Erin Napier and Adam Trest grew up in the little town of Laurel, Mississippi all of their lives. They are long time friends and artists that share comradery and inspiration with one another. As their lives have progressed and the Trest family and Napier family have grown over the years, their love for their daughters and for sharing memories at home have impacted their work and inspired them to create The Lantern House story.
As a writer, Erin Napier, finds that having two daughters has been her greatest joy and inspiration for all of her work. It's been like reliving her childhood and seeing life through young, innocent eyes once again— a life full of wonder and imagination. Erin hopes to nurture her daughters' imagination as they grow up and share how our grown up lives in our grown up houses tell an important, beautiful story too. They tell our story.
Erin says, "Our first house that Ben and I renovated together will always be home to me, and I imagine that house also has feelings about its inhabitants. That's where the story came from. I was thinking about the stories our homes could tell about the things they've seen and the lives lived there. They've seen tragedy, but they've also see great celebrations and huge milestones. They comfort when things are scary."
"Houses become like members of our family, and so that's what The Lantern House is. It's sort of an amalgamation of all the houses I've ever lived in."
Erin had only one illustrator in mind to bring this special story to life. Artist and Illustrator, Adam Trest, believed in Erin's vision for the book from the get-go and immediately drew inspiration from his memories and the houses he lived near as a child.
He says, "I've lived next door to houses that look like this all my life, but it clicked for me when I remembered a time when I was in Pennsylvania, and I was driving the south. I saw this house that looked like just the one I painted here, and I just knew that was the Lantern House."
Adam's process took many turns before he ever landed on the final look and design. He says, "Before we had really decided on style, the house had a very drafted look, like it was a doll house cut in half."
Though his initial design was beautiful, Erin had a different idea. She loved Adam's whimsical paintings that offered movement, whimsy and a bright color palette.
Adam says, "I have a background in architecture so I wanted to allow readers to peek inside the house and see the special things that you normally wouldn't be able to if you were looking through the window or glancing through the back door. Yet her vision was like getting permission to be painterly, have fun and embrace that whimsy I've been working towards in my work."
For Adam and Erin, it has always been a dream to create a children's book that their daughters will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives.
Erin says, "There is an immortality in creating a book. It's gonna be in a library long after we are gone. What matters to me is remembering the generation before us and remembering the good work of the people who come before us and how we can take from that to create a new future."
P.S. — Join Erin at the first Lantern House book signing on May 27, 2022 at Laurel Mercantile Co. Learn more here!