Pie-of-the-month-club – Andrea Beaty

August 30th, 2010
I have a special treat for you today — Andrea Beaty, one of my favorite funny ladies!  Andrea and I share the same agent, the illustrious Barry Goldblatt, and got acquainted at one of Barry’s famous client retreats, where I quickly learned that she loves to laugh as much as I do.  Andrea is the author of a number of wonderful books for young readers, and also co-hosts the blog “Three Silly Chicks” with Julia Durango and Carolyn Crimi, both seriously silly chicks in their own right.

Andrea Beaty

So Andrea, what have you been cooking up for readers?  Can you tell us about your new book, and how it came about?
My most recent book is graphic novel/novel hybrid called ATTACK OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES. It chronicles the invasion of three enormous alien rabbits known as the Fierce, Large, Ugly and Ferocious Furballs (FLUFFS). When a flaming meteor hits their marshmallow planet, they hop a rocket to Earth. The FLUFFS land at the decrepit Camp Whatsitooya on the aromatic shores of Lake Whatsosmelly. The FLUFFS set out to conquer the world and use its children as a source of energy but meet their match in a set of B-movie savvy twins, Joules and Kevin Rockman.
The amazing Dan Santat illustrates the mayhem. He is seriously funny!  I think that this book is ideal for that 3rd-6th grade kid (boys and girls) who love some silly!

How about your favorite pie-in-the-sky moment as a writer?  Have you ever had one of those “I never dreamed it would really happen to me” moments that was special to you?

This crazy author journey always surprises me, so I have pie-in-the-sky moments all the time. Picking one would be like picking one piece of pie!  Nobody can have just one.  Oh, wait.  That’s potato chips.  Anyhow, here is a smattering of my favorite moments:

  • Getting the call that an editor wanted to publish my first book, WHEN GIANTS COME TO PLAY. I was camping in Banff and had to drive up to a hill to get a phone signal. When I got the news, my kids and I did a screamy-happy dance which made the hikers think we were being attacked by bears!  I don’t think getting attacked by a bear would be THAT exciting!
  • Standing in front of 150 4th graders and making them all snort with laughter at the same time. That is a trip!
  • Having dinner with amazingly talented authors, illustrators, and editors. (And not being asked to leave.)  I’m such a fan girl!
  • Every time I get a copy of one of my brand-new books, I crack the book open and it makes that crazy little new book noise. It makes my heart sing every time!

Wow.  That’s a lot of pie-in-the-sky.  Got milk?

There’s no such thing as too much pie-in-the-sky, Andrea.   But what about humble pie — have you ever been served a heaping slice of that during your career?

Oh yeah. It was at a signing in which I was sharing a table with a NY Times best-selling author. The table was as big as a dinner plate and his line was endless. Mine was non-existent. It was mortifying, but the other author was so gracious and funny I waited to commit hara-kiri until later…

Now let’s REALLY talk pie.  What’s your favorite kind?  Do you have a favorite pie memory?  How about the recipe you’re sharing – can you give us a little background on it?

I was raised in southern Illinois a couple of miles from Rend Lake. There has been a café there forever named Burton’s, and its specialty is White Pie. This is a cream custard kind of pie topped with whipped cream and pecans. For about a million years, it was made by a wonderful lady named Freda Webb, a true magician with pie dough. I should say that some people do not love White Pie, but that is okay. That just means more for me and my brothers and sisters. It is our “must have” treat when we go back home. And sometimes, we make it when we can’t go home but truly need to. It is our Wayback Machine. Here’s a link telling about its history.  This is a pie that takes a little practice to get right.

WHITE PIE

Pastry for single-crust pie
2 egg whites
Whipped cream
Chopped pecans

Filling:

¾ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
½ c. flour
1 T. cornstarch
1T. butter
2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla

Cook filling ingredients together, stirring constantly until thick. Beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Pour hot filling over beaten egg whites and fold in. Pour into cooked pie shell. When cool, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill 2 hours.

I’m a big fan of Midwest recipes — can’t wait to give this a whirl!  Thanks for stopping by, Andrea.

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As part of an ongoing celebration for a pair of pie-related books that I have coming out soon (“Babyberry Pie” and “Pies & Prejudice” – learn more here), I started a pie-of-the-month club to showcase new books by friends and colleagues. To read other selections on the “pie-of-the-month club” menu, check out my interviews with Jane Kurtz, Toni Buzzeo, Lisa Schroeder, Jennifer Ward, Susan Blackaby, Jennifer Jacobson, Frederic Hunter, Kimberley Griffiths Little, and Stephanie Burgis.  Be sure and drop by again soon, because throughout 2010 I’ll be serving up more stellar books by some of my favorite authors and illustrators.

Oh, and pie is on the menu, too, of course.   Pie is ALWAYS on the menu here on my blog.  Enjoy!

Operation Secret Puppy

August 26th, 2010

It’s not often that I manage to hoodwink my husband.

I do not have a poker face.  I have a “boy oh boy do I have a secret I betcha can’t guess what it is!” kind of face.  Somehow, though, last week I managed to pull it off.

My husband with his "surprise" puppy

For a while now, we’ve been discussing the possibility of getting another dog — a sibling for Bonnie, our Shetland Sheepdog.  My husband loves tri-color Shelties, and said that if we were ever to get another dog, that’s the one that would win his vote.  He liked the idea of having two little bookends — one with a sable coat, one with a tri-color coat.  But in the end we pretty much tabled the whole idea, and decided to revisit it after our own “puppies” graduated from college.  Besides, we thought, how could we possibly ever find a dog as wonderful as our beloved Bonnie?

My Bonnie Valentine

Bonnie was a surprise present from my husband five years ago.  Sheltie purists might not appove of her one-ear-up-one-ear-down look (show dogs of this breed sport folded ears), but we think it gives her personality and sass and wouldn’t change it for the world.  In fact, we’re convinced Bonnie is an angel in a fur suit.  She keeps me company while I write, takes me on walks when I need a break, and lights up our home life in ways none of us could ever have imagined.  We adore her.

So here we were, content with our “only” dog, when lo and behold what should appear on Facebook a few weeks ago but baby pictures — and not just any baby pictures, but charming shots of two tri-color pups from Kensil’s Shelties. Sylvia and David Calderwood raised Bonnie, and all their dogs are amazingly beautiful and smart, with sweet temperaments. These pups were EXACTLY the kind we WOULD have been looking for, IF we were looking for another puppy.  Which we WEREN’T, remember?

Well.

Last week, egged on by my 19-year-old son, I decided to surprise my husband (turnabout being fair play and all that), and Billie came to join our family.  The look on Steve’s face was worth every second I’d spent agonizing over whether I had made the right decision.  Wouldn’t you have melted, too?

Billie Holliday Frederick

As for Bonnie, she took one look at her new “little sister” and tore around the yard for several minutes doing happy laps, convinced we had brought home her very own pet.   She’s since taken Billie under her wing, showing her the ropes…

Bonnie & Billie exploring the backyard

and sharing her toys…

"May I please play with this now?"

"Thank you!"

and even sharing her favorite bed (along with another toy).

Billie catching some zzz's

Of course, being a big sister does have some perks.   Twice as many dogs means twice as many new toys, after all!

Bonnie with one of Billie's toys

And the winner is…

August 26th, 2010

Billie, our new puppy, sinks her teeth into the winning name

SOPHIA! Who says she’s most like Emma.  And KALYN wins a copy, too, for dreaming up this fun character quiz!

You’ll each be receiving an email from me shortly with instructions on how to collect your prize.

Many thanks to all the rest of you who entered the giveaway contest here and on Facebook — only 19 more days until Pies & Prejudice hits the bookstores!  (If you just can’t wait and need a sneak preview, click here to read the first chapter…)


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