Featuring Kate Hannigan’s middle grade novel, Cupcake Cousins and a giveaway!

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Today I am pleased to welcome another debut author, Kate Hannigan, whose middle grade book, Cupcake Cousins, will be released by Disney-Hyperion in May. You can win a copy of this delightful book by leaving a comment (inside the US only) and if you share with social media of your choice your name will be entered again.  

Cupcake Cousins  tells the story of almost-10-year-old cousins Willow and Delia, who have been asked to be flower girls in their aunt’s upcoming wedding. But they’d much rather be “flour girls,” wearing white aprons and whipping up delicious treats for the wedding rather than putting on awful pink dresses. When disaster strikes the wedding cake, can Willow and Delia’s cooking skills save the day?

In keeping with the theme of debut author feature blogs, Kate has chosen the following who-what-where-when-why questions to address:

Who do you think you are?

This is an evolving thing. I know who I’ve been: newspaper gal, frantic new mom, fearful domestic goddess, health-food nut. I was once described as Tigger, which I found hugely flattering! Though I’ve been called plenty of things I’m not going to share. . .

These days I’m a mashup of a few of these things and more. I’m less frantic as a mom, though I’m an excellent worrier. I’ve gotten much more comfortable in the kitchen and actually love to cook and make stuff up as I go. I’m back to being pretty conscious about the food we eat, where it comes from, and what I want to support with my grocery dollars.

I don’t think I’m too different from most kid-lit writers in that whenever I hear about an interesting person or a clever idea, my first thought is, “That might make a good picture book.”

What do you do to keep from going crazy while you wait for your book to come out?

Writing and researching are among my biggest joys. So I try to make sure that the moment one project is completed, I dive right into the next one. And maybe it helps that each is so different. But if I didn’t have another project to focus all my energy on, I’d be like one of those stir-crazy dogs left home alone too long: I’d eat up the furniture.

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Source: http://piperbasenji.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html

And with the glacial pace of book publishing, it doesn’t make sense to wait around. My policy has been to have the next project in the pipeline for an editor or agent to consider as the first one comes out.

Where is your book set?

Cupcake Cousins is set in the sleepy Michigan beach town of Saugatuck. I adore Michigan, especially the beach towns that dot the coasts both in the west and north. With its rugged shoreline and burgeoning wine scene, it reminds me of Northern California before it all took off. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island, South Haven, Traverse City. Michigan is a gorgeous state, and the people are so friendly.

But as for the story’s setting, it’s universal for any reader getting away from it all during a summer vacation with the whole extended family – cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents all piled together into an old house. Great summer memories.

When did you get your book inspiration?

I got the idea for the book during a summer at an old Victoria beach house on the western edge of Michigan. My kids were racing around the property with their cousins, the whole extended family on both sides came to stay with us. There was no television, no gaming, no screens at all. Just spectacular sunsets and lightning bugs and sandcastles. The way I think summer should be for a kid. So I tried to catch that magic in a bottle and hold onto it.

Why are you a writer?

Because I can’t stop the voices in my head!


You can find Kate on twitter:  @KateChicago, or her blog, AuthorOf.blogspot.com,  featuring interviews with authors of some of the best books for children, from picture books to middle-grade, fiction and non-fiction.

Cupcake Cousins is available for pre-ordering on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cupcake-Cousins-Kate-Hannigan/dp/1423178300/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389370932&sr=8-1&keywords=cupcake+cousins

Or IndieBound http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781423178309


Congratulations to Lynn Bonner, the winner of last week’s drawing, Skila Brown’s Caminar!


Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.

Is your MIND FULL of old thoughts or new?


Featuring Kate Hannigan’s middle grade novel, Cupcake Cousins and a giveaway! — 11 Comments

  1. Thanks Barbara and Carol!
    The book was so fun to write, and I wanted to show young readers a couple of industrious girls who were “makers and doers.” I think baking is a great way for young kids to discover how capable they can be, what happens when you put time into something, and how they can develop self-identity.
    I am really happy to say that Disney asked for two more, so CUPCAKE COUSINS will be a three-book series!
    Thanks for your interest!

  2. Great interview, ladies. I love the play on a word as a key element in the story–flower/flour. Very clever! This sounds fun. It should make a great summer read for kids. I wish you all the best, Kate.

  3. Fodder for another column, perhaps, but my original title was “The Flour Girls.” But the wise folks at Hyperion worried that people wouldn’t be able to find it – is that “flower” or “flour.” I wonder how many other authors get their titles changed along the way.

    I think putting “cousins” in the title ties the two characters of Delia and Willow together right away, signaling that they are related and not just friends. Race is not a big part of the story, but this is a mixed race family, so the title change emphasizes that, and I think that’s great.

  4. What a cool idea for a plot, Kate! I have fond memories of summer weeks at the lake with my cousins and I’m thinking this book will give my granddaughters a fun glimpse as they make memories of their own.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Gretchen. I hadn’t thought much about it but I think memories of being with cousins at a vacation spot is probably pretty universal. I have those memories, too. And Kate, I know from my own experience how the title goes under great scrutiny before being approved. Mine was almost changed but then they decided to keep my title in the end. Fun process for sure!

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