VIVIANE ELBEE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Viviane Headshot

VIVIANE ELBEE

Even though the first manuscript I sold has taken a long time to become a book, I’m a great believer in seeing the silver lining in every cloud. And this particular cloud had an incredibly valuable silver lining – I got to join the debut picture book groups of 2017 and 2018. And it was in the Epic Eighteen group that I met today’s lovely guest.

Viviane Elbee always keeps her eyes open for giraffes on the ski slopes because she’s sure she’ll spot one someday. When not looking for giraffes, Viviane has all kinds of adventures with her family, both at home in the Carolinas and abroad. TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI is Viviane’s first picture book. Visit her online at http://www.VivianeElbee.com.

I’ve had my eye on Viviane’s career for years…after all, we ALMOST share the same name…and it’s kind of fun to see your name in print, even when it’s not you! And when I heard the title of her debut picture book and read it, I knew I wanted to feature it on my blog and invite her to stop by to chat with us.

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Viviane! Thank you for stopping by to chat and for donating a copy of your wonderful new picture book as a giveaway!

TeachYourGiraffeToSki_cover_final

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

VIVIANE: I have a fond memory of the librarian reading THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats to us during story time, and feeling the magic of finding your town blanketed in snow.

In elementary school I remember buying Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary books at school book fairs (SUPERFUDGE, TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING  & RAMONA). I would read and re-read them and was always looking for more books by them at the library. I also loved Ann Martin’s BABY-SITTERS CLUB books, and classics like CHARLOTTE’S WEB.

In middle school I started reading the CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR series by Jean M. Auel. (These are YA books and I still love them.)  

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

VIVIANE: I wish I had known the importance of being a prolific writer. Quality matters, but since you never know what will sell, quantity matters too. When I decided to start writing picture books, I spent the first three years working on one picture book manuscript.  I strive to be more prolific now, and am so grateful for the encouragement & support I get from Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 community. To push myself to be more prolific, I aim to write 12 new rough drafts a year. However, I only polish a handful a year because revisions and edits still take me a long time. Hopefully one day I will be faster at this.

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

VIVIANE I love to write in a notebook with a pen – especially pretty pens with fun ink colors like turquoise and purple. I write both outdoors and indoors, but my favorite writing moments are when I meet up with a writing buddy at the nearby Barnes & Noble. We drink coffee, help each other find words & sentences, and feel inspired, surrounded by wonderful books. We meet once a month. I also make handwritten dummy books using sticky notes on the different pages because it’s easy to swap out pages if I decide to change something. Afterwards I transfer what I’ve written into the computer.

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

VIVIANE: I write well in the morning and during the day. After dinner my brain usually feels too frazzled to write, but it’s a great time to read. Once in a while a great story idea emerges in the middle of the night when I’m dreaming. I will try to shake myself awake and scribble the thought down in my bedside notebook. Sometimes this works. Other times my middle-of-the-night notes don’t make any sense!

ME: Why do you write for children?

VIVIANE: Children are so wonderfully curious, imaginative, inspirational and fun-loving. I love it when I’m reading books to the kids and they giggle the whole way through, or when their eyes light up during a certain scene. When we’re reading non-fiction books, they’ll ask great questions like “Why was this happening?” Kids also make the funniest and most random comments about books. Just recently I was reading a sweet picture book to a group of kids, and at the end of the book, one of the kids said, “I like it! But it is not a guns and glory book.” I laughed so hard. I have never read a guns and glory picture book for kids 8 and under. I wonder what funny comments kids will make about my debut book, TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI. Hopefully, they’ll smile and giggle!

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. 

VIVIANE: If TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI motivates your children to ski, and you want a ski instructor to teach them, I recommend researching the ski lessons at ski resorts in advance. Some resorts have “ski schools” for kids and include ski rentals, lift tickets, snacks/lunches & lessons in their prices. For some ski schools, it’s best to book in advance.

For aspiring writers: joining professional organizations like SCBWI and 12×12 was one of the most helpful things I did for my career. I’d recommend joining professional writing organizations specialized in your genre.

ME: Viviane…WOW…thank you so very much. I love your insights and tips…and I loved learning more about you…I, too, am a CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR fan. I read every book in that series…and then I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series. And, having seen your cookies recipe, I think I now have a third love! Can you tell us about this recipe?

VIVIANE: I love cookies, but I also try to teach the kids about healthy eating. When I read about how oatmeal and oat-bran can help lower bad cholesterol, I searched for a “healthy” oat-bran cookie recipe. The first time I made these Oat-Bran Raisin cookies, the kids and I thought they were so delicious we started recommending them to others. I also baked some to give to an uncle. He was convinced that oat-bran was only for horses and he was scared to try a cookie. However, after tasting them, he ended up going back for a second and third cookie – and the next day, they were all gone.

If your kids don’t like raisins, you can try chocolate chips and/or nuts.

CookiePhoto1

Oat-bran raisin cookies

These cookies are crunchy and since we like them crispy, we tend to bake them a few minutes longer than what the recipe calls for.

Ingredients (Makes about 18 cookies):

  • 1 cup oat-bran
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (you can use gluten-free all-purpose flour, or regular flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oat bran, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  3. Beat in the egg and oil until the mixture forms a sticky dough.
  4. Add the raisins and mix well.
  5. Use a tablespoon to measure one “cookie” of dough and plop it on a non-stick baking tray, leaving space between cookies because the dough will expand a bit.
  6. Bake for approx. 16 minutes until the edges turn golden. (If you like crispy cookies, bake it a few extra minutes.) Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool for 10-15 minutes before moving to prevent them from crumbling.
  7. Store at room temperature in a sealed container when not eating.

YUM! Definitely a recipe to try out!

I know we are all clapping for Viviane’s Q&A. I think she made a really great observation that it’s important to be  prolific…and challenges like 12×12 really work. I think I was very lucky because as soon as I made the decision to write picture books, Julie Hedlund was forming the first 12×12 challenge. I joined and have been aspiring to write 12 picture book drafts every year since then.

 If you’d like a chance to win a copy of TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI, please leave a comment. 

If you live where the foliage bursts into glory during the fall, please make sure you get out this weekend because the leaves are dropping quickly and all too soon, the trees will be wearing snowy crowns.

Stay safe, dear friends. And happy reading and writing!

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on October 27, 2018, in book giveaway, Cookie recipe, Uncategorized, Will Write for Cookies - Author/Illustrator interviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Lovely interview! Thank you! It’s almost ski season!!

    Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your PB writing journey. I look forward to reading your book and I’m inspired to bake the oat bran cookies as they look delicious!

    Like

  3. I didn’t know Auel’s books were YA, but I’ve never read them. I don’t know that any book could motivate me, as an adult, to take up skiing, but the giraffe’s attempts sound like fun!

    Like

  4. Great interview! As someone who’s tentatively dipping my toes into picture book writing, this was inspiring~ I love the idea of 12 drafts a year, even if some won’t get revised. Thanks to both of the Vs!

    Like

  5. The cookies sound delicious, and so was the peek into your writing style and background, Viviane! I love the idea of using post-its on a dummy. I think that would empower me. Viviane and Vivian, thank you for the interview, and much continued success to you both!

    Like

  6. I love these interviews! Thank you Vivian & Viviane!

    Like

  7. A great interview, Vivian and Viviane. Great insight! I am inspired to make the cookies and eat them as I attempt to be more prolific in my writing. The post-it idea is brilliant and freeing. Thank you for the inspirations!

    Like

  8. Such a great interview! Thanks Vivian and congratulations Viviane! 🙂

    Like

  9. I enjoyed reading your interview with Viviane. It was great learning more about her journey to publication.

    Like

  10. Enjoyed reading the interview. I love the cover on the book, congratulations on getting it published. Those cookies do sound good. I love baking and usually bake muffins every Wednesday at take to the local senior center where I do a craft class with them every week. They especially like my blackberry-oatmeal muffins. Good luck in your writing!

    Like

  11. Informative interview! I can’t wait to read TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI!

    Like

  12. Danielle Hammelef

    Thank you for taking time to share your writing goals and process with us. I share your love of writing in a notebook, as well as your childhood favorites. Congrats on your book and I’m looking forward to reading it and following your advice about quantity of writing too.

    Like

  13. Thanks for the great interview ladies! And I agree, fantastic title.

    Like

  14. Fun interview! Thanks, ladies. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! =)

    Like

  15. Terrific. This book just arrived at my library, and can’t wait to read it.

    Like

  16. Thank you both for the great interview! Viviane your book looks adorable and I can’t wait to read it! Congrats on your success! 🙂

    Like

  17. Thank you so much everybody for your kind comments :). And thank you Vivian for hosting me on your blog.

    Like

  18. Great interview! I agree that being prolific as a picture book author is really important. Look forward to reading this book and many more to come from Viviane!

    Like

  19. Great interview! Finally, Viviane, it’s your time to shine!

    Like

  20. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts!

    Like

  21. Lovely interview! I do enjoy reading about writing journeys (and seeing new recipes). Congratulations!!! I love the idea of seeing a giraffe skiing!

    Like

  22. I have about 200 Babysitter Club books (still) and I loved Clan of the Cave Bear! Would love a copy of Teach Your Giraffe to Ski!

    Like

  23. Best of luck on the book selling slopes, Viviane, and the reminder to keep developing new projects.

    Like

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 )

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

The Runaway Palate

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

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!

Teresa Robeson

thoughts on kidlit nonfiction, diversity, and food

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog featuring kids' books with correlating questions & activities!

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

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

The Waiting

Turns out, it's not the hardest part.

%d bloggers like this: