Miranda Paul: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Miranda_Paul_Headshot_2015

MIRANDA PAUL

 

I met today’s Will Write for Cookies author a couple of years ago when I first discovered this incredible kid lit community. Friends told me about a website called RateYourStory that was run by a writer named Miranda Paul, where you could get a manuscript looked at by professionals – for free! I went, I saw, I fell in love…with the site, the service and Miranda herself. A passionate advocate for literacy and leader in the movement to encourage diversity in books, Miranda is a doer, not just a dreamer. She’s published more than 50 short stories for magazines and digital markets, and is the author of One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, and Water is Water. Both were named Junior Library Guild selections. She is kind and generous and loving and a super smart mentor!

I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.

Welcome, Miranda!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 

Miranda:

Shel Silverstein, Lois Lowry, and Roald Dahl. But seeing as how I never grew up, I think my current favorites also apply to this question. There are too many to name, but Jacqueline Woodson, Kevin Henkes, Kat Yeh, and Kadir Nelson come to mind. Or maybe those are just the ones that have “k” sounds in their names…

One_Plastic_Bag_Cover_Miranda_Paul 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children? Continue reading

Katharine Holabird – Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

KATHARINE HOLABIRD

 Katharine Holabird headshot

I connected with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor back in 2010. I had contacted Katharine to ask if she would be willing to read my soon-to-be-published book, since one of the picture book stories I recommended in it was Angelina Ballerina. Her answer was an immediate, YES! I was THRILLED when I received her endorsement…what an honor to have the author of over thirty-five children’s books say nice things about my work. And when I invited Katharine to participate in Will Write for Cookies, again she said YES! Hurray!

With experience as an editor, freelance journalist and nursery school teacher, Katharine definitely knew what she was doing when she created the much beloved character of Angelina Ballerina. Angelina recently ‘celebrated’ her 30th birthday – and the books have been translated into over fifteen languages!

I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.

Welcome, Katharine! I know that so many writers were avid readers when they were young. From what I read on your website, you were a lover of books also.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 

Katharine: My grandmother had a beautiful collection of fairy tales illustrated by Arthur Rackman and Kay Nielson, and I still remember the romance and power of those fantastic stories and illustrations. Later on I read everything by E.B.White and Frank Baum, and adored Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House On The Prairie’ series. Not surprisingly, most of the books I loved had strong female heroines!

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ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

 

Katharine: I wish I’d known more about how the publishing world works and been a little cannier about my choices. When you first get published it’s such a thrill, and it’s easy to be naïve about contracts and fine print. A good agent should advise and encourage, and also keep an eye on all the contract details.

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ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?

 

Katharine: Recently my husband and I moved back to the USA after thirty-five years in London, and that’s changed my writing habits in many ways. I used to write in a quiet upstairs room in London, but we travel a lot more now, and luckily laptops have made writing on the go very easy. I sometimes write ideas and thoughts in notebooks, but most of my writing is now on my laptop computer. I do a lot of revisions, and for each story I keep a file with dated changes and rewrites in the computer – it really helps keep me organized! I find all I need is a quiet space where I can sit down and concentrate with the laptop. The location doesn’t matter so much now – if you’re engrossed in a story an airplane can be surprisingly good place to write.

 

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

 

Katharine: I love the idea of a muse, because there’s always a touch of magic about writing, as with all creative work (Elizabeth Gilbert has a wonderful TED Talk about working with her muse). So yes, I write when the muse inspires me, though deadlines are also inspiring! When I have a story due I become a binge writer and go at it for a entire days at a time, but then there are periods when I’m just humming along, waiting for the next spark of an idea to arise. I’m now writing a new series about ‘TWINKLE, a little fairy who lives in a magical fairy world and goes to the Fairy School of Music and Magic – it’s a big change from Mouseland, and I’m enjoying the challenge. (TWINKLE is a Barnes & Noble exclusive, available from B&N and Amazon)

Meet TWINKLEroll

ME: Why do you write for children?

 

Katharine: I started writing for children when I was in my thirties, at home with two young daughters (and then a son). My daughters loved to dress up and dance, just the way I’d danced with my sisters growing up in Chicago. My oldest daughter was a very determined character, and all she wanted for her fourth birthday was a pink tutu. As soon as Tara put on her pink tutu she magically became a great ballerina, and wore it everywhere. I was doing free lance writing for my husband’s publishing company, Aurum Press, and worked on Helen Craig’s first mouse counting and ABC books. When Aurum proposed doing a storybook with Helen I knew it was my chance to write something special for my daughters. I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote a first draft about a little dancing character I called Primrose, and this became Angelina Ballerina. It’s now been 35 years since Angelina Ballerina was published, and recently Helen Craig and I donated all our Angelina archive to the Seven Stories Children’s Museum in Newcastle, England. I was there in September to see ”Twists and Tails – the story of Angelina Ballerina,” a show created from our archive materials, and it was amazing to discover my first hand written draft proudly displayed in a glass case in the center of the room!

There’s more information regarding the Seven Stories Children’s Museum on my Facebook page.Family portrait Sept 14

 

 

 

 

Thank you so very much, Katharine! I’m excited about your new Twinkle series. My little granddaughter will be two years old in April…and she and her parents love fairies.

I know you have grandchildren and we are so happy to have this special smoothy recipe that you make for them.

 

Katharine: I have two adorable grandsons (still waiting for a little girl who loves pink!)

I’m not much of a baker, but the boys and I like to make smoothies together – they’re so delicious, and I add some Green Superfood flavoured with chocolate!

 NANA’S SMOOTHIE:

2 Cups milk or almond milk

1 banana

1 cup cleaned strawberries, blueberries or raspberries (or combination)

1 peeled Kiwi

1 tablespoon Green Superfood – Chocolate flavour

Blend until smooth and yummy!

Wow! Thank you for your candid and helpful answers, Katharine. And I can’t wait to try your smoothy recipe.

With the holiday just around the corner, I know that parents and grandparents are looking for great gifts for kids – I can’t think of a better one than a BOOK. I noticed there are two different Christmas titles for Angelina Ballerina books, and of course, board books, paper backs, Kindle versions, audio tapes and many other ways people can share the beloved Angelina Ballerina. These are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, indie bookshops and from the Penguin Website, Angelinaballerina.com, Hitshopusa.com and HITEntertainment.com.

If you want to connect with Katharine, you can visit her amazing website: http://katharineholabird.com/

And if you are interested in viewing the Elizabeth Gilbert TED talks she mentioned, here they are:

https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius

https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_success_failure_and_the_drive_to_keep_creating

What a way to end Will Write for Cookies for the year. I started this series in January. Have you read all twelve posts? Here is a list with links so you can catch up on any you might have missed:

Iza Trapani

Susanna Leonard Hill

Susanne Gervay

David Seow

Emily Lim

Emma Walton Hamilton

Christopher Cheng

Dianne de las Casas

Anne Marie Pace

Jane Yolen

Julie Hedlund

Tara Lazar

Sandra Beckwith

Laura Purdie Salas

Katharine Holabird

And 2015 will be another exciting year – Katie Davis, Laura Gehl, Julie Rowan-Zoch, Donna McDine, Marty Banks, Suzanne Williams, Artie Bennett, Miranda Paul, Becky Gomez, and more authors and illustrators will be stepping into the Will Write for Cookies spotlight…I hope you won’t miss a post.

And, if you still have any vision left after this ultra-long post, head over to Susanna Hill’s blog and read some of the incredible stories that have been entered in her 4th Annual Holiday Contest: http://www.susannahill.blogspot.com

 

Picture Books: A Child’s POV

Picture Books: A Child's POV

I want to apologize.

I’ve had to step back from blogging and other social media because we are moving. Although I’ve packed up houses before, this time it seems harder! Could it be that I am older?

Today I am guest posting over at Donna Martin’s On the Write Track. She has a series called, WRITERLY WISDOM, and Donna is one of the amazing connections I’ve made in this kid lit community – I hope you will stop by and read all about what makes a great picture book and the various genres of books for kids: http://donasdays.blogspot.com/2013/08/writerly-wisdom-vivian-kirkfield.html

By the way, we are in final negotiations for the house in New Hampshire…fingers crossed!

Picture Books: A Child's POV

#2013AFCC – A Picture Book is Worth a Thousand Words

#2013AFCC - A Picture Book is Worth a Thousand Words

Today I’d like to share the presentation I did for the Parents Forum at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore last week.

My goal was to give parents an overview of how picture books can be used as tools to

  • build self-esteem
  • develop literacy skills
  • strengthen the parent-child connection

With summer right around the corner, children will be looking for things to do. If you have preschoolers, kindergarteners or kids in the first or second grade, picture books can be a life-saver.

I mentioned that parents make a big investment in their children:

  • FOOD
  • SHELTER
  • LOVE
  • EDUCATION

Did you know that Money Magazine did a study in 2011 that showed it costs over  Continue reading

Pi Bo Id Mo: Throw me a deadline & I will write a story

Pi Bo Id Mo: Throw me a deadline & I will write a story.

Hurray!  Children’s author Emily Lim, the awesome lady who invited me to speak at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore, is joining PiBoIdMo!

PiBoIdMo is the perfect launching pad for picture book writers…not only will you create a notebook of 30 ideas that might someday become award-winners…you will also be exposed to over 500 (YES, 500) energized writers and illustrators who will be sharing tips and helpful information in posts (on Tara Lazar’s blog and in their own) and in the comments (I know, scrolling through hundreds of comments on each post takes time…but it is time well-spent…there are always excellent nuggets of knowledge lurking there). 

The Bible says something about if two or three are gathered  There IS power in community…and here we have over 500 gathering…don’t you feel the energy?

Haven’t signed up yet?  What are you waiting for? 

http://taralazar.com/2012/10/23/piboidmo-2012-registration-begins-now-sign-up-here/