Maryann Cocca-Leffler – Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

TODAY’S GUEST

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MARYANN COCCA-LEFFLER

 

When one door closes, another opens. I left behind many wonderful kid lit friends when I moved away from Colorado Springs two years ago. But there are people who love picture books all over the world! Connecting with Maryann is proof of that. Can you believe she lives just down the road from me in the quaint little New England village of Amherst, NH hubby and I moved to?

Maryann grew up in the Boston area and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she received a BFA in Illustration. Her very first book, Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ written by Eileen Spinelli, was published in 1982 and has been re-released this Fall as a classic. (go here for my Perfect Picture Book Friday review) When not in her studio, Maryann travels to schools to share her books.

Maryann is the Author and Illustrator of over 60 books for children. Maryann’s recent book, “Janine” was inspired by Continue reading

Will Write for Cookies – Susanna Leonard Hill

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

SUSANNA LEONARD HILL

 Susanna Hill and Baahb read at MCP

When I first started blogging, I was posting a picture book review every week. Another blogger told me that there was a site I just HAD to visit because that author was putting together a resource list of great picture books and activities. “It’s called Perfect Picture Book Friday,” she told me. “You must check it out!”

I did…and the rest is history.  Not only did I join in every Friday with an entry to Susanna’s linky-list, but I also participated in her many writing prompts like Short and Sweets, holiday story contests like the Halloweensie Contest and helpful weekly features like Would You Read It Wednesday (pitches) and O Susanna (answers to specific writing/publishing questions).

Susanna Leonard Hill is the award winning author of nearly a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice),No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild selection), Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of The Month), and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner.)  Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Japanese, with one hopefully forthcoming in Korean.  Her newest book, Alphabedtime!, is forthcoming from Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Books, in Fall 2015.  She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs.

She conducts a picture book writing online course, MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC, and is also well-known for her ‘hare-brained schemes’…which means she is always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need and to creatively support and encourage others. Oh, and every week she feeds us virtual CHOCOLATE and other goodies!

Susanna, I really appreciate you hopping on board this ‘hare-brained’ scheme of mine!

So, without further ado, HERE’S SUSANNA!!!!

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

I am a lucky girl.

I grew up in a family of readers and a house full of books.  Literally.  There were piles of books on the floor in the hall (I thought that was normal… :)) until my dad built new shelves… and then those were filled… and then there were more piles 🙂  My mom used to read to us not just at bedtime but while we ate lunch sometimes, or when we were driving in the car (of course not while she was driving :)).

I really don’t remember thinking in author/illustrator terms at the picture book age, but I loved Make Way For Ducklings, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, The Story of Ferdinand, Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel, Harry The Dirty Dog, and Curious George.  Oh! and Madeline and Bread And Jam For Frances 🙂  Those delightful characters and the magic of the words and pictures together filled me with joy.  Even way back then I knew that someday I wanted to write books like those!

When I got a little older I loved everything Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery, Beverly Cleary, Sydney Taylor, Louisa May Alcott, and Nancy Drew… and horse stories – every single one 🙂  (And I’ve written my share of horse stories and Nancy Drew books which have thankfully never seen the light of day :))

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

Hmmm….   That’s a tough one.  There are a lot of things I’m glad I didn’t know 🙂

But I wish I’d known that 2700 words was considered too long for a picture book 🙂

I wish I’d known that all writers, even famous, successful ones, have the same struggles you and I do.  They have mornings where they don’t know what to write.  They have days when the delete key gets a serious work-out.  They get stuck in the middle of their stories.  They get rejections.  It’s comforting to know that my heroes work too.  And I don’t mean that in a negative way – I’m not glad they struggle sometimes.  It just makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one 🙂

Which leads me to wishing I’d known Continue reading