Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, everyone! As you know, we all need and cherish our sleep. But what happens when something or someone interrupts it? The incredibly talented Robin Newman has imagined just that in her enchanting book, Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep (illustrated by Chris Ewald). Hildie, a tired witch, is frustrated after many fairy tale characters move into her neighborhood and won't keep quiet. What is a witch to do? Want to know more about Robin, Hildie, and the fun fairy tale creatures she encounters? Read on...
Q: Hi, Robin. Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I'm excited to have you and your adorable book: Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep featured today! Hildie is such a funny and sweet story. Can you tell us how you got the idea for this story?
A: Heather, many thanks for hosting us. Hildie and I are thrilled to be here!
The idea for Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep started with my neighbor’s wonderful witch weathervane. (Featured in this picture.)
I kept staring at it from my bedroom window, and kept thinking what if a witch had some real estate problems. (I’m sure this is what normal people think about when they see a witch weathervane. They think about a witch’s real estate issues.) And so began the journey for Hildie Bitterpickles. At first, it wasn’t just Hildie. There were three witches: Hildie, Marge, and Blanche. The three were house hunting and their real estate agent found them a cozy cottage at the tippy-top of a mountain. And sure enough, during the stormy season the house along with all its belongings would teeter and totter, and in spite of the chaos somehow the house would turn out to be home sweet home. But the story was dialogue heavy with three witches. So, I said goodbye to Marge and Blanche. Little by little, I turned my attention to the kind of neighbors a witch would have. Naturally, they would be noisy, inconsiderate, and of course, fairy tale characters. And what if these neighbors were so awful, that even a witch had to find a new home? It took about a year of rewrites, but the story was finally ready to send out and the rest is picture book history.
Q: We're dying to know: how did you pick the name Hildie Bitterpickles?
I truly wish I could remember the ah-ha moment, but it’s been a long while. Generally speaking, food seems to play a large part in all of my writing. And I love doing word mashups. So, it was probably a subliminal combo of the two.
Q: I love how you gently introduce other fairy tale characters without it distracting from Hildie's mission/overpowering the story. Do you have any tips for writers looking to reference other fairy tales in their manuscript(s).
A: This is a great question. I think the recipe for writing fractured fairy tales is figuring out which story elements you’re going to manipulate. I like to think of the story elements—whether it’s the characters, setting, plot, conflict, and even the resolution—as mix and match moveable puzzle pieces. In Hildie Bitterpickles, the fairy tale characters are the antagonists. In another one of my picture books, Who’s Writing This Story?, which comes out with Creston Books in 2024, the three little pigs and Big Bad Wolf take over the narrator’s story. The bottom line is you just have to have fun with your writing and see where the story takes you.
Q: When you were looking for a publishing house for HildieBitterpickes, what made Creston Books the perfect home?
A: Let me start off with saying that I LOVE being a Creston Books author. And I adore working with the brilliant editor and publisher of Creston, the amazing Marissa Moss. At the time, I was already working with Marissa on The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake. So, it was an absolute no-brainer to send the story to her.
Q: What makes Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep the perfect read for fall?
A: Aside from the witchy-Halloween element, it’s a great book for opening up a discussion about conflict resolution.
Thanks for such a wickedly-fun interview, Robin! We can't wait to read Hildie Bitterpickles!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: Hildie and I would be thrilled to give one lucky reader (U.S. residents only!), a spook-ta-cular (surprise) treat.
A surprise treat? How cool! Thanks so much!
Contest Details: To enter to win a special treat, comment below and let Robin know why you can't wait to check out her books! The winner will be announced on or about November 4th.
*Note: Giveaways will be shipped in the US only.
Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.
About Robin Newman:
Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. Author of the award-winning Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, as well as several picture books, she's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, National Writing Project's Writers Council, Bank Street Writers Lab, and PEN America, CYAB. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and two spoiled English Cocker Spaniels. She is represented by Liza Fleissig at the Liza Royce Agency. For more information, please visit www.robinnewmanbooks.com.
For more about Robin, check out the below links:
Free Teacher's Guide: http://www.robinnewmanbooks.com/Hildie.pdf
BONUS TREAT: Listen to Robin Read her book!!
To purchase Robin's books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.