KATIE FRAWLEY: Will Write for Cookies Plus ZOOM CHAT Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

KATIE FRAWLEY

I’m always impressed by children’s authors who have busy lives – who work, have families, and still carve out time to be writing. Today’s Will Write for Cookies guest recently got to celebrate Mother’s Day TIMES FIVE (she has five children). And guess what? She has a book launching June 1st!

Launching June 1, 2021 from Two Lions Press

Katie Frawley studied English at the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) and earned a Master’s degree in British and American literature from Florida Atlantic University. Before having children, she had the distinct honor of teaching English to rowdy teenagers. When not banging away on the keyboard, Katie can be found testing new recipes with her miniature sous chefs, shooing iguanas away from her garden, or reading picture books to a captive audience on the couch. Katie lives in South Florida with her husband and five children.

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Katie! I’m so glad you stopped by today. I know everyone is excited to find out more about you, so let’s get started.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

KATIE: My mom read us a lot of Shel Silverstein. We all thought his poem BOA CONSTRICTOR from Where the Sidewalk Ends was hilarious. I mean, it’s a poem about a guy narrating the process of his own consumption by a giant snake. How awesome is that? And The Giving Tree was a family favorite. I read that book to my kids now, and it makes me cry every time. (My kids find my maudlin tears wildly amusing, by the way.)

Another book that stands out in my memory is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I remember feeling so drawn in by that book as a child. Then, when I was teaching The Hobbit in high school, I would always begin that unit by reading Where the Wild Things Are to my students. They would sit, rapt with wonder as if they were five years old again. Children’s literature is truly spellbinding.

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

KATIE : I made a very common new-writer mistake when I was a new writer. I queried too early.

After I wrote my first (terrible) picture book manuscript, I said to myself, “Okay, great! Now who do I see about getting this published?” It all seemed so easy! Here’s how the steps went in my head:

  1. Send manuscript to agent.
  2. Agent recognizes my nascent yet dazzling genius.
  3. Agent sends manuscript to editor.
  4. Editor helps smooth out the rough edges.
  5. BOOM! I’m published!

I didn’t realize I was a looooong way off from having a submission-ready draft. When I did realize this (after about 3 months of querying), I promised myself I would take off at least one year from querying. I would spend this year studying lots of picture books, taking classes, finding critique partners, writing LOTS of manuscripts, and working really hard to improve my craft. After that year of work (and in consultation with my fabulous critique partners), I got back into the query trenches and eventually signed with my agent!

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

KATIE: I work at my kitchen counter. Sometimes, I’ll sally forth into the backyard if the weather is particularly lovely, but mostly I’m camped out at my counter, sitting criss-cross applesauce on my stool, banging away on my laptop. I also have a notebook on me at all times. My husband gets me a new notebook every year for Christmas, and this is the idea notebook I carry around the following year.

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

KATIE: I have 5 kids aged 8 and under, so I grab writing time when I can. If the kids are in school and the baby is napping, that’s prime writing time for me. Ideas and brainstorming can happen for me at any time of the day or night, but if I’m actually drafting or revising, it seems the morning hours are the most fertile for my noggin.

ME: Why do you write for children?

KATIE: I started writing for children because I was reading a lot of picture books to my kids, and my brain began generating ideas in that form. I continue writing for children because I’ve fallen in love with it. There is something so magical about writing a manuscript, lovingly crafting every sentence, every phrase, every syllable…and then sending it off to a stranger (the illustrator) who will breathe life into my words in ways I could never imagine. It’s a collaboration I didn’t fully understand when I first started writing, but I’ve come to respect and value this dynamic so much.

ME: Thank you so much, Katie. Kid lit is magical…and it’s amazing to be part of this business that creates beautiful books for children! And I know you have something else VERY beautiful – a recipe for Brown Butter Blondies.

KATIE: This is, hands down, the yummiest batter of any baked good I’ve ever made. If you can keep yourself from eating all the batter, the blondies are insanely delicious. The only slightly tricky part about this recipe is browning the butter. If you haven’t browned butter before, find a quick tutorial video online. It can quickly go from browned to burned, so be careful!

Katie with a batch of Brown Butter Blondies!

Ingredients:

  •         1/2 cup unsalted butter
  •         1 cup all-purpose flour
  •         3/4 tsp baking powder
  •         3/4 tsp salt
  •         1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  •         1/4 cup granulated sugar
  •         2 large eggs
  •         1 tsp vanilla extract
  •         3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  •         Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  •         Brown the butter: In a small pan set over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Swirl the butter in the pan frequently to prevent burning. Pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let it cool slightly.
  •         Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine.
  •         Add both sugars to the brown butter, and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in color. Add the vanilla, and beat for 30 seconds.
  •         With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, in thirds. Don’t over mix!
  •         Stir in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  •         Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Oh WOW! Guess what I’m making this weekend? And Katie’s not done yet! She has a cool activity for kids, adults, or whoever wants to play. It’s a Hidden Pictures game…here’s a list of what you are looking for and you will find all of the items if you scroll up to the image of her workspace.

Can you find the:

Folded laundry?
Complete works of William Shakespeare?
Aging banana?
5 different sunblocks?
Tabitha and Fritz?

Lots of fun, Katie…thank you so much! And thank you, everyone, for stopping by.

Dear friends, if you’d like to find out more about Katie and her books: https://katiefrawley.wordpress.com/
If you’d like to purchase her book and support independent bookstores: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781542008549 

And if you’d like a chance to win a 20-minute Zoom Chat with the lovely Katie, make sure you leave a comment below and share this post on you social media channels for extra tickets in the giveaway hat.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend – it’s a glorious one here in New Hampshire.

59 thoughts on “KATIE FRAWLEY: Will Write for Cookies Plus ZOOM CHAT Giveaway

  1. Thanks for sharing part of your journey and a great recipe. I can’t wait to try it even with the browned butter challenge. I hope to know when it is time to begin mr query stage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Katie—I have 5 kids, too, but they are spread ove 17 years. I can’t imagine 5 under 8, and having any time to write! You’re amazing! Congratulations on your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a delightful entry! Can’t wait to read your book! I have five sons, & can’t imagine having done that much when they were little. Congrats! Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a fun 5am Saturday read! I’ve never heard of browning butter, what is wrong with me?!

    Thanks for sharing your process, Katie. I think time off to reflect and strengthen your craft can be so beneficial to your writing as well as your soul. I learn something new from the kidlit community every day that helps me on my journey. Excited for your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the great interview Katie and Vivian. My dining room work space is a great candidate for a hidden picture search too ! Just skew to a teenager and recent college grad. All the best with your new book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Katie was one of my first critique partners and she was one of the best I have ever had. She amazes me that she accomplishes all that she does with five children. And her new book, which I have, is fabulous. Yay Katie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations Katie! It is a testament to your hard work and dedication to be raising five and have a book coming out. I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 5 different sunblocks–hahaha! As a former Florida resident (Univ Tampa alum), I get it! Great interview, Katie & I can’t wait to read this adorable story (I’m a sucker for elephant characters!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this interesting and inspiring interview! 🙂 Very impressing how you carve out dedicated writing time in the midst of such a busy schedule.

    Your new book looks delightful! Best wishes with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this book so much. It’s so sweet how your hubby buys you a notebook and you write in it every year. I love the whole set up in the kitchen. And those kids of yours are great material. You are a real juggler with all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Katie- Congratulations! I can’t wait to read your book. By the way, I’m writing this at my kitchen counter (one of my favorite places to write). Vivian, thanks for your wonderful interviews and sharing so many wonderful books!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations, Katie! The kitchen in a favorite place for me to write, too! In the middle of family life! I’m looking forward to your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! The kitchen is right in the center of the craziness, so it keeps me from having to continually relocate when someone needs a drink of water or stubs a toe or breaks a lamp or has to pee or….

      Like

  13. Thank you Vivian for this insight into Katie’s writing world. I love her description of Author/Illustrator relationship. I am right now at the place where she was writing her first manuscript and realizing the long journey ahead of me.
    Katie, I checked your website. I am very impressed by the organized way you posted your critique services. I would like to suggest that you inform other writers about the yellow, red, and green light tiers. The Brown Butter Blondies look super yummy but I am going to pas up on them as I have gained 20 lbs. during the Pandemic instead of 20 manuscripts.
    Great success with Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a long but rewarding journey, truly! I’m glad you liked my website! The Red Light / Green Light has been of great use to a lot of writers, I think. I would have loved a service like that when I was earlier in my writing journey. (That’s why I came up with it!)

      Like

  14. As always, thank you Vivian for yet another amazing author story and recipe! YUM!

    Thank you Katie as well! I am encouraged since I made the same mistake and have been taking the same steps to prepare for the query trenches again. I’m thrilled to say Vivian has been very encouraging in this process as well. Congratulations on your debut!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vivian is like the Fairy Godmother of the kid lit world. She is kind and supportive and full of great advice. And you are in EXCELLENT company in the “I queried too early” club. So many writers do that and then go on to great things!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What an adorable book! The blondies don’t look half bad either. 😃 great interview, thank you for sharing your journey!

    Like

  16. I can’t believe Katie has time to write with five kids. My two when they were young were all time consuming. I would work in the evenings or weekends. By the way, I have a great recipe adding almond butter and chocolate chips instead of peanut butter. The problem is I’m always munching on the chocolate chips from the bag while mixing the batter.

    PS My website is for the VO hat I wear. I also have an author’s hat.

    Like

  17. Your book looks adorable. I can’t wait to read it! I too write when I can due to my little one, I usually write at night when he is asleep!

    Like

  18. Congrats on the book! Really enjoyed the glimpse into your workspace-the blondies look delicious (and doable!)…but I couldn’t find the 5th sunscreen 😂
    If I win the zoom, I’ll take all your mom-writing life tips!! Just had my first baby 5 weeks ago 💙

    Like

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