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Bellingham duo teams up for a old-style joyful story

Allen Frost, who was born in La Jolla, Calif., and says he moved to Seattle when he was “short,” reads from his new book, “Roosevelt,” at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Village Books. He will be joined by Fred Sodt, who illustrated the book, which is set in Bellingham in July 1942.

Here is Frost’s description of the book: “A boy and a girl search for a missing circus elephant. In appreciation of the old Scholastic paperbacks, this poetic novel is beautifully illustrated by Fred Sodt, and is for both children and adults, bringing joy and cheer to a troubled world.”

Frost has published 11 books of poetry and stories. He has lived with his family in Bellingham for 16 years.

Artist Fred Sodt also enjoys living in Bellingham. He has created unconventional still-life paintings, and has worked as a character animator in the computer-game industry.

For more on Frost, visit his blog, allenfrostlibrary.blogspot.com.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I began writing books in third grade at McDonald Elementary in the Wallingford area of Seattle. I wrote my first two novels in college in Maine. I continue to write one or two a year.

Q: What brought you to Bellingham?

A: After a few journeys across country I was drawn with my family to Bellingham in 1999. Not sure why exactly, just following the I-5 river north. I’m glad we poured out here.

Q: What have been your most recent day jobs?

A: I worked for 15 years in the library at Western Washington University and now I have a job in the art department. It’s like working backstage at “The Gong Show.”

Q: What have been your writings of note?

A: So far I have published 11 books, comprising poetry, novels and short stories. They are available from Amazon.com and at a few favorite places in town.

With my press, Good Deed Rain, I’m building a world where all my writing interconnects. For instance, in my recent book “5 Novels,” a character goes to a drive-in movie and the movie he sees is the first novel I wrote.

I also have a few persistent characters that walk in and out of books and events that reappear from different angles. I love the process of creating a book. I start it rolling with a few ideas and words in a notebook and then before I know it, it takes on a life of its own. It’s like another world, hovering and waiting for me to get back to.

As I let it write itself, allowing whatever whirls around me to blend in, it’s always an adventure to see where it ends up.

I try to make the most beautiful books I can, with illustrations and the feel of those favorite books that have inspired me since a child.

Q: What was the process of bringing “Roosevelt” to press?

A: Working on Roosevelt with Fred Sodt was amazing. Before I knew him, I admired a map he drew on the library wall. I wanted someone to draw a map for Roosevelt. I wanted it to have the look of an old Scholastic Book, the kind we used to order in grade school.

I got in touch with him and told him I wrote Bellingham’s version of Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine.” He read the manuscript and liked it. He picked out images that inspired him.

I think his contribution took “Roosevelt” to the realms of a classic. Having such a talented artist bring my words to life was like seeing my dreams illustrated. His heart is just as much in this book as mine.

Q: What’s next on your horizon?

A: My next book, to be published soon, is a big collection of stories written over the course of 30 years. After that will be a giant compilation of mysterious detective novels, each featuring a recurring character who has been waiting patiently for his own book.

Also, I have just finished writing a sequel to “Roosevelt,” set in 1962 Fairhaven. I’m currently typing it up from my notebooks.

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