Introducing Deborah Jo Larson, Local Author of One Frozen Lake

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I know we are getting down to the Christmas wire.  Less than two weeks away.  Some of us may be frantic to find the perfect gift for our little ones.

For those in deep need of a meaningful gift–for any age– I present the perfect gift.

I know right now you are saying, “Of course, you think it’s perfect, Gianna!  It’s a book.  You think all books are perfect!”

You are right.  I do.  And I am right.  They are.

So now that everything is cleared up, let’s continue.

main_ImageDeborah Jo Larson has written the most beautiful book ever written on one of the most deplorable past-times known to man–ice fishing.  My husband loves it.  My dad and brother love it.  There are millions of men around the world who love this sport.  I cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would choose to go sit on the ice for hours on end (it doesn’t even matter how nice the shelter is), drill a hole in the ice, and put a line in the water through that hole.  On top of everything, you are expected to be overjoyed when you catch a wee bass.

I don’t get it.  But even so, I love this book.  And if you have an ice fisherperson or a child or someone who wants to understand the mind of a Minnesotan better, this is the book for you.  It really is beautiful.  The word pictures and the illustrations are gorgeous.  And by the end of the book, even I, the skeptical-you-are-never-getting-me-to-ice-fish person that I am, wanted know if they were going to catch a fish.

Deborah Jo Larson has quite a story to tell about how she became an author.

She is a native Minnesotan who began her writing career on stage, but I’ll let her tell you about it.

I was born in St. Paul, MN. I began my career as a playwright and puppeteer, enjoying a string of sold-out performances in my parent’s garage, only to learn later in life that the audience came mainly for my mom’s free popcorn…  But I continued my creative journey nonetheless and was thrilled to sell my first picture book, One Frozen Lake, to the MN Historical Society Press, a mere 40 years later.

Currently, she is self-employed consultant for PR, Marketing, and Events which allows her the flexibility to continue writing. She lives in Woodbury, MN with her husband, two teenage children and a “bossy Miniature Schnauzer named Oliver.”  

I spend my free time reading, gardening, antiquing and enjoying the outdoors. I bait my own hook (except for leeches – I have to draw the line somewhere!) 

Her journey as an author has not been all peaches and cream. She began writing by taking classes through the Loft Literary Center (I have been doing that recently and am so happy to have met her Deb Larson personally!).  After taking classes for 10 years, Deb’s story looks like this: 

I won a Shabo Award for picture book writing from the Loft  in 2007. 

My first fiction story (Halloween on Hickory Street) appeared in Stories for Children Magazine in 2009.  This story is very special to me as it is based on my childhood best friend, who passed away of a brain tumor at a very young way (20).  I believe that somewhere, somehow she had something to do with the story’s publication which sparked my journey as a published author.  Since then I have had another story published in Stories for Children Magazine, Don’t Look For a Moose.  

Then in 2012 my first picture book, One Frozen Lake, was published by the MN Historical Society.  The book went on to win the 2012 International Reading Association Book Award, a tremendous honor for which I thank everyone involved with the book (Editor Shannon Pennefeather and illustration team of Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher).
My first e-book, Where is Apple Pie, is schedule for release this month by Meegenius Publishing.  I have two other manuscripts undergoing the editorial review process.  The waiting game does not get any easier!
Why do you like children’s literature, Deb?
First, I love the rhythmic language – it’s a lot like writing poetry.  I have also loved seeing my text brought to life through illustration by the incredibly talented artists I have worked with.  And I love telling the stories about my favorite childhood memories as well as those of my children.  Finally, it is so much fun to read my book to children, experience their wonder and field their interesting questions (“Do any dinosaurs live under the ice?”, “No”, “Not even T-Rexes?”) 
Tell us more about yourself! 
  • What work are you most thrilled about?  Both One  Frozen Lake, as my first picture book, and Halloween on Hickory Street as a tribute to my childhood best friend.  I am also pretty excited about a middle grade book I am currently working on.
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  I wanted to be a teacher.
  • What do you like best about living in the Twin Cities?  I love being a short drive to parks, lakes and rivers, yet have access to plenty of culture, arts and delicious restaurants.  Plus the anticipation for each of the seasons, even winter.  
  • What are some of your favorite activities to do as a family?  
    My children are teenagers now, so shopping is high on the list…  When they were young, we loved to take car trips – be it just for a weekend on the North Shore or all the way to Yellowstone.  A 12-hour car ride is a great way to bond.  We laugh a lot.  
  • What is your favorite restaurant in town? There are so many it’s hard to pick one!  Right now I am craving San Pedro Cafe in Hudson, WI.
  • What is one thing you would never be caught dead doing?  Buy a store-bought costume. 
  • What is one thing you have always wanted to do but have never been able to?  Travel to Europe.  (I knew I liked this lady!)

The pictures in One Frozen Lake were created by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher who worked on Dr. Suess’s My Many Colored Days.  And they are really gorgeous!  You can pick up One Frozen Lake on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or one of our local bookstores– Wild Rumpus, Red Balloon Bookshop, The Bookcase.

Did I mention that it’s a perfect gift?


book_coverOne Frozen Lake 
by Deborah Jo Larson
Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012

images courtesy of Deborah Jo Larson, used with permission


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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids–Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.


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