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Interview with 'The Story of Fish & Snail' author/illustrator Deborah Freedman

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Deborah Freedman was an architect once, but now prefers building worlds in picture books. She is the author and illustrator of THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL, BLUE CHICKEN, SCRIBBLE, and to-be-published (Viking, April 2015) BY MOUSE & FROG. Deborah lives in a colorful house in southern Connecticut, where she is busy at work on her next books. You can learn more about her at http://www.deborahfreedman.net.

For what age audience do you write?

I write and illustrate picture books, and honestly believe that no one is too old to read picture books!

Henry: So true! A well-written picture book like Where the Wild Things Are or Journey appeals to kids of all ages.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is The Story of Fish & Snail, published by Viking last year. It’s about a Fish and Snail who live in a book together, and how their friendship is tested when Fish encourages Snail to explore another book.

Henry: It's always a delicate situation when you ask your roommate to move out... :)

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I hope The Story of Fish & Snail will encourage children to jump into new books, or even to write their own — perhaps new adventures for Fish and Snail!

Henry: Well, you're preaching to the choir. My young sons helped coauthor my books Nimpentoad and Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes (Pelican, 2015).

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

Sometimes, when I’ve been working on a project for a long time, it can stop feeling fresh after a while — which can make it challenging to revise effectively.

Henry: Agreed. I like to work on multiple manuscripts, so when I'm struggling with one, I can switch to another.

What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?

Keep going anyway!

Henry: The power of BIC!

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

Connecting with readers through my books never stops being wonderful, even profoundly moving at times.

Henry: Plus, being hounded by paparazzi never loses its thrill... :)

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Oh, I don’t know… I certainly don’t have this writing life all figured out! So how about this: never assume you have it all figured out.

Henry: After multiple traditionally published books, it's not figured out!? Yikes!

Where can readers find your work?

Hopefully at all the usual places, but I especially encourage readers to shop at independent bookstores, and I try to keep my website updated with a list of stores that have signed copies.

Henry: Go indies!

This article can also be read at Henry's blog on KidLit, fantasy & science fiction.

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