Rinda Beach and I both had books related to the moon come out in 2019, the anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. My book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON illustrated by Ariel Boroff and Rinda’s book NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL, illustrated by Cole Roberts were both part of the year long excitement surrounding the moon. We crossed paths virtually then in various picture book groups, but it wasn’t until we were setting up this interview that we realized how much we have in common. I’m happy to share my interview with Rinda and she is generously offering one lucky winner (US only) a signed copy of her recent book, ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN. Comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN is written for kids ages 6-10. At that age, I was a bookworm who literally buried myself in books. I don’t remember my 1st grade teacher, but I remember 2nd grade. Mrs. Metzger helped me become a reader. I came alive – in books. My biggest problem . . . I lived more in books than in real life.
Zoe lives in the real world. She’s out at the lake, trying to beat her older brother and sister. I had her competitive nature, and I was a daddy’s girl. If my dad went kayaking early in the morning, I would have been there too.
What inspires you?
Life! My stories are inspired by the things that happen to me. ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN came from my family’s vacations at Norris Lake. The things Zoe does – they’re the things my family does too. We even wound up buying a house on the lake. ZOE is the chapter book version of her story. LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME is Zoe’s story in picture book form.
– NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM was inspired by my time volunteering at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in my hometown of Wapakoneta (Neil’s hometown too). I was fascinated by a tiny piece of his original wind tunnel. Now it sits in a case at the museum. Neil built it when he was 16. His goal – to make it look just like the Wright Brothers’ wind tunnel, the one that helped them become first in flight, but the most fascinating fact for me – his mom didn’t know what he was up to. I’m a grandma and a retired teacher – I would have snuck down . . . every chance I got!
What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
If I had to pick one thing from ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN, I’d say getting away from all the devices and spending time outside with your family. I’d also pick reading and writing over summer vacation. Zoe has pages at the end of the book where a reader can record their own lake vacation fun. They’re my co-author/co-illustrator with room to write, room to illustrate. ZOE is part story, part activity book, and part souvenir. So is its sister book, LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been working on an ‘Agent Audition Challenge’ since October. An agent is interested in my work, but can’t offer representation until I send 4 polished manuscripts for review. I was supposed to be done by February, but I didn’t make that deadline. I’m still plugging away. I’d rather polish each manuscript, than send them too soon. The bad news – only one manuscript is agent ready. The good news – the others have grown by leaps and bounds. Win or lose, I’ve won because of that growth. And lucky me – I get to grow some more 😊
Readers can connect with Rinda and learn more about her books: