WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
Katrina and I have a lot in common. We both have a masters in education, love to write picture books, are LIttle Bee Books sisters, and are members of the #Newin19 debut picture book author and illustrator group. And teaching is close to our hearts…although Katrina is still knee deep (or perhaps shoulder high, depending on what grade she teaches and how tall/short she is) in the classroom.
Katrina Moore writes and teaches in New Jersey. Her mission is to create books that children will hug for ages. Her debut picture book, ONE HUG, is forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Dec. 10, 2019. Her second picture book, GRANDPA GRUMPS, will publish April 7, 2020 from Little Bee Books. More to-be-announced books are on the way! When she is not teaching elementary kids or writing, she is cooking without a recipe, painting outside the lines, or snuggling up with her puppies, one husband, two kids, and of course, many cozy books. Connect with her on twitter @kmoorebooks or at www.katrinamoorebooks.com.
ME: I’m so excited to welcome you here today, Katrina. Heads up to my readers – Katrina has offered to give away a copy of her brand new book that we reviewed for Perfect Picture Book Friday yesterday…so make sure you leave a comment at the end and please share on social media.
And now, without further ado, let’s find out more about you and your writing journey.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
KATRINA: As a kid, I absolutely loved (and still love) anything by Tomie de Paola. Especially his Strega Nona books. Strega Nona was magical, mysterious, and so so wise! Plus Big Anthony is always a hoot. I also surrounded myself with Richard Scarry books. I got lost in the fantastically detailed worlds he created.
The authors that made me a reader, though, were Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Roald Dahl. The Agony of Alice was the first book I connected deeply with. Her life was so different than mine, and yet, I related to her and her struggles. I devoured that series. Then, I read Matilda, by Roald Dahl. How I loved Matilda! She was brilliant. And kind. And magic! And her family had no idea. It was after reading those books that I realized how much a book can shape your life.
I also discovered authors and illustrators later in life that influence me today. Had I known about them as a child, they would have been life-long favorites. They are Gyo Fujikawa, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Laura Vacarro Seeger, Eric Carle, and Kate DiCamillo.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
KATRINA: You will wait at every stage of this journey, so take your time to do things RIGHT.
Many writers feel like they need to get a requested revision or submission out as soon as possible or they’ll be forgotten, but it’s not true. Your BEST impression will last longer and take your further than your get-in-there-quick first impression.
Also, the waiting n e v e r ends! Not after you sign with an agent. Not after you sign with a publisher.
Instead of wasting time by driving myself crazy waiting, waiting, waiting, I keep my mind busy by working on what’s next? What else could be? This also makes the sting hurt less if that waiting ends without a “yes”. This is how I’ve built a body of work over the years.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
KATRINA: My ideal writing location is at my desk in my home office. It’s nice to have a space all to myself that’s dedicated to my writing. I’ll write on my desktop to complete heavy revisions or to flesh out fully developed drafts.
However, I have two young, energetic children. And I’m a second grade teacher by day. So most of my writing happens in stolen moments—and it’s on the go writing. I’ve gotten really good at writing “in my head,” especially during the early stages of a project. I will trick my subconscious brain into always thinking about manuscripts, even when my active brain is focused on something else! This way, I’ll ask myself a question about my work in progress before cooking dinner. And while I’m cooking, voila! I’ll have an answer. I always keep my writing journal near by so I can write down tidbits before they disappear into the void. I do find that I usually start with pencil and paper(journal), and also prefer to revise this way.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
KATRINA: As I mentioned above, my wonderfully busy life does not allow for a routine writing schedule. However, I have found it important to regularly write. For me, there is such joy and catharsis in writing. Especially over the past few years, through many moves and life changes, writing has been my place of stability.
So I don’t ask myself, “when will I have time to write?” The answer would be never.
Instead, I ask, “how can I fit writing into my day today?” The answer changes day to day, moment to moment.
But I do make it a point to write regularly. Sometimes it’s at five am, before the crows and kids are up. Sometimes it’s during a 30 minute lunch break. When I’m lucky, I can fit in a little stretch during my children’s ballet and soccer practices. Usually, its after my children’s bedtime and a lot on the weekends. I’ve gotten really good at writing in fifteen minute intervals here and there. Anyone who follows me on twitter will see me post #amwriting updates that vary from 5 am to 2 am to “kid’s nap time” writing sessions.
I’ve been pretty prolific this way, so I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way!
ME: Why do you write for children?
KATRINA: I wrote about why I started writing for children in a blog post for educators on HarperStacks, here:
In it, I share how “I realized I wanted to connect with children through writing stories for them, about them.
Stories about me, too. The little me who also never saw herself accurately represented in the media…
My mission as an author is to create books that all children will hug for ages—books that are culturally inclusive, providing a mirror and a window. But also, ones that are child centered—playful, nurturing of curiosities, fun, and full of joy—just as childhood should be.”
Particular to picture books, I loved picture books as a kid and never stopped loving them! They are lap-sized theaters that anyone can enjoy. When done well, a picture book makes you laugh, or cry, or ponder. And in the best cases, all of the above. It’s a magical art form. I absolutely love being a part of that magic-making!
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.
KATRINA: What has allowed me to grow and improve as a writer and as an educator, is the ability, and humility, to be reflective and open.
Keep learning. Keep thinking about what’s working—both in your craft and your practice. Be open to criticism. Be willing to consider it. Give yourself space and time to reflect. And then, above all else, trust and believe in yourself!
ME: Oh yes…I am totally on the same page as you, Katrina. Thank you so very much…you’ve shared so much with us…and I know you have one more bit of sweetness to spread around.
KATRINA: Okay, so it’s not a cookie recipe. But it is a recipe involving cookies/wafers! It’s one of my favorite desserts to make and bring to family gatherings. There are never any left overs
THE BEST BANANA PUDDING
- 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 container of cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups cold milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- 6 bananas (slice 4 of them)
- Unpeel 2 bananas and place them in a ziplock bag. Mash the bananas. Set aside.
- Place 10 wafers in a ziplock bag. Crumble them.
- Mix the pudding mix, milk, and condensed milk in a large bowl. Add in the mashed bananas
- In another bowl, mix the cream cheese and whipped topping together. Stir in the vanilla. Mix until it’s fluffy.
- Mix the two bowls together.
- Layer wafers, sliced bananas and pudding mixture in a glass serving bowl. Chill until serving.
- Top with the crumbled wafers.
OH BOY! There go the numbers on the scale…up, up, and away! But this sure does look amazing!
I know we are all very grateful to Katrina for the insights she shared…and for the Banana Pudding recipe! Please remember the the best way to thank our favorite authors is to:
- Buy their books
- Review their books
- Tell friends about their books
- Ask our local library to purchase their books
And don’t forget to leave a comment and please SHARE the post on social media…you will be entered in the giveaway hat to win a copy of ONE HUG!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And if you are reading this on Saturday evening, perhaps you have already joined me at the WRITING NONFICTION webinar that aired today at 3pm New York time: https://hawaii.scbwi.org/events/nonfiction-webinar-with-author-vivian-kirkfield-and-editor-courtney-fahy-of-little-bee-books/