me, Vivian, and now my cookie recipe – which isn’t really a recipe, but a a cookie decorating activity!   

I’m not much of a baker, but my daughter LOVES to decorate cookies and has created wonderfully colorful cookies to celebrate each of my books.  

diva cookie

To create your own book-themed cookie creations, pick a favorite book and grab your favorite sugar cookie recipe (or buy pre-mixed sugar cookie dough from the market). You will also need cookie cutters, a bag of confectioner’s sugar, a few splashes of milk, food coloring, a few bowls to mix your“paint”, and a spoon and a toothpick for each color.

plain cookies

  1. Roll out the dough and cut out cookies in desired shape. Then bake according to recipe or package directions. Let cool.
  2. Using the picture book of your choice, decide how you will decorate the cookies and what colors you will need. 
  3. For each color, add a generous half cup of confectioners sugar and a splash of milk to a small bowl. Add a drop or two of food coloring, or mix two colors to create a new color. Stir gently using a spoon. (The amount of sugar, milk, and color drops you use will depend on how much “paint” you need.  Also, you will have to play with consistency until you get it just right – not too watery and not too thick.  My daughter apologizes for being so vague, but really mixing it up is part of the fun.  Your kids will LOVE it!)
  4. To paint your cookies, use one color at a time, letting it get a little crusty before switching to the next color.  This way the colors won’t bleed.  You can even “paint” on top of crusted glaze once it’s dry.  (See tigers for this effect.)  Have FUN!

cookie

YAY…I know I will, Laura…these are AMAZING. Again, thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us.

 
And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of Laura’s wonderful new book: DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE. Plus, there are other giveaways on some of the other stops on her blog tour…here is the list:
DIVA DELORES BLOG TOUR FLYER pdf
Happy blog hopping, everyone. And have a beautiful weekend! The first Spring weekend of the this new glorious year!

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 March 24, 2018, in Blog Tour and Giveaway, Cookie recipe, Uncategorized, Will Write for Cookies - Author/Illustrator interviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Thanks for this great interview! It’s inspiring to read about authors who build a successful career while balancing other commitments. I wish you much success with DIVA DELORES!

    Like

  2. Always love these Saturday interviews, and today was no exception! I’m so glad that Laura continues to light candles with her writing.

    Like

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey, Laura and reminding writers that revision, persistence, and patience are required to make a manuscript polished. Congratulations on DIVA DELORES!

    Like

  4. Great interview! Wow, 5 years for Delores. I love that you still read with your daughter, as I still like to read w/my 12 year old son.

    Like

  5. I’m so glad I clicked in to read this great interview! I think Laura is my new best friend (after you, Vivian), as I, too, am a huge Madeleine L’Engle fan, having read everything–some of it many times. And AA Milne, too! Congrats, Laura, on the new book, and thank your daughter for showing us how to celebrate with cookies. Thank you, Vivian, for hosting this great post.

    Like

  6. Thanks for such an interesting interview!

    Like

  7. Thank you Vivian and Laura for a fantastic interview. I also loved to discover that Madeline L’Engle had so many books to read beyond a Wrinkle in Time when I was a young adult. And then I read more as an adult!
    She then became a read aloud favorite with my own kids.

    Like

  8. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Like

  9. David McMullin

    Thank you both for this terrific interview.

    Like

  10. Thank you for your insights, Ms. Sassi, and thank you Vivian for hosting her. I am especially enamored with the Madeleine L’Engle quote you shared. Wow. It beautifully supports the insights you shared. Thank you!

    Like

  11. What a lovely way to celebrate a Saturday! Thank you Vivian for hosting such a wonderful interview with Laura and thanks to you Laura for sharing valuable snippets of your working and publishing adventures and journeys!

    Like

  12. Thanks for chatting with Vivian today, Laura. Felt like we were all sitting around comfortably chatting about “life”. Nice!

    Like

  13. Those are cute cookies. Thanks Vivian for this interview and Laura for taking the time with such a busy schedule. 5 years?!!!! I have a lot revising to do, then 🙂 I’m sure Diva Delores is a master piece. I can’t wait to read it!

    Like

    • Thanks for the fun comment, Tori. I just LOVE that my daughter creates these cookies in celebration of books. Happy revising (and hopefully it won’t take you five years. I may just be slow.)

      Like

  14. Wonderful interview, Vivian! Laura, you offer up hope to those of us who write in rhyme! Best wishes on your delightful new book. Can’t wait to read it!

    Like

  15. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring us in ours!

    Like

  16. Michele Helsel

    Your book looks great and I love the idea of a blog tour!

    Like

  17. I love your books, Laura! Thanks for sharing your journey with honesty and humor. . .

    Like

  18. Great interview! I have the same love for children’s literature that you do (and Madeline L’Engle!). I appreciate the reminder to take the time to develop those manuscripts. Thank you!

    Like

  19. Yum! Those cookies look awesome! I’m a fan of rhyming, too. Sometimes stories just come out that way. Can’t wait to read Diva Delores! That cover art is darling!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse BLOG TOUR: Stops FOUR and FIVE! | Laura Sassi Tales

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Polilla Writes

reading, writing, celebrating the written word

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate

Hmmmmm

about reading, writing & thinking children's books

Laura Boffa: Write of Way

Giving the way of writing the right of way

PICTURE the BOOKS

A Gallery of New Picture Book Talent

EMU's Debuts

From Deal to Debut: the Path to Publication

Wander, Ponder, Write

A KidLit Journey...

Picture Book House

reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

Norah Colvin

Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities

Gathering Books

Singapore | United States of America | Philippines

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

The Stinky Backpack

Traveling the Everyday World

Write One Real Life

Where writing meets faith in the real world.

The Runaway Palate

Food. Travel. Cooking. Random musings. Maybe some historical stuff.

Jennifer Elisa

Poetry & Other Musings

The Reader and the Book

"O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught." Ralph Waldo Emerson

WRITERS' RUMPUS

Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

One Good Thing

Teresa Robeson's 365-Day project

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog about children's books!

Mary Jo Beswick

Artist ~ Author & Illustrator ~ Teacher

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer

READ to KIDS

READING: like dancing in your brain

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Stacy S. Jensen

Reader | Writer | List Maker

Reading With Rhythm

book reviews from Rhythm the Library Dog

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Nerdy Chicks Write

Get it Write this Summer!

Laura Sassi Tales

Celebrating writing, reading, and life.

Erika Wassall here... The Jersey Farm Scribe

Author, Freelance Writer, Entreprenur... LIVER of life

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

%d bloggers like this: