Artie Bennett: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Tree and me

ARTIE BENNETT

Don’t you love to be around happy people? And when they are funny, it is just that much better, right? That’s why I’m dancing for joy that Artie is my guest today! From the first time I connected with him and reviewed one of his picture books, I knew this guy was a keeper. He’s super sweet and smart…and his books are laugh-out-loud hilarious!

He is the author of several picture books, each one loved by parents and children alike. And his website ‘about’ page will have you rolling on the floor. I’ve read every one of his books and have reviewed several of them…they are among my grandson’s favorites.

I promise you are all in for a treat with this interview…so buckle up, you are in for a wild ride!!!

Welcome, Artie! It is a pleasure having you here. I’ll get right down to the questions.

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

Jane Yolen – Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

JANEPhoto ©2014 Heidi E.Y. Stemple

JANE YOLEN

Anyone who is active in the kid lit community is familiar with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor. In fact, anyone who loves picture books has probably read several of the over 300 books she has written. Not only is she extremely talented and prolific, she is also one of the most generous and supportive mentors you will ever meet. You can imagine how thrilled I was when Jane agreed to share some of her thoughts here.

Thank you so much, Jane. You always have so much going on in your life, both personally and professionally, so we won’t waste any time. I know everyone is anxious to find out more about you.

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

JANE:

  1. Andrew Lang, whom I thought wrote the Color Fairy Books, all twelve of them, only I have recently (as in the last couple of years) come to understand that his wife did all the work. But as he was the well-known folklorist and jack of many genres–this was Edwardian times in England–the publisher used his name.2. Louisa May Alcott–everything she wrote but especially Little Women and Under the Lilacs.3. James Thurber, a toss up between Thirteen Clocks and The White Deer. (And if you make me make a choice, I will have to slit you from your guggle to your zatch.) It didn’t hurt that he was a friend of my dad’s.4. Also I adored my parents’ copy of the illustrated Rubiyat of Omar Kayyham, probably more for the pictures than the poetry, to be honest.5. As many Wizard of Oz books as I could get my hands on.6. And every single dog and horse book every written for kids!!!

 

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

JANE: That editors may like my work but it was a mistake to become best friends with them since in the end, they work for a publisher and have to side with where their pay check comes from. When I saw the second (I think it is) Godfather movie and the good fellas are taking one of the Don’s men out to shoot him, in the car one turns to him and says, “I like you, but this is just business.” I think of that when an editor gets overruled on buying one of my books or keeping it in print.

 

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

JANE: On my lap top wherever I am sitting at the time. Mostly either in bed first thing in the morning (5 a.m.-ish) or in the tv room since I can no longer (bad back) sit at a desk.
ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write when the muse speaks?

JANE: I work every day, usually about 4-6 hours. Though when things are going well, I may work for ten straight. But not all of that is fingers on the keys. A lot is thinking time, smelling the roses time, watching the birds, watching a tv show or movie. Or day dreaming.
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ME: Why do you write for children?

1. Why not?

2. Inside I am still a child. Outside I am an old woman. This split personality works well for me.

3. Children are the greatest audience, and the most honest. They don’t like a story, they start playing with a toy, throw the book across the room, walk away from the storyteller, fall asleep withouot apology. They like a book, it’s “Another chapter. . . please.”

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ME: Please feel free to share any tips that will help aspiring writers/illustrators.

My mantra is “Butt in the chair, heart on the page.” Also, “Stop talking about the book/story/poem/factual piece/lyrics/memoir you’re going to write when you find the time. There is no Time Fairy hiding bits of time for you to discover. The only way to write is. . .to sit down and do it. Everything else is a fantasy.” 

 

This has been fantastic, Jane! I love your down-to-earth, commonsense approach to writing. I especially appreciate your realistic take on time-management – yes, ‘there is no Time Fairy hiding bits of time for you to discover. The only way to write is…to sit down and do it’…that is the truth, Jane!

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And now Jane is sharing with us a VERY special recipe – it appears in How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies.

RECIPEPhoto ©2014 Heidi E.Y. Stemple

It looks like the bottom of the recipe photo got cut off – I believe the last lines are: Bake for 9-12 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove pan and cool a few minutes before taking the cookies off. Store in air-tight container.

Please join me in thanking Jane for taking the spotlight today! We are so fortunate to have generous mentors like her, who share their expertise and experience with us.

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To learn more about Jane and her incredible books, please visit her website: http://janeyolen.com/

Anne Marie Pace – Will Write For Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

ANNE MARIE PACE

I connected with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor when she was the Day #16 Guest Poster on Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. Anne Marie talked about hopes and dreams and deadlines and kids…four topics I can really relate to, so I was thrilled when she agreed to participate here.

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Despite the oft-quoted adage to write what you know, Anne Marie Pace has never been a bear, a vampire, a pig, or a Continue reading

Dianne de las Casas – Will Write for Cookies

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

DIANNE DE LAS CASAS

IN LIBRARY

I connected with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor because she shares my love for picture books. I had heard about Picture Book Month as I followed the blogs of writers, illustrators, educators and parents. A month devoted to picture books? What brilliant person had thought of that?

Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Her performances, dubbed “revved-up storytelling” are full of energetic audience participation. The author of 24 books, Dianne is the International Reading Association LEADER 2014 Poet Laureate, and the 2014 recipient of the Ann Martin Book Mark award. Her children’s titles include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The Little “Read” Hen, The House That Santa Built, and Cinderellaphant.

When Dianne agreed to participate and share her thoughts with us, I was thrilled. There are lots of golden nuggets of inspiration and information that you will take away from this interview…and wait till you see her cookie recipe! So, without further ado…here’s Dianne! Continue reading

Emma Walton Hamilton – Will Write for Cookies

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON

6month4

We are so very lucky! Our guest today is one of those rare people who has attained success and then is anxious to reach out and generously help mentor others.

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author, editor and educator, and the host of the Children’s Book Hub. She has co-authored 20 children’s books with her mother, Julie Andrews, including THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS (#1 NY Times bestseller), JULIE ANDREWS’ COLLECTION OF POEMS, SONGS AND LULLABIES (illustrated by James McMullan) and the DUMPY THE DUMP TRUCK series of picture books and board books and her own award-winning book, RAISING BOOKWORMS.

She offers unique resources for children’s book authors, including editorial services, workshops and courses and an online writers salon. Emma has graciously given her time and expertise to the 12×12 community with her query critique sessions…she definitely knows how to make your query sing. I’m thrilled to have her join us here.

Thank you so much for participating, Emma. I know everyone is excited to greet you!

 

We talk about how important books are for young kids. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

So many! And this list will date me, of course… but, in no particular order:

Dr. Seuss, Marguerite Henry, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, Mary Norton, Beverly Cleary, E.B. White, A.A. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Gerald Durrell, Madeleine L’Engle.

Other books I loved – The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, Watership Down, The Black Stallion, Pippi Longstocking, the Nancy Drew books and, probably my all time favorite, The Phantom Tollbooth.  That was my rainy-day book, and it taught me how delicious – and powerful – words could be.

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

How hard it is to do well – and how important it is to assess (and re-assess!) every single word for its right to exist on the page.  Writing for children and young adults is so much harder than it seems.  We have to be masters of economy and action. The kinds of indulgences one can get away with in adult fiction (lots of exposition, for instance) can kill a children’s book. Kids are much Continue reading

Singaporean author David Seow – Will Write for Cookies

 

WOW! DO I HAVE A TREAT (IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE) FOR YOU TODAY!

When I got the opportunity to travel half-way around the world to attend the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content/SCBWI Conference, I was excited, and somewhat anxious. What would I find there? How would it be? Where would I stay? When would I ever get back? Who would I meet?

Those questions were soon answered…all very positively. I found a beautiful country, with amazing facilities, an awesome hotel and had no problem getting back (although I didn’t want to leave). I met the most incredible people – and today, on WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES, I’m honored to introduce one of Singapore’s leading picture book authors, DAVID SEOW.

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That is David on the left and Enrico Sallustio, one of the illustrators he works with, on the right…and lucky me behind them).

I asked David five questions – here are his answers:

WHO WERE MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD AUTHORS

 

When I was little, my favorite authors were Eric Carle Jean de Brunhoff, Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren and Oscar Wilde.

 

 

WHAT I KNOW NOW

 

I wish I had known a lot more than I did when I first embarked on this crazy adventure in children’s publishing.  Like most first-time authors I was relatively idealistic about writing and publishing. I have to admit that it was a dream to have my first book published. After 15 years I’m a bit wiser and a lot less idealistic. It’s a tough industry and you’ve got to be prepared to handle disappointment and rejection on a regular basis.

david seow book signing

Yes, that’s right…Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking with David and Continue reading