The Children’s Book Review
Published: May 4, 2012
Introducing the Delicious Duo! The Mother-Daughter writing team behind the sweet new children’s book series, The Cupcake Club.
For years, Sheryl Berk has been a top ghostwriter/book collaborator in Hollywood. “I’ve worked with everyone from Britney Spears and Carmen Electra to Whitney Port and Tia Mowry,” she explains. She also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Soul Surfer with Bethanny Hamilton (also a hit movie). But even with all those A-listers, her 9 year old daughter Carrie remains her favorite writing partner. Here’s how the two cooked up the idea for The Cupcake Club book series:
Carrie: I was having a sleepover with my BFF Jaimie. We were bored so I took out some paper and started writing a story. It was about four girls who started their own cupcake club. I showed it to my mom.
Sheryl: She was learning about realistic fiction in Second Grade, and she was a huge fan of Judy Moody books. But she was always looking for a book series she could relate to more.
Carrie: I wanted to read about cupcakes!
Sheryl: So she wrote up a summary of her idea, and I sent it to my literary agent.
Carrie: We got a book deal really fast and I was excited. I was going to be an author.
Sheryl: It’s great to work with her on the series. She draws inspiration for the characters and their adventures from her school, her friends, her teachers. There’s a realness to The Cupcake Club, and that comes directly from the fact that it’s written by a kid. The book deals with issues that kids deal with, like bullying, crushes, friend drama.
Carrie: My mom and I talk about how the book will go: what the characters will do, what problems they’ll have, how they’ll solve them. Then she writes the first draft and I edit it.
Sheryl: Sometimes she can be a little tough! I get comments in the margins like, ‘A kid would never talk like that!’ or ‘Needs more explanation!’ She has some very strong opinions.
Carrie: I want it to sound like a kid said it. And I read a lot, so I know what’s a good book for my age.
Sheryl: And we also incorporate a lot of crazy cupcakes in the story. Stuff like a cannoli cream cupcake, a spaghetti and meatball cupcake, or maple red velvet.
Carrie: I watch Cupcake Wars and take notes. Then I give my mom some ingredient suggestions. I just saw a cupcake with pickles and peanut butter and I want to do something like it for Book 3!
Sheryl: We work closely with a recipe developer, Jessi Walter from Taste Buds. Carrie does a tasting and they talk over what cupcakes we want to create from each book.
Carrie: Like The Eco-licious Cupcake from Peace, Love and Cupcakes. I’m an EcoKid in my school, and I really wanted to give readers a recipe that was all organic and used recycled paper cupcake wrappers.
Sheryl: I’ve learned a lot about cupcakes from Carrie, and I think she’s learned a lot about the writing process and publishing business from me.
Carrie: I never knew how many times you have to revise a manuscript! My favorite part is when we get the galleys. Then you can really SEE what the book looks like. And I also didn’t know how long it takes. It’s about six months from the time we write it to the time it’s in stores.
Sheryl: The best part is we get to be creative and imaginative together.
Carrie: The best part is making and tasting cupcakes together. We just went on a Cupcake Crawl in Boston. We’re always looking for great new cupcakes to spotlight on my blog site (www.carriescupcakecritique.shutterfly.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PLCCupcakeClub).
Sheryl: It’s the sweetest job I’ve ever had!
Carrie: One day, I want to be a bestselling author. Or maybe a judge on Cupcake Wars. Maybe both.
Add the book to your collection: The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes