In Denver with The Laid-Back Skier

Since the grande opening of our new Swoozie’s store in Denver last month, we have been busy digging into the local culture and meeting all kinds of fabulous new friends along the way. One of the best things about Denver is their laid-back lifestyle and casual hospitality, much like what we’re accustomed to in the South.

Today we enjoyed having local author Colleen Smith at the Denver store for a discussion and signing of her new book, The Laid-Back Skier. We are excited to have it on the shelves at Swoozie’s;  the whimsical illustration is delightful, and the spirit is playful. Read below to learn a little bit more about Colleen and the inspiration behind her new book.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

Alpine skiing has taught me so much about myself and provides for me a metaphor for life and living through ups and downs. While skiing, I began holding short, sweet, positive mantras in my head to work on my form. One of the first was “Lead with your heart.” I added another, and soon started seeing them illustrated.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration?

I tend to find lots of creative inspiration everywhere!

I draw creative energy from snow skiing, gardening, yoga, swimming, travel, Colorado outdoors, nature, books and other printed materials, art and music.

We love the illustration! Tell us more.

I met Patty Leidy, the book’s illustrator, through Facebook. I saw Patty’s cartoons and appreciated her sense of humor and her style. I messaged her about the idea.

What is the perfect occasion to give this book as a gift?

This spring book-signing emphasizes Laid-Back Skier as an ideal gift at Easter time: All our ski bunnies, and the spring colors, and the fact that the book’s size lends itself to Easter baskets. Spring skiers will enjoy the book. Laid-Back Skier is ideal for Christmas, too. Or a birthday, or for somebody who is not feeling well or is down on their luck. The messages are uplifting and positive.

And I do want to emphasize that Laid-Back Skier is not for skier’s only: The book offers whimsical ways to face life’s ups and downs.  Great for kids, but adults enjoy it, too. Laid-Back Skier includes practical pages: a skier’s journal and a skier’s packing list, so the book makes a perfect gift for a skier any time.

We’re new to the city, how has Denver influenced this book?

Denver’s proximity to world-class skiing influence Laid-Back Skier. When I ski, I’m often on chairlifts with people from all over the world who’ve made their way to ski Colorado. I enjoy the international aspects of skiing: the different languages spoken, all the international flags flying. And Denver is so close to that magnificent outdoor playground.

Additionally, because I’m a nature-lover, I’m ecologically minded, too. Denver is progressive when it comes to the “green” scene, and stewardship of our environment is important to me. I broke the budget on the book’s paper because I wanted a quality sheet to show off the art, and I insisted on an environmentally friendly paper.

One more thing: Friday Jones Publishing, the independent artisan press that published “Laid-Back Skier” is Denver-based. The Friday Jones Players who contributed are Denver residents: In addition to the illustrator Patty Leidy, and the designer Nancy Benton, the book got off the ground with the help of Friday Jones Players: Jesse Krieger, Amanda DePaul and Roeanna Frechette. We are “the little publishing house that could,” and that underdog, entrepreneurial spirit has been part of Denver since day one of the Mile High City.

At Friday Jones Publishing, our tagline is “Wag your tale,” and we appreciate your help with wagging this tale. Welcome to Denver, Swoozie’s!

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