WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
One of the first groups I connected with when I started writing picture books was Rate Your Story, the online critique service that rates your manuscript from 1 to 10 – the lower the number, the better! And our Will Write for Cookies guest is one of their stellar judges and part of their admin team.
Heather Macht is the author of The Ant Farm Escape! (Pelican, 2019), Rex the…We-Don’t-Know (Pelican, 2019) and You May Just Be a Dinosaur (Pelican, 2015).
Macht has a degree in Fine Arts, is an active member of the SCBWI, and is the Assistant Administrator, the Newsletter Coordinator, and a volunteer judge for Rate Your Story. She loves spending her Saturday’s in bookstores or in libraries with friends.
Macht’s happily married and currently resides in Florida next door to a quiet beach. When she’s not writing, Macht enjoys spending time with her husband and children, painting, reading poetry, and watching scary movies.
ME: I’m so excited to welcome you, Heather. I know you’ve got a lot to share…and we are ALL on the edge of our seats to see the TRAILER REVEAL for your upcoming picture book: THE ANT FARM ESCAPE. So, I will get right to the questions. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
HEATHER: Thanks so much for having me, Vivian! That is a tough question, because there were so many books and authors I enjoyed. Some of my favorite books growing up were Numeroff’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and Noble’s “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash”. My favorite STEM books were the “A Just Ask Book” series by Arvetis.
However, my favorite thing to read was poetry, so I must say that Shel Silverstein takes the spot of my top favorite author and illustrator.
As an adult, I still find myself reading through his poems and admiring the humor, encouragement, and definitely the illustrations!
And…In case you’re wondering, here’s one of my favorite poems and illustrations of his. 😉
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
HEATHER: SO much! The main thing that sticks out is I really wish I knew about critique groups when I first started writing. I didn’t join the SCBWI before I got published. I actually didn’t join until after I had my first signed contract. My first book was written, queried, and contracted without the support of a critique group.
Looking back, I wish I would have connected with the #kidlit community sooner! I’m now part of a couple wonderful critique groups. Bonus: The writers, my critique partners, are amazing! It’s so nice to hear feedback from other writers as it has been immensely helpful getting my manuscripts in perfect shape before submitting! Also, navigating through the submission and the querying process is tough work. It’s a big relief to have others to share the experience with.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
HEATHER: Since I have a one-year-old daughter that stays home with me during the day (and a five-year-old son as well), I write practically anywhere I can. Lately, most of my manuscripts start out with me dictating a note/rough draft on my phone.
Now, if you ask me where I’d like to write…I wish I could grab a journal and pen, and write on the quiet beach next door to my home.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
HEATHER: Since I’m limited, I typically write whenever my kids are sleeping. Sometimes when I’m running kid-free errands, I like to sit an extra 20 minutes in the store’s parking lot to jot down story ideas. But, please don’t tell my husband why my grocery store trips take longer than expected. 😉
ME: Why do you write for children?
HEATHER: You know, when thinking about it, I really can’t remember a time when I was not writing for childrn. Writing silly stories has always been one of my favorite things to do. As a kid, I used to write stories and comics for my brothers and parents, stapling paper together to create makeshift books. In elementary school, I used to turn science assignments into creative writing assignments to see if I could capture my classmates’ attention… and I did! They loved my stories. But my teachers…yeah, not so much. Apparently, they would’ve preferred I followed directions.
But it was seriously always fun for me. When I graduated high school, I set on a journey to be a picture book writer. I seriously felt so strongly that writing for kids was my calling. 18 years later and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have three books that are confirmed and some more that are in the works.
The best, and most rewarding, part of my job is reading my silly stories to kids and watching them laugh along. An added bonus is a couple of my books have STEM facts woven in – it’s always amazing to watch them light up as they learn a few things while having fun. Seriously, it’s a dream come true!
ME: Do you have any writing advice for new writers?
HEATHER: For any new writers out there, I’d like to encourage you to join a critique group. Find your writing squad, the individuals that are there for you when you’re down and are excited when you get good news. It’s so important in your #kidlit journey! If you’re not sure where to start, join the SCBWI. Also, Twitter has an amazing #kidlit community, filled with other querying authors and illustrators. I love my Twitter friends and family, and I love connecting with other writers! Feel free to connect with me there at: https://twitter.com/AuthorHMacht.
ME: WOW…this has been unbelievably helpful. And I know our wonderful guest has more sweetness for us! Take it away, Heather!
Ants on a Log Recipe!
HEATHER: Since I’m a busy parent, author, wife, dog walker, house cleaner, and anything else you want to throw into the mix 😉, I typically aim for easy-to-make foods and treats for my kids.
And, since my upcoming book just so happens to feature ants, I thought I’d share a fun and delicious Ants on a Log recipe! Don’t worry, it’s not the typical peanut butter, celery, and raisin treat…chocolate is involved!!
- Pretzel Rods
- Chocolate Baking Chips (I’m using white chocolate)
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Optional: I very lightly butter my parchment paper so there is no sticking.
- Melt the entire bag of Chocolate Baking Chips:
- Note: Check the instructions on the back of your Chocolate Baking Chips. The Ghiradelli chips I’m using gives two options for melting. I’m going to go with the double boiler method, but feel free to use the microwave method, too!
- Once the chips are melted, quickly cover about half of each pretzel rod evenly with white chocolate (you can do this by dipping them in or spooning the chocolate over them) and evenly space them out on the parchment paper/cookie sheet. You can make as many or as little as you’d like: I’m going with a dozen!
- Let pretzels cool for one minute, then add the chocolate sprinkles in any way or pattern you’d like. I went with the whole, “Oh no, I stepped in an ant pile” look, but you can totally make a single-file line of ants.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens. Once the chocolate hardens, set them out at room temperature for five minutes and remove them from the parchment paper (this will make them easier to remove and avoid pretzel breakage).
- Enjoy with your favorite book: preferably an ant book like The Ant Farm Escape! 😉
Thanks for joining me, and thanks so much to our gracious host, Vivian, for having me! Please enjoy the reveal for my upcoming book: The Ant Farm Escape! Also, enter to win a free autographed copy from me once it’s released in February!
ME: This has been fabulous, Heather. And of course, we are not done yet because we need to REVEAL the TRAILER for The Ant Farm Escape!
This has been so much fun! I hope you will all leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of THE ANT FARM ESCAPE, thanks to the generosity of our visiting author, Heather Macht. Also, please don’t forget that our favorite authors and books need our support with book purchases, book reviews, and shout outs to local libraries and friends. It makes all the difference!
And if you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll pop over to The Wonder of Words, Tina Shepardson’s awesome blog where I am guest posting, talking about SHOW VS. TELL and using all three of my debut picture books as examples. It’s like a mini workshop and I hope you will all come and enjoy it!
What a clever story idea that sounds very entertaining. Kids love to laugh. Enjoyed the video trailer and interview with Heather!
Thanks so much, Patricia!
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What a fun story and trailer! Congrats, Heather on your success. Thanks for another great interview, Vivian!
Thanks so much, Doreen!
I enjoyed the interview, and such a cute trailer. Congratulations on your books.
Thank you, Janet! 🙂
Nice to meet one of the mysterious judges behind the curtain of RYS! And yes, critique partners are critical to making progress. I’ve got a new group that I’m loving right now. And a few peeps from an older group. Congrats on the new books! I’m drooling over those Ants on a Log!
Thanks so much, Jilanne, and happy to hear about your new critique group! They make such a difference. 🙂
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This story sounds like a lot of fun and informational. And great advice on joining SCBWI and finding a critique group. A couple of my stronger stories are about ants, so I look forward to reading your book. Congrats and thanks, Heather.
Thanks so much, Jim! Best of luck on your ant books too!
Fabulous interview for one of the most supportive, creatively smart and hardworking authors I’ve ever met. And I forgot the most important: Heather breathes generosity. A priceless quality in our highly competitive world. I’ve been fortunate to know Heather right before the publication of her first book and so lucky to become one of her writing partners and now happy to call her a friend. Her new PB is awesome on many levels. Hey I learned facts about ants that I didn’t know! I just cannot wait to witness the excitement on children’s face when Heather reads them about the fascinating life of ants. And the recipe is a yummy addition!
Thanks so much, my sweet friend Evelyne! Hugs ❤
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Great interview and I love the book trailer.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda! 🙂