Interview with Deborah Freedman, author/illustrator of This House Once

Deborah Freedman’s book, This House Once, comes out next Tuesday, February 28th. To help celebrate, Deborah has stopped by my blog to talk about the book and what else she’s been up to. Enjoy!

Hey Deborah! Thanks for joining me here to talk about all you have in store!

Hello, Dylan — I’m honored to be here!

Tell us a little bit about your new book, This House Once.

It is a meditation on a house and where its different parts came from. It’s very quiet and cozy, and suggests that readers be mindful of all that surrounds them.


What inspired you to do this book? It’s quite unique- and beautiful!

Thank you, Dylan! I’ve probably had this book in my head, at least unconsciously, ever since I trained as an architect over thirty years ago and learned about how buildings come together. After my daughters were born, I started playing around with children’s books, and naturally began by drifting through ideas that had something to do with architecture. Then my husband and I eventually bought our first house — which we have since added on to and altered, a never-ending work in progress — so we have both been thinking and talking about houses and homes for a long time. Also, I’ve always loved to spend time walking in the woods, and digging and planting in my rocky New England yard…

So buildings, children, the natural world — basically those passions all simmered for years, until they finally bubbled up together and out spilled This House Once.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

I’ve loved to draw and make things ever since I was a kid — always the “artsy” type — which is why I eventually ended up in architecture. But making picturebooks is way more fun than designing buildings, and the audience is cooler. IMO.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Connecting with my young readers. Nothing in my pre-published life prepared me for how moving that could be. Or how much they would make me smile!

What inspires your creativity?

Reading… looking at art… I majored in art history in college and have always loved to spend time in museums, almost always leaving them with some sort of spark. And, of course, I’m inspired by KIDS.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I realized recently that several of my favorite childhood books have the word “house” in their titles: The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton; A House is a House for Me, by Mary Ann Hoberman; The Dolls’ House, by Rumer Godden; the Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder… it must mean something!

If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Do I have to do something else? I don’t want to do anything else!

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Hopefully, the unexpected… 🙂

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