WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION
Our guest today is a debut picture book author this year–and I was thrilled to meet her when I joined Picture the Books 2017, a group dedicated to authors and illustrators whose books are launching this year.
Alison Goldberg is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before becoming a children’s book author, Alison worked for economic justice organizations and wrote a resource guide about social change philanthropy. These days, she blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison is also a board member of the Food Research and Action Center, an organization committed to ending hunger in the United States. Learn more at http://www.alisongoldberg.com.
ME: Welcome, Alison! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
ALISON: When I was in elementary school, Norman Bridwell visited my school. For months after, I drew fan art and even sent him a Clifford book that I made. I think this was the first time I understood that becoming a children’s author was an actual job that someone could do, so my love of his books was connected to that experience.
This is the Clifford book I sent to Norman Bridwell after he visited my school.
Other favorite picture book creators from childhood include Maurice Sendak, Leo Lionni, Margaret Wise Brown, and Ezra Jack Keats.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
ALISON: I wish I knew what close friends and collaborators I would find in the children’s writing community! This knowledge would have inspired me in those early days when it felt like a big risk to change fields, when I was solely focused on learning about writing picture books and novels, and when I did not know if any of my stories could possibly ever become books. Then I would have known that through all of the ups and downs in this journey there would be such kind and generous book creators to share it with.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
ALISON: All of the above. I like to write at my desk, while taking walks, at the library, in coffee shops, at the beach, in playgrounds, and on trains. The more I write, the more I realize writing isn’t something that’s easily shut off, so I’ve become comfortable with jotting down notes—whether on computer, phone, or on paper–wherever I am.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
ALISON: It depends on the project. Some picture book drafts arrive in a burst that last anywhere from an hour to a few days and at any time of day. In those instances, I just go with it (and sometimes forget to pull dinner together for my kids until the very last minute!).
But when it comes to revision—especially for longer projects like the middle grade novel I’m working on—I prefer more scheduled, daytime writing sessions and setting concrete goals.
Often what I choose to write about is connected to my desire to share stories with children that further social justice. I love writing about the topics that grab me and don’t let go—whether it’s the actions of inspiring activists, the art of creative individuals, or the journeys of fictional characters. When this happens I work on figuring out what makes the topic feel so meaningful and then how to introduce it to kids.
And sometimes the process works the other way around, like in the case of I Love You for Miles and Miles. My kids were the ones hooked on trucks and trains, and I needed to understand their magic!
ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.
ALISON: For writers: Don’t worry about the market. Or, understand the market, and then let go of its expectations. Write the books of your heart. If something grabs hold of you and won’t let go you’ll bring a passion to that subject that will come through on the page. Carrying that story to publication will likely take years, so make sure it’s truly a story you want to tell.
ME: Oh my goodness…that is awesome advice, Alison. We really have got to love our subject and story because when you get to the 45th revision, you want to still enjoy reading it! Thank you so much, dear friend! I know everyone is going to remember this, for sure!
CARRYING A STORY TO PUBLICATION WILL LIKELY TAKE YEARS, SO MAKE SURE IT’S TRULY A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL!
And to give you energy along the journey, why not try this delicious treat that doubles as a dinner for Alison and her family.
Recipe: Cinnamon French Toast & Bananas (for 2)
I am a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, but here I thought I’d share a quick and easy recipe for writers like me who sometimes get caught up in writing, forget about dinner, and need to pull food together in a flash. This treat doubles as supper! My kids eat a lot of French Toast ☺
4 slices of bread (I like to use sourdough, ciabatta, or challah, but any bread will work.)
1/3 cup of milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional)
Butter for the pan
Maple syrup, honey, jam, applesauce, or any other topping you like
Beat eggs with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a wide, shallow bowl. Dip the bread into the mixture until the bread is coated on both sides. Heat up a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter, and then cook the French Toast, flipping to cook both sides. Once done, serve with banana slices (or another fruit) and topping of choice.
Thank you again, Alison. I know I will definitely enjoy this…French Toast used to be one of my childhood favorites.
Dear friends, thank you for spending your precious time with us. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES.
And, with the holidays just around the corner, if you want to give a wonderful gift to your favorite authors, please remember to leave book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites. For more information or to purchase I LOVE YOUR FOR MILES AND MILES, please go to the author’s book page or indie-bound.
Have a safe and happy weekend.
And if you are in the writing mood, why not enter Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest!