My first podcast, Brain Burps About Books answers tons of questions. You can subscribe to it by going here. If you want to know more about craft, listen to my second podcast, Writing for Children by subscribing here. For that show I also have transcripts in the show notes that also have lot of links to resources and places to submit your writing. You can go here to check that out.
I write from 9-5 every day, and never look up. Before I make dinner, I clean the house quickly and easily with my children helping me without complaint.
Yeah, right. You didn’t actually believe that, did you? I do try to keep it to regular work hours but if I’m at a difficult part of a manuscript, I can easily fill my day doing PR, email, school visit prep, etc. On the other hand, if I’m cranking on a story, the house will be a wreck and my kids will have mac and cheese until their innards are glued together and they’re begging me to feed them something green (and they are not referring to the foods molding in the fridge due to the fact that I haven’t had time to shop or clean out the refrigerator).
In 2015 my husband Jerry and I took over the almost 50-year-old Institute of Children’s Literature and its sister school, Institute For Writers (formerly Long Ridge Writers Group). Check it out here!
Every six months or so I try to clean up. I keep it neat for a while, but when I’m really zooming on a project, the fur flies and I’ll look up and it looks like a hurricane hit.
What I’m saving up for is a self-cleaning studio.
I don’t know. (This was asked at a large assembly by a curious, and apparently, musical first grader. I was not talking about musical instruments at the time.)
Being over our detached garage, the best part is it’s far enough away from the house to have privacy and quiet, but close enough to get snacks.
The worst feature is that I’m close enough to the house to get snacks. Plus, I have no walls so there is no place to hang stuff! That is, the walls only go up about 2.5 feet, then angle up to a point because that’s the roof.
Duh! what would YOU wear if you were alone in YOUR studio all day long?
No, actually I like working out, showering, then dressing in the morning to get me going for the day.
That was last week. I was motivated to get dressed last week. Today I am actually wearing pjs. For real. Pink flannel ones with little snowmen on them. Don’t tell anyone.
Both! On the subject of working for oneself and getting distracted, people always say to me, “Wow, you must be so disciplined!” I’d love to claim to be that righteous, but it’s more that I am compelled to work, so it really doesn’t take much discipline. Now, if someone said I had to work on, say, math all day, THAT would take some discipline.
I was just listening to Richard Thompson. Now I’m onto John Kale. I stream WFUV a lot. When I really need to concentrate, that is, when I’m writing – books, or email or articles or any other kind of writing – I don’t listen to music, as I need to hear the words in my head and music is an interactive thing for me. I don’t like it as background because I’m too involved in it. However, when I’m doing art or brain-free work, it’s on 24/7.
I was never a dog person. In 2007 we rescued a Havanese whom we named Mango. I was stupid in love with that dog. He died suddenly November 2016. We got a new puppy in spring of 2017 and named him Ollie. As Mango used to hang out in my studio, now Ollie comes with me every day, too.
Oddest and most unexpected are two very different things so I’ll pick three things and you can decide which is odd and which you didn’t expect.
Item #1: A framed antique postcard I got while working on a Japanese commercial in 1980 which starred the late movie star, Paul Newman. He was supposed to be pretending to write on the postcards. They belonged to me, so after the shoot I went and collected them. It wasn’t until later I saw he’d actually written a note on it, to his wife, Joanne Woodward.
Item #2: Three antique children’s alphabet blocks: one ‘S’ and two ‘H’s. They were a gift from my first editor on I Hate To Go To Bed! Get it? The letters spell “SHH.”
Item #3: A heavy plastic dentist’s model of a mouth – just the gums and some very disgusting teeth. There’s a metal hinge that allows the mouth to open and close. Someone from a dental school sent it to me after I published Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job.
Q: What were your favorite books growing up?
A: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Magic Finger, Harriet the Spy, Caps for Sale, The Story About Ping, Just-So Stories, An All-of-a-Kind Family, Hello Elephant … I could name a million!
I never decided I wanted to be an author – but I’ve always been a writer. I kept a journal growing up until I was in my 30’s. It never occurred to me that I could ever be a published author. I never met an author until I was an adult so I never thought of it as a career choice. Authors were ethereal to me. When I realized I could make a career of this thing I’d been doing since my childhood, it seemed too good to be true. Creating is a physical necessity for me, just as eating food, or sleeping is. When I don’t create, whether it’s writing or artor food or movies or podcasts, I get very cranky.
Yes, my name is really Katie Davis, though I was born Kate Ilenna Freedman.
None of your beeswax but older than I think I should be.
January 4, and I don’t believe in that grownup “oh, no presents for me” stuff.
Only kidding. No one ever asked me that.
You may use my art for stamps to create handcrafted items for sale, but ONLY if you hand stamp the images and your products are not mechanically produced. The stamp may only be used to create products sold in craft fares and markets and not over the Internet or in permanent shops.
You must include the following on all crafts produced with my art:
Artwork ©Katie Davis, www.katiedavis.com
If you use my art on cards, please include the following on each card:
Image used with permission
Children’s Book Author/Illustrator
Visit www.katiedavis.com for more art
If you create and sell over 25 items with the same image, you need to contact me to arrange a licensing deal in order to pay me for the art you are using.
Please take note: My policies are not designed to inhibit the creative output of crafters and in fact help protect the hand stamping business, by ensuring that stampers who want to sell their hand crafted products can do so without the fear of competing with mass produced versions of the same image.
“…thank you for all you contributed to our recent Storybook Gala….for your humorous and inspiring keynote during the program…you gave of yourself so graciously and we are most grateful.”
“Good morning. I am writing to say thank you for coming to our AAUW luncheon and for sharing your writing adventures. You … had everyone’s undivided attention. Afterwards I heard wonderful comments on how engaging your talk was and how you tied in the AAUW theme Breaking Barriers. Your mention of meeting a scholarship winner was great. Good luck.”
“Successful authors know that it takes more than a good book to grab an audience. In today’s social media arena, authors and illustrators have to create a buzz for their books and a name for themselves. In a recent workshop at The Highlights Foundation, Author Katie Davis taught us how to do just that. Katie’s appearance was for Life in the Spotlight with Peter Jacobi. This workshop was designed to offer both published and beginning writers useful tips and strategies for promoting themselves and their books. Katie connected with the group on a very difficult subject: using Twitter and all kinds of social media for self-promotion. Her presentation was engaging, fast-paced, and full of humor and encouragement. Carol P. Saucier, an attendee, summed up Katie’s presentation well, “She made a complex subject easy to understand. Useful information and she is fun, too!” Katie’s knowledge of social marketing and branding is astounding and, as Carol mentioned, her enthuses for the topic made learning fun. We look forward to having Katie on our faculty again and again.”
“Each year the AAUW has a book author luncheon and the proceeds from the luncheon fund a scholarship for a young woman. This year our luncheon was held on November 5,2011 at the Clinton Country Club. We had three authors speaking: Diane Smith, Carlos Eire and author Katie Davis. All of the authors were fabulous. Katie spoke last and produced a video presentation which was superb! She was so enthusiastic and displayed a great sense of humor during the presentation. A quiet room turned into a lot of laughter. I would highly recommend Katie for future speaking engagements.”
“Author Katie Davis was an outstanding keynote speaker at this year’s Connecticut Writing Project’s Annual Student Writers Award Ceremony. She demystified the notion of “writer as genius” through engaging personal anecdotes, as well as projected artwork, photographs, and film. She also systematically debunked common myths associated with the writing life. The young writers present not only received kudos and awards, they were encouraged by a wonderful writer and human being to keep at it (even when there are no awards). Katie Davis’s warm, self-deprecating sense of humor invited students to engage in writing as play…at any age. Thanks Katie Davis and CWP for a truly inspiring evening celebrating student writers!”
“Katie, it was wonderful to hear you and Hope at the NAEYC 2011 Conference. I can’t believe how behind I actually am concerning technology. My first successful us of a QR Code is here on this site! And I love the idea of book trailers… BTW my next comment stop will be on Little Chicken’s Big Day book trailer. I can’t believe there isn’t already one comment there. Thanks again for allowing me to continue learning and loving while I do it.”
“Hi Katie–thanks for the hugely helpful workshop today. You did a great job explaining a lot of information to a group of people at very different levels of tech-saviness!”
“I had a great time at Katie’s workshop at the School Library Media Specialists SE NY Spring Symposium. The topics were relevant and exciting (QR codes – wow!). It was a pleasure to see her book and to learn how she incorporates technology into her work as an author and illustrator – it was truly inspiring. I would love to have Katie as a guest speaker at my school!”
“I loved talking to you during our Skype this week at NCCAT. I am still working on my book about Kindergarteners taking over the school and the chaos that follows. I do have a voice of reason little K’r that is rather funny I think you would like. Thank you for your advice. You rock!”
I love Love LOVE skyping with you! Thanks for all the advice for us North Carolina teachers.
I REALLY enjoyed your skype visit today as well as your books, which are perfect for my 3-4 year-old students with disabilities. I will definately keep up with your website, which has fantastic info. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! If I can figure out twitter I will write something
“I’m usually a bit ‘ho-hum’ when it comes to author visits but (Katie was) one to change my mind! (She) connects in a very positive way to kindergarteners. (She also knew how to efficiently manage behavior and I do have a few challenges this year!) I love how (Katie) ‘thinks out loud’ when talking about imagination – very powerful.” Katie gave us…the best ever writing session, and I truly mean it!”
“The kids laughed and enjoyed her creative funny characters. We’ll use them to help develop topics for writing after the visit.”
“Great discussion of where authors get their ideas!”
“I just wanted to thank you for your great visits with our kindergarten classes today. It is so clear how well you understand kindergarten and engage them in your presentation. They had a fabulous time. Kindergarten has field day next week and they are all going to wear their Little Chicken tattoos. I can’t wait to get some pictures! The kindergarten teachers were most impressed as well. If possible, I would like to schedule something again in the fall with our new group of kindergarteners. Have a great day!”
“Katie met with our K-2 students in their classrooms and they LOVED her! Her presentations were lively, animated and fun. The teachers were all thrileld and impressed with how Katie led the students through the narrative and illustrating process. It was a perfect complement to their classroom approach and lessons.”
“Hi, I was lucky enough to be in my daughters K classroom the day we skyped with you at Prospect Valley in Wheat Ridge, CO. Thanks!”
“Katie Davis appeared at King recently in conjunction with our Lower School Book Fair. She is a dynamic speaker who relates well to children. Most impressive was the drawing technique that Katie demonstrated. Her method of turning photographs into fictional characters was fascinating, and really got students interested in trying her method.”
“Katie was very well prepared and completely at ease to speak in front of such a large crowd of approximately 200 children. Her performance was interactive and fun. The students enjoyed learning about Katie’s life and how she came to writing. They enjoyed watching her draw and recognized how much hard work goes into each of her books. All in all, I can whole heartedly recommend Katie Davis for a school or library visit, be it in a small or a large setting: Katie will delight them all!”
“You were fabulous and we loved having you at the Savannah Children’s Book Festival. You were great – so easy to work with. Not only that, you were a lot of fun…we enjoyed you immensely. Apparently, so did the crowds – your tent was full for both your sessions – nice work.”
“As an intermediate teacher in a very high-performing school district, it was quite obvious to me that my students,many of whom are identified as gifted and talented, benefited greatly from Katie Davis’ wonderful and exuberant writing and illustrating workshops. My students said: “Mrs. Davis helped me to improve the way I plan for writing a story”; “She made it very easy to brainstorm ideas before writing a story”; “She helped me to realize that it takes a long time to write a book, and adding detail is something that you need to do a lot. It’s an important priority in writing”; “I was never a very good cartoonist or illustrator, but now, since she showed us how to copy photos and make them into cartoons, it’s much easier to illustrate my stories.” Katie’s workshops provide students the opportunity to see themselves as capable writers, which is the primary goal of writing educators. Therefore, I wholly recommend Katie’s wonderful workshop, and hope that you allow your students the opportunity to strive for a goal within their reach, which these workshops do, indeed, provide.”
“Katie Davis had these kids eating out of her hands. Such talented hands! This may be the most entertaining author we’ve ever had. Katie is not only a talented artist, but she is a special performer who knows how to work a crowd. Without missing a beat, she quieted a show-off, raised up a tired child, and made sure every eye was on her. These students will remember this author/illustrator for years to come.”