A few years ago I was planting seeds in my garden and musing about the wonderful and yummy fruits of my labor. I started scribbling ideas in my journal … seeds that, over time, germinated and grew and ripened into a book.
Chamisa Kellogg and I are thrilled to share the cover of The Pie that Molly Grew, releasing August 15. We got to chatting on the phone the other day about our book journey.
Me: I have notes in an old “Ideas Notebook” referring to a writing challenge by Susanna Leonard Hill. I think it might have been National Pie Day (Jan. 23 if you’re curious) and Susanna suggested writing a pie story. She tossed out some ideas: the biggest pie, the smallest pie…. Meanwhile I’m thinking of pie diversity: apple, blueberry, pecan, key-lime. I detoured for a brief consideration of pizza (pepperoni, please) … but settled on my favorite, pumpkin. Within seconds a line came to mind and got stuck, like an earworm, until I finally wrote it down: This is the seed that Molly sowed.
Words are only half of a picture book. Illustrations tell the other half of the story. So I asked Chamisa about the inspiration for her artwork.
Chamisa: I've been lucky enough to have been around gardens my entire life. My parents are both gardeners, and I spent nearly every spring and summer digging in the dirt and watching things grow. It was a wonder to me then and is still a wonder to me now, the way life springs from a tiny seed. For the art for this book, I wanted to capture that feeling of wonder I felt in gardens as a kid (and also now, as an adult), and I wanted the illustrations to have a playfulness to them.
Me: Turns out we both love pumpkin pie, too. One year my kids planted pumpkins for Halloween, and there were so many that I figured they wouldn’t miss one. I baked it and then used the potato masher to smoosh it. That leaves lumpy bits of pumpkin in the mix, but we loved the texture. Another year I didn’t have quite enough pumpkin for a pie, so I added a left-over sweet potato. No one even noticed!
Chamisa: I've tried all kinds of recipes – sometimes I use kabocha squash or butternut squash instead of pumpkin, sometimes I sweeten with dates instead of sugar, sometimes coconut milk instead of condensed milk. All versions are delicious! Plus, any excuse to put whip cream on something is a win for me!
You can find out more about The Pie that Molly Grew at Sleeping Bear Press website. It will hit bookstore shelves mid-August, but you can pre-order it at Riverow Bookshop or your favorite bookstore.
Chamisa and I have already started our pumpkins! Check back in a month to see how they’re doing. We’ll be sharing more about art, pie, and pumpkins on our social media over the summer.
You can connect with Chamisa Kellogg at her website, www.chamisakellogg.com and on Instagram at @chamisafe
You can find out more about my books at my website, www.sueheavenrich.com or follow me on Facebook
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