WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome Lori Alexander who is returning for a second time to the Will Write for Cookies spotlight. Back in 2017, we did a Perfect Picture Book Friday post for FAMOUSLY PHOEBE and a Q&A with Lori. And when I discovered that we are HMH sisters for her newest books…with the same incredible editor, the awesome Ann Rider., I knew I had to ask her back.
Lori Alexander loves to read and write! She has written picture books like BACKHOE JOE (Harper, 2014) and FAMOUSLY PHOEBE (Sterling, 2017) as well as the FUTURE BABY board book series (Scholastic, 2019). Her first non-fiction chapter book, ALL IN A DROP (HMH, 2019) received a Sibert Honor Award. Her new book, A SPORTING CHANCE (HMH, 2020), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a Kirkus starred review.
Lori resides in sunny Tucson, Arizona, with her scientist husband and two book loving kids. She runs when it’s cool and swims when it’s hot. Then she gets back to reading and writing.
Visit Lori at www.lorialexanderbooks.com or on Twitter @LoriJAlexander or Instagram @lorialexanderbooks
I’m so thrilled to welcome her back to Picture Books Help Kids Soar.
ME: Hi Lori! Thank you so much for stopping by. Let’s get started right away.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
LORI: I remember reading lots of Dr. Seuss and P.D. Eastman books. Arnold Lobel’s FROG AND TOAD books were favorites, too. But my favorite picture book was CHRISTINA KATERINA AND THE BOX by Patricia Lee Gauch. Oh, how I loved the wonderful things Christina Katerina crafted with that refrigerator box: a castle, a clubhouse, a race car, a dance floor. Time and again, she rescued her creations from her tidy mother (and the garbage bin!). And when the poor box got wet and disintegrated on the front lawn, there was still a happy ending—two new boxes!
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
LORI: From craft to querying to revision to marketing—there’s so much to learn about the children’s publishing world! Here’s something I didn’t fully consider when I first started: there’s more to children’s publishing than picture books. Funny fictional PBs were my favorite (still are, if I’m forced to choose). I spent years studying them, writing them, revising them, querying agents with them. Luckily, I had a pinch of success breaking into this incredibly competitive market. But keep in mind that there are many other types of books for young listeners/readers: board books, novelty books, nonfiction PBs, picture book biographies, early readers, chapter book biographies, etc. Follow your passions, even if they don’t fit into that 32-page format. My latest release is a chapter book biography about the doctor who founded the Paralympic Games. It’s a bit of WWI and WWII history mixed with some medical science, plus…sports! The book is packed with full-color illustrations plus historical photographs. While the Olympics/Paralympics have been postponed, I hope this remarkable story still connects with young readers.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
LORI: My desk is in our family room, right in the middle of the action (here’s a photo with my writing partner). Up until now, this worked pretty well, with all of those quiet hours between school bus pick-up and drop-off. Boy, how things have changed these past few weeks. With a spouse, a middle schooler, and a high schooler all working from home, there’s been a lot more office drama.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
LORI: I’m taking it day by day. I’m sure many families are in the same situation. More importantly, I’m trying to keep realistic expectations when it comes to new writing projects. If I catch up on a few blog posts, read a bit, or critique something for a friend, I’m considering that a productive day.
ME: Why do you write for children?
LORI: I can’t stop! Even when I’m feeling blue from a rejection or a picture book ending that just won’t come together, something pulls me back in. Maybe it’s a nice review or an invitation to do a school visit or a silly idea that would be perfect for a new story. Once you head down this writerly path, it’s tough to turn back! Especially when the path is lined with…
Cookies! For this Will Write for Cookies post, I’ll stick with something easy. My 13-year old daughter has been wanting to bake but all the flour and sugar at our local grocery store is long gone. She cobbled this quick treat together with the random baking ingredients we found on a post-covid shopping trip:
Nora’s Coffee Crispies
6 cups of cocoa crisped rice cereal
3 tablespoons of butter
1 16-oz bag of marshmallows
½ bag of espresso morsels (ours were Toll House brand)
½ bag of mini chocolate chips
Melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add chocolate cereal. Once combined, stir in both types of chocolate chips. They will melt slightly but not completely (if you’re a coffee lover and you’ve never tried the espresso chips, you’re missing out—they are tasty! We plan on trying them in mocha chip cookies the next time we’re able to score some flour and sugar). Spread mixture into greased 13×9 pan. Cut into squares and enjoy! We gobbled them up quickly but they would have looked something like this if we stopped to take a picture.
OH WOW! This is a dangerous recipe to have available during this #ShelterAtHome situation. Good thing I don’t have rice krispies, marshmallows or espresso morsels…but I might be adding them to the shopping list I’ll be giving my son-in-law next week.
Thank you so much, Lori, for sharing your insights and inspiration…and of course, the yummy treat recipe! And thank you also for offering the giveaway of a copy of A SPORTING CHANCE: HOW LUDWIG GUTTMAN CREATED THE PARALYMPIC GAMES. By the way…I LOVE the title!
Dear friends, please leave a comment in order to be entered into the giveaway…why not tell us which sport you would play if you competed in the Paralymics. And don’t forget that the best way we can thank our favorite authors and illustrators is to:
- Buy their books
- Review their books
- Tell friends about their books
- Ask your local library to purchase the books for their collections
I’m hoping you all have a safe and healthy weekend. This is Passover week…and tomorrow is Easter Sunday…all good wishes to those who celebrate.