Meet the Author: Kirsti Call & Corey Schwartz

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December 2020 | Authors

Have you ever been in a bad moooood? Mootilda is a wide-eyed cow that wakes up on the wrong side of the barn. She stumbles from one cow-tastrophe to another. With perfect rhyme and packed with terri-bull-y funny puns, Mootilda’s Bad Mood is sure to lift anyone’s melan-cow-ly mood.

Kirsti Call & Corey Schwartz team up to create a wonderful read-aloud picture book for kids – Mootilda’s Bad Mood. With engaging illustrations and a wonderful refrain, “I’m in a bad MOOD!”; Mootilda helps children understand that it’s okay to have a bad day. Your friends can help turn things around.

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This is our first interview with co-authors. How did you two meet?

Kirsti and Corey: We met at a writing conference and found we were on the same wavelength, so we decided to try a collaboration. It was “love at first write” and Mootilda was our first sale together.

You are both busy mothers (Kirsti have five children and Corey has two) and clearly each of you have a love of children’s books. Where did the idea for Mootilda originate? How did you find time to jointly write it?

Kirsti: We wanted to write something that capitalized on my experience as a marriage and family therapist. We came up with the title: MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD and we were mes-moo-rized! When we find an idea we’re obsessed with, we text pretty much around the clock.

We loved your use of puns. They are masterfully woven throughout the rhyming text. Was this unique writing style the plan from the beginning? How did it evolve?

Kirsti and Corey: We both love wordplay and wordsmithing. That was probably the reason we teamed up in the first place–our moo-tual love of puns! This story started with a title so it was already punny before we even began writing. Seemed inevitable that we would in-cow-porate as many puns as possible!

Mootilda is an especially relatable character and nothing seems to be going right for her in the story. We all have days like this. Is she based on a real person?

Corey: Although there is probably a little Mootilda in all of us, I would have to say that she was mostly based on me! Kirsti and I joke that she is always in a good mood. And I am often in a bad mooooood. We have very different dispositions but that helps balance us out when writing.

The illustrations are wonderful–so colorful and expressive! How much influence did you both have on what Mootilda looked like? How early in the process of writing the book did you bring in the illustrator, Claudia Ranucci?

Kirsti and Corey: We had no influence on what Mootilda looked like. Claudia made her adorable all on her own! Our editor at Little Bee knew the second she saw Claudia’s portfolio that she was perfect for the story!

 Mootilda has an important theme about how your moods affect others and the power of laughter to make you feel better. Do you have any “talking points” for parents to help facilitate a positive discussion with their child after reading the book?

Kirsti: Here are some questions we like to ask kids after reading the book:
– Have you ever been in a bad moooood?
– What do you do when you’re in a bad mooood?
– What helped Mootilda?
– What can you do next time you’re in a bad moooood?

What is the best part about being a children’s author? Who were your favorite authors as a child?

Kirsti and Corey: The best? Listening to kids laugh as we read them our books. We both loved Dr. Seuss books because they’re very language driven.

When you look around at the current state of kids and reading, what are the biggest challenges for parents or opportunities to address?

Kirsti and Corey: Many parents stop reading with their kids once they have moooooved on to chapter books. Continuing to read with kids even after they become independent readers is important because it provides bonding time, evokes discussion, and creates lifelong reading habits.

What are you each working on now?

Kirsti: I’m cow-razy about cows. Cow Says Meow comes out in March. And Corey and I have another book called Cold Turkey coming out in October.

Corey: We are always brainstorming new ideas. We have a couple of chicken stories in the works. Barnyard tales are full of pun opportunities so it’s not a cow-incidence that many of our works-in-progress are set on farms.

Kirsti and Corey have kindly included a link to a song they made based on Mootilda. You might find it fun to watch! We look forward to seeing both Kirsti Call and Corey Schwartz’s latest creative endeavors and are so excited to share Mootilda’s Bad Mood with many of our subscribers this month. Many thanks to them both for spending time speaking with us. If you would like to find out more about Kirsti Call’s work you can find her website here. For more information about Corey Schwartz, her website is here.

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