WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
I’m so excited to invite you all to join in this wonderful chat with two amazing writers who are going to share how they met and developed a working relationship as well as a friendship.
Maxine Rose Schur is an award-winning children’s book author and travel journalist. She was the Baker-Nord Guest Lecturer on Writing for Children in the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and teaches children’s book writing at the San Francisco Writing Salon.
Maxine has written children’s fiction and non-fiction for numerous trade publishers and for educational publishers including Houghton-Mifflin, Heinemann, Addison-Wesley, National Geographic Kids. She has also written imaginative content for the BBC television program, Playschool and the Children’s Television Workshop and has designed children’s educational software games for Tomy Toys.
Stephanie M. Wildman served as John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Chair at Santa Clara Law and directed the school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service before becoming Professor Emerita. Her books include: Brave in the Water (2021); Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America 2d (2021) (with contributions by Armstrong, Davis, & Grillo); Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America 3d (with Delgado, Harris, Perea, & Stefancic) (2015); Social Justice: Professionals Communities and Law (with Mahoney & Calmore) (2013); Women and the Law Stories (with Schneider) (2011). She is a member of the Writers Grotto.
Find her at stephaniewildman.com or @SWildmanSF on twitter.
ME: Do you all notice the synchronicity in the titles of their newest books? These are BRAVE women! And generous ones, also. There is going to be a giveaway of a copy of BRAVE IN THE WATER by Stephanie Wildman and a giveaway of a copy of THE MARVELOUS MAZE by Maxine Rose Schur, so please make sure you leave a comment. And now, without further ado, I want to welcome Maxine and Stephanie to Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Ladies, can you share how you two met?
Stephanie: When I retired from my day job as a law teacher, I knew I wanted to keep writing. I saw that Maxine was offering a class at the Writing Salon. I looked up her and her books, and I was so impressed. We were supposed to come to the first class with an idea for a MG or YA book. When I explained my idea involving a boy who was afraid to put his face in the water, Maxine said, “It’s a picture book.”
Maxine: What I admire about Stephanie is that the tips and techniques I taught for creating a novel, Stephanie was able to apply to her story. For example, I coached her on getting into the deeper feelings of her protagonist by using her own emotion memory. I also encouraged her to visualize the scenes, and to define the overall arc of the story.
Stephanie: We have a mutual appreciation society. Maxine’s book Marielle in Paris, illustrated by Jeanne de Sainte Marie,remains one of my favorites to read with my grandsons. It’s a classic story arc, where all is lost, yet the protagonist overcomes her worst fear to triumph.
Vivian: So the class ended. Then what?
Stephanie: I liked the class so much I asked Maxine if she would continue coaching me as I worked on the draft, and she agreed. Brave in the Water went through several iterations with her guidance.
I have learned so much from Maxine, not just about writing and picture books, but also the greater world of kid lit. She encouraged me to join SCBWI and the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, a community of picture book writers founded by Julie Hedlund.
Vivian: Maxine, you obviously saw the book as publishable.
Maxine: I thought her book was not only publishable but important. From Stephanie I learned that drowning is a significant public health hazard, especially for children. I saw in Brave in the Water the potential for not only a lovely picture book but a valuable one. I was happy to tell her that I had taken some of my out-of-print books and some new work to a new, small press, Lawley Publishing, and perhaps she should send her manuscript there too. Voila! They loved it and they, too, saw its significance.
Stephanie: The book was personally significant to me, too. I grew up afraid of water, yet swimming has been so important to my family. My daughter was an award-winning coach, and my son won a swimming gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. I hope this book helps children conquer their fears. But it would not exist without Maxine’s teaching.
Vivian: What has teaching children’s book writing given you? Has it helped your own writing?
Maxine: I have found that teaching the wisdom I’ve gained over my years in writing children’s books helps me reinforce the tips and techniques for myself. Teaching has made me more mindful in my own writing. Also, publishing these books, especially in a pandemic has required a new level of publicity awareness. I’m very grateful to Stephanie because it’s not simply that I’ve encouraged her, but that she has encouraged me. She dove quickly into learning about book promotion. She has made me aware of new avenues to pursue. In this way, as former teacher and former student, we continue to learn from and support each other. I think our relationship is an example of how a teacher-student relationship can evolve and continue into a mutually beneficial one, and, I will add, a friendship. I look forward to seeing what Stephanie will create next!
Stephanie: I fear Maxine gives me too much credit in the publicity department. But I do now have a website. Most of my publicity savvy has come from my debut group NewBooksForKids.com. It’s been amazing to meet these other authors, who I only know virtually and to travel this “debut in a pandemic” road with them. I’ve learned the importance of reviewing books and making library requests as we support each other as authors in this broader kid-lit community.
I’m really anticipating Maxine’s next book Child of the Sea, illustrated by Milanka Reardon. Folklore, myths, and legends from around the world were my gateway into reading as a child. I can’t wait to discover this original folk tale.
Maxine and Stephanie: Thank you, Vivian, for inviting us to share our experience.
ME: It’s been my honor and pleasure to have you here. And I know that everyone will takeaway important insights on connecting with people who can work with you to polish your manuscripts to submission-ready. Plus we all love to hear how friendships are created…and also…COOKIES! I know that Stephanie has something wonderful in store for us! Take it away, Stephanie…
STEPHANIE: Cookies! Don’t tell anyone, but I might be related to the Cookie Monster:
Stephanie’s favorite Chocolate – Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick Butter
1/4 c. Apple Sauce
1 c. Honey
1/2 cup Dark Baking Cocoa
2 ½ c. Flour
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/3 cup quality Chocolate Chips (I favor Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, cream together butter, apple sauce, and honey. Beat eggs in a separate bowl and then mix in.
Add cocoa, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips
I use two spoons to create balls on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Should work with parchment or greased sheet as well.
Bake for 9 -13 minutes, depending on your oven.
Sometimes I add 1 tsp. of mint or vanilla
Can also use this recipe to make 6-8 giant cookies
HMMM…that’s a definitely YES! I’m adding this recipe to my list of don’t-save-this-one-just-for-holidays!
Thank you so much to Maxine and Stephanie for sharing their journey. And please, dear friends, remember that the best way to thank authors for writing books you love is to buy the books, review the books, tell friends about the books, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection. And don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of BRAVE IN THE WATER by Stephanie Wildman
And another giveaway of a copy of MARVELOUS MAZE by Maxine Rose Schur https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marvelous-maze-maxine-rose-schur/1101319927?ean=9781952209345
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. Please stay safe and well.