This is a first: a multi-generational blog post!! Instigated by the energetic Meg Ferrante. I wish you could all meet Meg in person. She is warm, witty and wise. We shared one weekend at a writer’s workshop eons ago and we have been buds ever since. That boggles the mind– with all the people we meet, it is so easy to forget casual acquaintances. But Meg’s humor and energy make her impossible to forget. While life has put a pause on the novel she was working on lo those many years ago, Meg has continued to write. Freelancing. Hysterical holiday newsletters. And this latest joint effort with her niece and nephew. I am so pleased to host Meg, Olivia and Jeremy today. Read on!
No one likes to get out of bed in the morning. But when there’s a great chef cooking, a hot breakfast waiting, and a little brother screaming, eventually it’s time to “shake a leg, poached egg!” A culinary romp & rhyme for kids of all ages….
Meet the Creators of Chef Liz Wakes the Kids! (Get to know us as we chat about our collaboration below.)
Meg: Kirby was my seminar leader and soon-to-be mentor at the Whidbey Island Children’s Writer’s Conference waaayyy back in 1999. Coincidentally, since I discovered it on day three of the conference, she was one of the very first people to know I was pregnant with my first child.
Olivia: I don’t know Kirby except through the books Aunt Meg sends me every birthday and Christmas. Hattie Big Sky and Fences Between Us both legitimately made me cry.
Jeremy: I don’t know anything. Or anybody. My Mom is making me do this.
Meg: Jeremy! Manners, child…. Tell everyone how the rhymes came about in “Chef Liz Wakes the Kids.”
Jeremy: They started with your painful wake-up calls. You can never just say, “Hey! Get up…” It has to rhyme. Or be a song. But I’m competitive, so even though I was only a 2nd grader at the time, I knew I could write better material.
Meg: And that you did. Which rhyme in the book is your favorite?
Jeremy: Probably “leave me alone, ya dried out scone!”
Meg: And which character do you like?
Jeremy: Easy! Little Gordon-Ramsay is the best; he looks and acts like me.
Meg: Yep. He does remind me of you. Your cousin did a great job re-creating your likeness through her fantastic art.
Olivia: Aww, thanks. It’s nothing.
Meg: It’s not nothing. Jeremy and I wrote the rhymes over a few months and the book in a few days, but the art took you the better part of a year!
Olivia: I sketched every illustration before lining them all with micron pens and coloring with prismacolor pencils.
Meg: So we don’t want to get too wordy here… Olivia, what’s the number one thing you want to tell the fine folks who read Kirby’s Friend Friday?
Olivia: Maybe that this is more than just a book. It’s a fundraiser because Jeremy and I get to split the proceeds of all book sales for our college funds. I’m planning a career in Sequential Art/comics, so I liked drawing out the narrative.
Meg: Huge brag here…Olivia is so talented that she got accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design, the south’s pre-eminent art school. Possibly the priciest, too.
Olivia: Even if book sales can help cover my meal plan, it’s still a big, exciting deal.
Jeremy: Do I have to worry about a college fund? I just graduated middle school.
Meg: It’s just exciting to publish our first book. And for you guys to be so young and have a book with your name on the cover… you don’t even know how cool that is, do you?
Olivia: Almost as cool as getting in to SCAD. Studios will be impressed to see that on my resume.
Meg: I guess you are getting it!
Jeremy: It’s not as cool as the pool though. Gotta go, oregano!
“Chef Liz Wakes the Kids” is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com.
Meg Ferrante is a 26-year veteran of freelance writing, an 18-year veteran of parenting and a 48-year veteran of eating. She is uniquely qualified to wake sleepy children but rarely makes breakfast before school.
Olivia Nottoli is an art-school-bound phenom who has been drawing since before she could properly hold a pencil. Unless you count the 374 sketch books she’s filled over 18 years, this is her first book.
Jeremy Ferrante is a creative 7th grader good at rhyming but even better at repurposing other people’s jokes in a new context.