Welcome to the fifth installment of my bloggy interview show, Waffles with Writers, where I chat with a working writer over a nice, waffle-centric meal.
Today’s guest is the lovely and talented Robin Newman. Her first book, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake (featuring intrepid mouse detectives Wilcox and Griswold) hit shelves last year to rave reviews and brisk sales. Her new (and similarly lauded) book, Hilde Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, is out now.
Robin also, apparently, likes hats.
Hi, Robin! Come on in. I just finished making breakfast. What do you like on your waffles?
Aside from the kitchen sink, Nutella. Everything is better with Nutella — pasta, pizza, artichokes, etc. you name it. At one point, I believe it was even being marketed as a breakfast health food. So one can eat Nutella guilt free!
Fine. Just stop saying Nutella. Also you can take off your comical hat now.
I don’t know what your issue is – among many, many other issues, I might add – with hats. I think it’s important to be one with you characters. Don’t you feel that way? I have photographic evidence that you do…
Where did you –
Listen, what I wear in the privacy of my home is none of your business!
Let’s get started. In addition to being a prolific children’s book writer, you’re also a lawyer. Which fictional movie lawyer would you consider to be your soulmate?
What an interesting question! It would be the feisty, bulldog of an attorney, Amanda Bonner, hands down. In the movie, Adam’s Rib, Katherine Hepburn (Amanda Bonner) and Spencer Tracy (Adam Bonner) play a happily married couple, who end up as opposing counsel in a highly controversial case. My husband is also an attorney, and I could see the two of us on opposite sides of a case — which I would, of course, win.
Wilcox and Griswold are modeled after the greatest TV cops of all time: Dragnet’s Joe Friday and Frank Smith. What drew you to these characters as a source of inspiration?
While I was writing Wilcox and Griswold, my critique group kept telling me that my characters needed to be more detective-y. They needed that deadpan monologue of “give me the facts and just the facts.” As a result, I spent a lot of time watching cop shows—not just Dragnet, although as you can tell, I am a huge fan of the show.
Which TV cop would be the worst inspiration for a children’s book?
I guess it would be the bumbling, corrupt Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard.
Part of the reason I like Wilcox and Griswold is because I’m a big fan of rodents. Your dog, on the other hand, is not. Do you plan to send her to obedience school so you can get a few mice as pets?
I think there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. My darling, Madeleine, doesn’t hate mice. Au contraire mon frère, she loves them to death! Nothing would make her happier than playing with a mouse, squirrel, or rabbit. But for some odd reason, they don’t seem to stick around when she’s in the neighborhood. Perhaps it’s the rodents who could benefit from a class on etiquette.
I beg your pardon! Rodents have perfect etiquette. Even Pizza Rat took dainty little bites.
Your new book, Hilde Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, is about a young witch who is forced to cope with a bunch of noisy fairy tale neighbors. Which fairy tale characters would you want to live next door to?
This is an easy one. I’ve been a bit obsessed with the big bad wolf and the three little pigs for as long as I can remember. I would love to have them as neighbors. We could grab cappuccinos and discuss how I could incorporate them into one of my stories. We could do a spin class together at the gym. Hey, I wonder if they do babysitting.
As a children’s book writer, I’m sure you peruse the shelves at Barnes and Noble to see what else is out there. Which picture book dazzled you to the point where you heard yourself say, “I wish I had written that!”
There are many, many books I wish I had written, but if I had to narrow it down to a recent selection, I would have to say, Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. Hysterical.
For the past several years, you’ve used your blog to write open letters to Santa Claus. Has he given you what you wanted? What’s still on your Christmas list?
Santa has been very generous with me over the last few years. But like I always say to my husband, there’s room for improvement. This past Christmas I asked Santa for 10 publishing contracts, and he said I was asking for too many. Can you believe that? You don’t think that’s too many, do you?
Not at all.
It’s a nice even number. It’s not like I was greedy and asking for 100 contracts, although that too is a very nice even number. I also always ask him to help my friends find agents, get them publishing contracts, and I do my annual plug for world peace and an end to hunger, poverty, and disease. He seems to be working on all of those items. Maybe I should write him now to beat the end of the year letter rush?
Maybe I should put in a letter to Santa, too. Thanks again for visiting, Robin! Don’t forget your hat.
Mike, thanks for the invite and the reminder about my hat. By the way, does your bonnet come in different colors?
No. Only white. White makes me feel pretty.
Do you want to win a free copy of Hilde Bitterpickes Needs Her Sleep?
Of course you do.
Leave a comment before Monday, February 22, and you’ll be entered in the drawing! The winner will be announced on Tuesday, February 23.
Good luck and get commenting!
72 Replies to “Waffles With Writers: Robin Newman (And A Giveaway!)”
Wow, she’s a writer AND a lawyer? I still need to find a stable job in addition to my writing… But the book sounds really fun!
Yep! Robin wears many hats (so to speak).
How wonderful! Two of my favorite folks chatting over waffles. 🙂
I can attest that kids LOVE Wilcox & Griswold – and Robin! My library classes had more fun during her visit & our many read-alouds.
Thanks, Leslie! 🙂 Would love to do another visit. (I’ll even wear my Hildie pjs and hat for the occasion.)
Aw! Aren’t you nice!
My son, an avid Dragnet fan, also adores Wilcox and Griswold. He eagerly awaits the 2017 sequel.
Please – a warning to those sipping coffee while reading!
“Michael Josepha Hale” #WINNING #ALLTHEINTERNETS!
# = waffle BTW
I do look good in an old-timey dress, don’t I?
That said, I prefer to be remembered for my stint in the American Ballet Theatre: http://vanessa-chapman.com/2013/10/29/mike-and-vanessa-give-thanks-with-pumpkin-pie-and-ballet-tights/
^^ Agree! Spit take. When will you two be going on the road?
Hildie looks so fun. Thanks for sharing.
If I did go on the road with Robin, I would, of course, wear a more flattering dress.
Reblogged this on and commented:
Please hop on over to Mike Allegra’s AWESOME blog, “Hey Look! A Writer Fellow,” where he’s serving up homemade waffles, an interview with yours truly, and a giveaway!
Mike, Wilcox, Griswold, Hildie, and I had a blast stopping by your blog. Many thanks! 🙂
You’re very welcome! I think you left a few hats behind, though.
Excellent interview. Very funny, you two. Great luck with your books, Robin 🙂
Thank you, my friend.
Can you please wear that outfit when you come for a vacation to the lodge?? 😀
Only if I visit in the summer. That’s my swimsuit.
Really enjoyed your blog. Also have a copy of Hilde on order. I didn’t know that Maddie didn’t get along with rabbits. She told me they were delicious, sort of like chicken.
Thanks, Jon! Maddy hasn’t met a rabbit she didn’t like. And she likes them fricasseed, sautéed, grilled, and broiled. 🙂
This conversation is getting a little too Fatal Attraction for my taste.
Yuz two take yer rabbit hatin’ somewheres else!
Fun interview! And I agree–10 publishing contracts is certainly not too much to ask for. Santa should know better.
Thanks, Carrie! Maybe I should have tried 9 contracts, but 10 is such a nice even number. 🙂
I’d settle for five. Or two. One’s good also.
Ha, true. One would be enough.
Ha! Thank you, Mike, this was a fun read! Robin, Ten would be a grand number to start … =) Can’t wait to get a signed copy of Hildy for myself =)
Thanks, Kim! I like the idea of starting with 10 and working my way up. Why settle? 🙂
You two sound like Jory John and Mac Barnett. Maybe you should write a book together and go on the road. If you do, will you come to our school?
Thanks, Jilianne! Would love to visit your school. (We’re also available for birthday parties, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. 🙂 )
You would pay travel and lodging expenses, yes?
Right now, our third bedroom is filled with 50 boxes of books, all waiting for the built-in bookshelves in our new house. So you’ll have to wait until the remodel is complete. And as far as travel is concerned, I was thinking you’d drive straight through, so gas would be the only expense, too. You and Robin like hot dogs, right? I could splurge on some fancy mustard.
I’m gonna respectfully pass.
This is the best interview I’ve read in a while — it fit well with Robin’s great sense of humor! Loved Robin’s Hat and mustache and Mike Hale! And Robin, you are right in asking Santa for 100 contracts. Our thoughts are pretty powerful, so if you put it out there you are bound to have more contracts coming your way.
Thanks, Pat! I hope I don’t end up with 10 contracts for coal. 🙂
Just so you have the MS to fill the order! 🙂
*thinking* Contracts. Contracts! CONTRACTS!
The grownup in my says thanks so much for the great interview and opportunity to win a copy of the best named pb ever. The kid in me is screaming, “ME, ME, PICK ME!!!! I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WOULD LOVE TO WIN THIS BOOK!!!!
I’m exactly the same way. When This Kid Reviews Books had a giveaway I pretty much yelled “GIMMIE IT!” in the comments.
I won, by the way. So my method works.
Lol congrats! 🙂
Actually Nutella is its own food group.
A tasty, tasty food group, yes.
The price of hazelnuts has skyrocketed over the past six months because of a bad crop. Get ready to spend more for your Nutella. And I’m not kidding. Remember when they tried to pass off Nutella as something other than chocolate frosting?
I’m sorry…what was the question?
Pizza Rat is awesome. I was happy to see that New York City still has the power to repulse. Respect NYC!
On a serious note…do you know who Ed Young is? His illustrations are great. Cats are Cats is a bit of a masterpiece.
I had never heard of Ed Young, but I see a mouse silhouette on the masthead of his website, so I like him.
Pizza Rat is not repulsive in my view. He is, I think, is a symbol of America’s Can-Do Spirit.
Great interview! Almost as good as one of my interviews 😉 Over here in the UK they still try and suggest that Nutella is a healthy breakfast choice on the ads, they call it “The hazelnut spread” as if it’s more hazelnut than anything else! I’m not sure you fully followed my guidance here on running blog giveaway Mike, but no matter, I’m still up for entering! 🙂
I’m glad you looked past your concerns to try and win something. Good luck!
I’d love to win and donate the copy to #MARCHingBookstoKids of incarcerated parents. Robin has already been so kind as to donate copies of her first book. Thanks for the funny, insightful interview!
That sounds like a wonderful program! I’m gonna have to look into this.
Nice to meet you Robin and I love your dog, Madeleine. I’m not a big fan of rodents though. I would love to win your book.
I like Dragnet and would enjoy characters modeled after them. I enjoyed the interview. I would have enjoyed the waffles if I had gotten any. 😦
Aw, Jude! I’ll set out a plate for you!
Captain Mal Reynold wore a floral bonnet, just sayin’. I love the names for the characters. Have either of you read the old Freddy the Pig books? SO brilliant.
I had to Google Images Mal Reynold in Bonnet. And I hafta say, he pulls it off.
And I am NOT familiar with Freddie The Pig… But I will be!
A good writer always needs a good hat and a jar of nutella.
As long as the hat isn’t full of Nutella, I agree.
That does seem less than comfortable, but might do wonders for your hair.
Perhaps. If you had gum in it.
You two are ridiculous! I wondered who the pair was at the diner wearing ridiculous hats!! 🙂
Congratulations on the TWO new books Robin!
I don’t really have a hat head, but Robin hats it up for the both of us.
Thanks, Lauri! Hope we can catch up at the NJ SCBWI annual conference. 🙂
Oh my. A delightful interview. Love the book cover too.
What’s behind that cover kicks butt, too.
This interview was great and Robin is a hoot! BTW, you look striking in your bonnet!
Oh, thank you! *blushes*
That is an awesome interview! I was laughing the whole time! 😀
Glad you liked it, Kid! You’re quite the interviewer yourself.
You had me at the bonnet. This is proof that real writers wear bonnets. I love your Waffles with Writers interviews, Writer Fellow. You two need to take this show on the road, and mad props to Robin for her book. That is exciting.
I never noticed the writer/bonnet correlation before, but you’re right. Hemmingway, for one, would never sit behind a typewriter without his mob cap.
I think you have outdone him with the Sarah Hale bonnet. It is masterful. Especially with the slightly wicked grin. You crack me up, Mike!
How’d I miss this??? Darn darn darn. Must be because I’m on vacation. On an island. That’s warm and sunny. But no excuses! Now I’ll just have to go on Amazon and buy the book. Sounds fun and feisty and a perfect read for my grandkids. Loved the interview. Shout out hello to Robin.
Many thanks! Hope your grandkids enjoy the book. 🙂
Entertaining! Love your inquiring mind. Still laughing.
Thanks, Sue! 🙂
We LOVE The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake! My son read it to me several times :).