WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
Back in November of 2019 when we were still traveling around, carefree and mask-free, I was at the NCTE Conference in Baltimore, Maryland and I ALMOST got to meet today’s Will Write for Cookies guest in person! I was so excited because we’d been chatting online and participating in many of the same kid lit groups, and even trading manuscripts for critique. Sadly, it didn’t work out…but I have every confidence that we will break bread together in the future…and I’m looking forward to that! Karen Greenwald has been patiently persevering and now her debut picture book is launching next week. HURRAY!
Karen M. Greenwald has a wide range of government, campaign, and branding experience. She’s won international awards for STEM creative, writing, video, rebranding, and self-promotion. Bylined credits include online, print magazines, and The Washington Post. Karen belongs to SCBWI, 12×12, and co-founded #SunWriteFun—a NF/Info Fic. summer contest that raises money for kidlit charities. Her picture book, A VOTE FOR SUSANNA, THE FIRST WOMAN MAYOR, debuts in October (Albert Whitman). It has held steady since February on two of Amazon’s Hot New Releases lists for kids. A Phi Beta Kappa, she earned undergraduate and JD degrees from Georgetown University. Before turning to branding, Karen worked as an attorney and focused on international environmental compliance issues.
ME: A Huge Picture Books Help Kids Soar welcome, dear Karen. We are so happy to have you here! I know everyone is excited to learn a little bit more about you. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
KAREN: It’s so good to be here, Vivian. And oooh, this is a tough one! As a very young child, I loved the Little Mr. books and I remember it being a big deal when they finally had a Little Ms. edition! My mom got it for me right away (I grew up in a very “Girl Power” focused home!). I guess it makes sense that my debut is a Girl-Power true story! I also loved Berenstain Bears and Richard Scary, but I leapt quickly from picture books to sneaking my older sister’s books out of her room (not sure I’ve ever admitted that to her!).
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
KAREN: How incredibly complex and involved it is to write a children’s book—I wish I had known this as a child. I loved the books I read—honestly, I couldn’t stop reading as a kid. Books were like food to me, and I was always “hungry” for more.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
KAREN: Initially, I map everything out in my head. I do this for any art I create, also. If an idea keeps me thinking for a few days, I know I’ve got to write or draw it. Then I go to my laptop. I love writing in my sunroom, but admittedly, it is easy to get distracted by the nature around me!
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
KAREN: I am so jealous of the “5 AM Writer’s Club!” Lol! I could never become a member! Truly, how do you all do it? I try to get my “real-world” work done first in the day so that I can move away from it and write. For some reason (and you know this all too well, Ms. Vivian!), I’m so night centric. I love writing in the late evening.
ME: Why do you write for children?
KAREN: I remember the joy, enthusiasm, experience of getting to open a new world each time I picked up a picture book. What adventures awaited me? What stories would unfold? It was delicious to me. I cradled these books as a child—and learned so much from them. The idea of writing a book that winds up under someone’s pillow, waiting for “light’s out”/secret flashlight on? What could be better? The other part of it though is the ability to open a child’s world to new ideas. The stories that I am compelled to write are ones that history hasn’t shared enough. They don’t appear in social studies books, but they should. Writing them with heart allows me to help mold better world citizens!
ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share.
KAREN: I guess the best advice I can give is about choosing your stories (whether you are writing them or sharing them with children). Always focus on sharing stories you feel passionate about😊
ME: That’s amazing advice, Karen! Thank you so much! And I know you have an AMAZING recipe for us also!
KAREN: This recipe is very special…it’s the actual one used by Grandma Dora–a real person—used in the book!
-1 ½ cups granulated sugar
-1 ½ cups eggs whites
-2 tablespoons of corn starch in bottom of 1 cup measurer, with enough sifted flour to fill the measure
-½ teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon flavoring plus 1 tablespoon water mixed together
-1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Measure all ingredients and set aside, handy for mixing.
2. Sift sugar to be sure there are no lumps.
3. Put ½ cup of the sugar with cornstarch/flour mixture and sift 3 times, ready for the mix.
4. Beat egg whites by hand and salt, until mix is sudsy.
5. Add cream of tartar.
6. Beat until it stands in peaks and the mixture cannot slide to one side when the mixing bowl is tilted.
7. Whip in the 1 cup of sugar, adding it gradually.
8. Add flavoring and water.
9. Fold the flour and sugar mixture in gradually.
10. Lastly, add one tablespoon of cold water, then place mix in ungreased pan.
11. Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
12. Put cake in oven and immediately turn regulator back to 300 degrees. Bake 55 minutes, then remove from the oven and invert pan for cooling.
Serve with fresh berries and cream or glaze—whatever you prefer. ENJOY!
Oh my goodness…we certainly will, Karen! And dear readers, before you rush off to enjoy your angel food cake with berries and cream, please remember to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a ZOOM CHAT with the amazing Karen! Maybe you can tell us how you felt the very first time you voted. And if you can share the post on social media, that would be AWESOME! Spreading the word about books we love is one of the best ways we can say thank you to the authors and illustrators. And we also need to buy their books and review their books.
And to attend a very special book launch sponsored by the National Women’s History Museum, please register here. It’s called BRAVE GIRLS HONOR BRAVE WOMEN – here’s a blurb from the NWHM site:
Calling all Brave Girls! Join the NWHM on Friday, October 1 from 12-1pm EDT for a very special Brave Girls Virtual Story Time Book Launch! Join authors Karen Greenwald (A Vote for Susanna, the First Woman Mayor), Songju Daemicke (Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria), and Nancy Churnin (Dear Mr. Dickens) for the first book release event as each author reads excerpts from their brand-new children’s books. The readings will be followed by a Q&A with all of the authors!
I know that none of you want to miss that!!!!!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!