WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
ANNA CROWLEY REDDING
Anna is one of my favorite kidlit people. She is smart and kind, passionate about writing and compassionate about life. We’ve been critique buddies for several years and have had many long Skype one-on-ones. We live in contiguous states. But…
…we’ve never actually met in person. Each conference at which we were supposed to connect, something happened and one of us couldn’t go. I’m making a promise that, before the end of next year, Anna and I are going to hug each other for real! Anna…I hope you are listening!
Anna Crowley Redding is the debut author of YA nonfiction Google it: A history of Google (How two students’ mission to organize the internet changed the world). Her debut picture book RESCUING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPEDENCE (illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham) will hit the bookstore shelves in 2020.
Before diving into the deep end of writing for children, Anna Crowley Redding’s first career was as an Emmy-award winning investigative television reporter, anchor, and journalist. The recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards and recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, Redding now focuses her stealthy detective skills on digging up great stories for kids and teens — which, as it turns out, is her true passion.
Dear readers, thanks to Anna, we have a giveaway of a copy of GOOGLE THIS! Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.
ME: It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to welcome you, Anna.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
ANNA: I loved Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen. I can remember being about 5 or 6 years old and poring over the illustrations and I can remember being completely captivated by the fact that illustrations spilled out of their borders. He went outside the lines of each spread and I LOVED that. He was a rule breaker and I identified with that immediately. I also loved that he used the cross-hatch technique for shadows, fill, and definition. My father, then, taught me how to do it. That technique gives children a lot of freedom when they are drawing and I loved that, too.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
ANNA: Learn the rules of writing, craft, structure . . . so that you can break them really well, in just the right spot. This adds more depth and voice to your writing and punctuates your storytelling. But if you don’t learn the craft first, you can’t properly break the rules in compelling ways.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
ANNA: There are four places I love to write. 1) My desk which is a piece of live edge pine from Maine. The trick is not staring off at the ocean endlessly. 2) On the floor in front of the fireplace. I love sitting in front of the fire. It’s such a creative and cozy spot. I stack up my favorite books and plop my laptop right on top. 3) At the coffee shop. There is something about writing in a public space with other people around that makes me super productive. I mean first of all you want to look like you are working which usually leads to actual work. 4) The Library. I love writing with lots of other books around and you cannot beat the expertise of real live actual librarians for help with research questions, mentor text ideas, and market knowledge. Plus, they are fun to be around.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
ANNA: I write on a schedule, keeping normal business hours and adding a couple of nights and some weekend times. For me it’s like going to the gym. If I take a break, then starting up again is super painful. So, I try to keep it going all the time.
ME: Why do you write for children?
ANNA: I have wanted to write for children and teens since I was in early Elementary school. I think it’s a very creative time in life with tremendous purpose. And so creating books that might inspire and empower young readers or capture their imagination, really, there is nothing better!
ME: And Anna, your books are definitely going to do that! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your process. If you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share.
ANNA: To young writers, don’t ever give up. Keep writing, keep learning, try new things, and learn as much as you can. All of your life experience, what you read, who you meet, the music you listen to . . . all of it informs and shapes your own writing. Get out there and experience life, soak up as much information as you can, and don’t forget to share what you learn with others along the way. And have confidence in your writing and your ability to grow. The pithy nature of social media writing is making your generation a really fabulously practiced group of writers. Social media really forces you to get to the heart of every story. That is such an exciting quality you guys are growing up cultivating. Once you have the heart of your story, you can build out from there. What a fun journey lies before young writers!
ME: WOW…what great advice for kids…and we, as older writers, can probably follow Anna’s suggestions, too.
One thing I know we will want to follow are the instructions for her delicious banana muffin recipe. Take it away, Anna!
ANNA: Here’s our Banana Muffin recipe. We love to make this when reading IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN By Laura Numeroff :
- 1/3 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 maple syrup
- 2 eggs or egg replacer
- 4 mashed bananas (honestly I throw mine in whole)
- 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoon chia seed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon flax-seed (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cream butter and sugar
- Add Maple syrup and apple sauce
- Add two beaten eggs
- Add bananas and combine well
- Add dry ingredients to combine
- Add vanilla and cinnamon
- Spoon into muffin tin
- Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until an inserted knife comes out clean
Yield: A dozen muffins (we had enough for two extra
Thank you so much, Anna! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us today. I hope everyone tries the muffin recipe, buys a copy of GOOGLE THIS!, and leaves a comment for the giveaway.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. I thank you so much for spending your precious time here with us. I hope you’ll be back often this month…we have a FULL schedule with Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews EVERY Friday and Will Write for Cookies author/illustrator interviews EVERY Saturday PLUS FOUR book birthday posts! Lots of giveaways, lots of insights, and hopefully, lots of fun!