A Day at the Lake invites the reader to jump right into the colorful sights and playful sounds that accompany long summer days at the lake. To celebrate its release earlier this week, we’re kicking off its very own blog tour right here! We had the opportunity to ask the pair of wordsmiths—and friends—who wrote the book to give us this exclusive first look at the story behind its magic.
1. What inspired you to begin writing books for children? How are children's books special?
Stephanie Wallingford: I’ve been writing my whole life. I’ve always liked poetry and combined with a love and deep appreciation of art and illustration, picture books are a perfect match. Besides, what’s more special than sharing a book with a child?
Dawn Rynders: I have loved writing since I was old enough to string together words that I copied out of my mom’s magazines. Once I came around to studying good children’s literature in college, I found myself thinking, “I wish I had written that…” Then one day, Steph challenged me to try our hand at writing a book and we found the words and rhythm of A Day at the Lake.
2. The book is definitely filled with playful rhymes and sounds—it's almost musical. How did you develop this ear for language?
SW: Once we had established the rhythm of the writing, it served as a great framework for writing. We did start to think and talk that way for a while—kind of annoying to the people around us for sure, but…lots of laughs.
DR: I love the process of discovering the right word for a phrase. It’s like a puzzle just waiting to be put into place…
3. How do you collaborate as writers? What is your process like?
SW: It works best when we can write together in person. We play off of each other’s ideas, improving or altering them slightly as we try them out, and we go down completely different paths together that we wouldn’t alone…. It truly is a collaborative effort...
DR: It’s a great excuse to spend time together and… great to have someone to bounce ideas back and forth with.
4. You both live within walking distance of Minnesota lakes. Did the backdrop of the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” influence the book?
SW: With references to loons, it is hard to deny a Minnesota backdrop to our book, but I also drew on my own childhood spent at lakes in Kansas and the bay area of Southern Maryland. I definitely spend a lot more time at the lake now that I have access to so many.
DR: I have such great memories of spending time at lakes with my cousins and grandmother. It was what we did on holidays and hot summer evenings. I remember that my uncles would put fish on the littlest kids’ lines while they weren’t paying attention so that we all had a good fishing day! [Now]I love to watch my kids enjoy the same things that I did when I was growing up.
5. A Day at the Lake is the perfect reminder that long summer days lie ahead. What projects are on the horizon for you both?
SW: We are currently working on manuscripts for two new books: A Day in the Snow, and A Day at the Orchard. This winter’s plentiful snowfall has provided lots of inspiration!
DR: Working on these projects is a good excuse to [get] together and develop our word skills—like an intellectual workout with a good friend and a good cup of coffee! Also, we’re really looking forward to the next couple months of getting out there and sharing A Day at the Lake.