DIANNA WILSON-SIRKOVSKY: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Dianna Wilson-Sirkovsky

Hurray for following your dream! Our Will Write for Cookies guest is certainly doing that. I met Dianna via email a little more than a year ago when she reached out to thank me for inspiring her to continue moving forward with her dream to write for children. She’d read my blog posts and identified with someone who had turned the page to a new chapter in her life. She already had a book deal in the works and she wanted feedback on a manuscript she’d been writing. I’m thrilled to say that the book deal book JUST launched! And the manuscript she’d been writing was just acquired! And this wonderful author is giving a wonderful giveaway: a copy of JAMES’ READING RESCUE to one lucky winner and a Picture Book Manuscript Feedback to a second lucky winner. Woo-hoo!

Dianna Wilson-Sirkovsky’s life has always been filled with books and cats, passions learned from her Grandma Marg and her mother, Isabel. She renewed her love for picture books while reading to her children, inspiring her to write and share stories of her own later in life. Her family and herself are deeply committed to animal rescue and the ethical treatment of all animals. They had nine beloved rescue cats that shared their lives for many years. She works as a senior administrator at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she lives with her husband David, who shares great ideas for stories and is her sounding board. Her daughter Laura (who has five rescue cats) gives her great support and honest critiques of her writing! Her son Garrett (with one rescue cat) is a magnet for cats – they are drawn to him like catnip! She takes great pleasure in writing children’s stories inspired by true events, imagination, and the joy of adventure and discovery.

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, dear Dianna. I know that your books are going to help kids soar…and I know that everyone is excited to hear a bit more about your journey, so let’s get started!
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

DIANNA: Hi Vivian! And thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m going to have to put on my thinking cap for your question. That’s a long way back! I know that I took out loads of books from the library. I loved the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery. I fell in love with picture books when my children were small. I love the wonderful Fern Hollow books by John Patience and the Franklin books by Paulette Bourgeois, so beautifully illustrated by Brenda Clarke. Really, there are so many wonderful books; it’s hard to have favorites.

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

DIANNA: How to choose?! All the rules!  I think the most valuable things I’ve learned are about story arc, the rule of three, the ‘dark moment’ and everyone’s bugaboo – show NOT tell! Another important thing I’ve learned is that characters must earn their names – i.e. they must be important enough to the story to be given an identity. I found that really interesting.

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

DIANNA: I wrote my first few stories using pencil and paper. I’m now comfortable writing on the computer – I find the words flow just as easily. I generally write in my ‘office’ which is to say in my daughter’s bedroom, kept ready for her visits!

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

DIANNA: I am not a disciplined writer – I don’t write every day, for sure. Lately, I’ve been so busy revising that I haven’t written a new story for a couple of months now, although I do have one waiting and tapping me on the shoulder from time to time. Therefore, the honest answer would be that I write as the muse strikes.

ME: Why do you write for children?

DIANNA: I love children and children’s books, particularly picture books. As an amateur artist (but definitely not an illustrator), I love and appreciate what illustrations bring to a story. I think most of all what draws me to these books is the endless opportunity to create something wonderful.  Something vibrant, funny, adventurous, tender, silly, imaginative – bringing to life the next story patiently waiting its turn to be told.  Hopefully creating a book that someone will love and keep forever.

Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share.

DIANNA: I know that sometimes writing feels like climbing Mt. Everest but don’t give up. Writing is like any other skill – the more you learn and practice, the better you become. So, keep researching, learning all the dos and don’ts and do not let them scare you into giving up. Keep writing and find a critique group where you feel comfortable. I have some wonderful CPs in several different groups and they have been such a help and support to me.     

ME: Thank you so much, Dianna. That is fabulous advice! And I know you have some fabulous advice for us regarding a special treat we might want to try.

DIANNA: Here is a cookie that I love from Elana Amsterdam at ElanasPantry.com. It is delicious and healthy, so I don’t feel so guilty! They are gluten free and can also easily be dairy free.

Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious and nutritious!  Thanks to Elana.

2.5 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup butter or oil – I sometimes use a combination of coconut and avocado oil. Don’t use all butter.
½ cup agave nectar OR honey OR maple syrup – I use a combination of honey and maple syrup.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup dried cranberries OR dried cherries
1 cup walnuts toasted
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Lemon or orange zest – my own addition

Instruction:

1.    In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together

2.    Stir wet ingredients into dry

3.    Add dried berries, nuts and chocolate chips

4.    Teaspoon onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet or roll into 1-inch balls and press onto sheet

5.    CHILL at least ½ hour before baking

6.    Bake at 350 for 7 – 10 minutes

Enjoy!

Thank you so much, Dianna. This looks like a perfect Holiday Cookie!!! And I love that it is gluten-free!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Why not stop by your local indie to snag a copy of this fabulous book! If they don’t have it in stock, request it…that’s a great way to insure the success of a new book. Also, leave a review on Amazon or some other book site. And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the generous giveaway – There will be two winners…one will win a copy of the book, JAMES’ READING RESCUE and another person will win picture book manuscript feedback from the lovely Dianna. Maybe you can tell us what your favorite book or book series was as a child. And please let us know which prize you would prefer if you are one of the lucky winners.

30 thoughts on “DIANNA WILSON-SIRKOVSKY: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

  1. This book looks wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing Dianna’s story, Vivian. I was a Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew fan as a child. I started to love picture books as a teacher and mother. If I am a lucky winner I would love either generous prize.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks wonderful! Oh, I remember reading the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and Cherie Ames. One of my favorite PBs back then was HATS FOR SALE. I just thought it was funny. And NOW I love all kinds of PBs! I can’t wait to read JAMES’ READING RESCUE. Congrats to Dianna and thanks for sharing, Vivian! I would love to win a copy of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The cover of the book is extraordinary. James looks like a very kind child, and your favorite animals are like an extension of your personality.
    I am a teacher and I am delighted that you address the issue of struggling with reading.
    Good luck with your book Dianna. I loved what you said in the interview about “bringing to life the next story patiently waiting its turn to be told.”
    My favorite books are all Shell Silverstein writings and above all The Giving Tree.
    If I am lucky enough to win I will be thrilled with any of the prizes, but secretly I confess that I would love the Picture Book manuscript feedback as I am new to the craft and I am not a young chick anymore.
    Please extend the congratulations to the illustrator.
    Thank you Vivian for all the information!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Eva,
      How lovely of you to stop by and leave such a beautiful comment! I’m excited that you are a teacher who writes…there are a lot of us around like that…and many of us aren’t young chicks either. We all want to support and encourage each other…that’s what life is all about!

      Like

    • Thanks for these lovely comments, Eva. My own son had reading difficulties when young, so this true story really hit a chord with me. I’m 63 so don’t worry about not being a younger writer! Vivian inspired me. Good luck, I wish everyone could win!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful interview! Thank you, Dianna, for reminding me to always try to reach out to those who give guidance or inspiration on my journey. We never know how our words or actions might be just the support someone needs at that moment. My favorite PB from childhood is We Were Tired of Living in a House, and my favorite chapter book is The Secret Garden. They both take place outdoors, and it’s in that setting that the characters discover what matters most. I still find comfort in the outdoors. I would be thrilled to win a PB critique!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hands down, Nancy Drew books were my favorites and I read every one I could get my hands on. i would love to win a copy of this author’s book to read, review, and study as mentor text.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Dianna, on your upcoming debut! We love rescues, too, especially our “coconut retriever” rescued from the US Virgin Islands.I remember receiving a big box of Bobbsey Twins & Nancy Drew books from older cousins when I was young. I felt like I had won the lottery! From there, I graduated to the World Book Encyclopedias that filled a bookshelf in our living room. I don’t think I’ve stopped reading since! Thank you for your generous offer – I’d be happy with either of the prizes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zowie – a whole box of books would be like hitting the jackpot, indeed! And so happy that you’re a rescue mom – the world needs more people like you. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dianna thank you for sharing your journey. It looks like a great book. Lately I also have been having a hard time writing because I feel like I’m just in revision mode. My muse has kind of been up and down lately. Good luck on everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m overwhelmed with this lovely interview, Vivian and all the thoughtful, encouraging comments. Thanks so much everyone for your good wishes and good luck! I with you could all win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The people who come to my blog are incredible people, Dianna. I feel so blessed to know them…some I’ve met at conferences…others I hope to meet one day…all of them are much appreciated! We do need to surround ourselves with these positive lights, deal lady…and you are one of those!

      Like

  9. Congratulations on your debut book! It looks like a wonderful story with beautiful artwork to match, and I love how this book will bring awareness about rescuing animals,
    Thank you for the opportunity of a critique.
    Best wishes with your book! I’m sure it is the first of many. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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