Scrolling through Twitter, I saw the cover of Frozen Peaches with the sled dogs and ice castle. I had to read it! I was fortunate enough to get a chance to interview the author, Erin Soderberg Downing. Read on for a chance to enter the giveaway for a copy of the book.
Erin Soderberg Downing — Interview
About the Book
Hi Erin! Thank you for sharing the latest book in The Great Peach Experiment series: Frozen Peaches with me (and such a clever and fitting title!). Congratulations on its recent release. Can you give us a short summary about the book?
Sure! The third Peach adventure opens with Freddy Peach’s announcement that he’s been testing his family’s recent good-luck streak by entering them in a series of sweepstakes, and they’ve actually won a few of them! One prize they win is….a year’s worth of free yogurt! But the other sweepstakes win has earned the Peaches…a free trip to the Icehotel in Sweden, where the Peaches will get to learn about running a tourist hotel from the best of the best! When they arrive, they discover that they are one of several hotel-owning families who have won, and while they’re at the Icehotel they’ll have the chance to compete in a series of competitions (dogsledding, ice carving, sled racing) to try to win the title of FROZEN BEST!
Who would especially enjoy this book?
Any kids (or adults!) who love stories with a lot of action, humor, and fun settings (I love when a book can transport you somewhere wonderful, even from the comfort and warmth of your own bed).
About the Author: Erin Soderberg Downing
Path to Publication
What was your path to becoming an author? Any other interesting jobs you have had?
When I was a kid, I actually didn’t really like writing and never would have imagined I’d write a book (let alone almost 100 of them!) someday. But I was a big reader as a kid, which is what led me to get a job as a children’s book editor at Scholastic when I graduated from college. It was in this job that I learned what makes a great book, and I figured out how much fun it can be to put a story together. After I left that job, I realized I missed creating stories…and that’s when I started writing for fun and with an eye toward publication. I have also worked as a rollerblading waitress, a tour guide on a boat in Duluth, MN, at several coffee shops, as a marketing person at Nickelodeon, and I worked in “snack innovation” for a short time at Pepperidge Farm. I’ve met a lot of interesting characters over the years!
What authors (and/or books) would you say influenced your writing style?
My favorite series growing up were the Ramona series (Beverly Cleary), the Fudge series (Judy Blume), and the Baby-sitter’s Club series (Ann M. Martin). I loved these series for their humor, but also for the powerful connections and relationships between characters in the stories. I have always been a huge fan of series, both as a reader and a writer, because every time you open up a new book in a series it’s like opening the door to a whole house full of friends – you’ve already met, and can get right into the good part of the story!
My more recent favorite series include the Penderwicks (which I read aloud to my kids when they were in elementary school) and the Vanderbeekers series—and I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from both for The Great Peach Experiment series.
Which of the Peach children would you say you were most like growing up?
Definitely Lucy – I was pretty responsible and mature (I’m an only child) and I loved reading.
What is something from your childhood that you snuck into the book?
I stole my best friend’s Sarah’s house to use as inspiration for The Peach Pit, including her closet with a secret reading/fort nook tucked up into a corner!
How the Book/Series Came to Be
How did The Great Peach Experiment series come about?
I was inspired to start thinking about this series after my family’s road trip in an RV. My kids kept begging me to buy a scratch off lottery ticket at every gas station we stopped at and when I finally caved, I made them play a game with me – what would you do if we actually won? What if you suddenly had a million bucks…how would you spend it? And I rolled on from there!
And how did you get the idea for the premise for this book in the series, Frozen Peaches?
After visiting the Swedish Icehotel for real about twenty years ago, I knew someday I would want to use that setting for a book I wrote someday. I’ve been saving this truly special setting for a truly special book ever since. Before I’d even finished writing the first book in the Great Peach Experiment series, I knew this was the perfect family to send on an adventure to this frozen wonderland!
I know that you lived in Sweden for a year, so you already had a lot of background knowledge to set a book there. What research did you still end up having to do?
The best research I got to do for this book was to try dogsledding! I didn’t know anything about that sport, and knew I had to at least have some fundamentals in order to write the dogsledding scenes. So my family and I booked a dogsledding adventure on Minnesota’s North Shore, and got to spend a day learning about harnessing, caring for, and guiding dogs through the woods!
Can you share any tips for writing a series?
The most important thing I do when I know I’m planning out a series is to keep a running series bible from the very beginning. Eye color, favorite stuffed animals, fears, room color, best friend names – you don’t realize how many things get casually mentioned in a book, and then you forget about them a few books later! So I keep a series bible where I note any details about characters that I include at any point in my stories.
Do you have a curriculum guide or discussion questions posted online?
Yes! Pixel + Ink created both an educator guide and a Peach Family Recipe book! Check it out: https://holidayhouse.com/site/pixel-ink/?book=the-great-peach-experiment-1-when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-peach-pie
Are you doing school visits related to this book?
I absolutely love doing school visits – it’s the best part of my job! I’ve been lucky enough to visit a ton of schools this past year to talk about the “ingredients” I use when I create my stories, as well as the recipe I follow when I’m writing. I’ve been to many schools in Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Texas, New Hampshire, New York, and many others via Zoom! I have so many new releases between 2021-2024 that my school visits are extra exciting right now. There’s more info for me to share during each visit than I have time for, which keeps things interesting for me, too!
How can we learn more about you?
I have a ton of info and details about my books, the research I’ve done, my family/dogs/favorite things, and author visits on my website – www.erinsoderberg.com
Thanks for your time, Erin!
Erin will be giving a copy of Frozen Peaches to a lucky reader. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a copy. (U.S. addresses only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway