Q. When did you start writing?
A. I responded to an offer to take a writing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature in 1990, and received a diploma for the Special Publishing Course from them in 1992.
I began writing on a consistent basis in the 1990’s when I wrote articles for The Courier, a local Christian newsletter commenting on political issues, and wrote letters to area newspaper editors.
Later when I had grandchildren, I wrote a short story for them about little rabbits learning the value of obedience, and tucked it away. In the fall of 2010, my friend Jane read that short story and urged me to write more. Her comment made me realize the time was now to start writing kids’ books.
Q. Why do you write for children?
A. While watching a Christian TV program in 2008, I felt the strong call of God to write for children. So first of all, I want to obey that call of God. I have a tender heart for kids, and want to help stop bad parenting and child abuse. I want to give kids fun, educational, and wholesome reading material.
Q. Why did you choose rabbits for characters?
A. At the time I wrote my short story for my grandchildren, a home decorating company, long since out of business, sold a boy and girl stuffed rabbit for Easter décor. They were named Biff and Becka, and the rabbits and names became permanent choices for my books. Then at my August writer’s conference in Philadelphia in 2011, I learned that rabbits are a kid’s favorite animal. How about that! Here again, I think God had me do it this way.
Q. What is the theme of your books?
A. In Biff and Becka’s Springtime Escapades, the theme is Biff’s doubts and insecurities about his own self-worth, the power of parents’ words over their children, and how both parent and child were changed. In my second book, Biff and Becka’s Stupendous Vacation, Biff learns to deal with keen disappointment when vacation plans have to be changed, and how God can turn it into something amazing.
Q. What is the target age and vocabulary for your books?
A. The vocabulary is for children seven to eleven years of age.
Q. Are your books for boys or girls?
A. Both; Biff and Becka are brother and sister, and do lots of things together.
Q. How did you come up with the titles?
A. The books target a year in the life of the rabbit family. Hence the titles Biff and Becka’s Springtime Escapades, Biff and Becka’s Stupendous Vacation and Biff and Becka’s Splendiferous Christmas. I worked to find words for the titles that began with “S”: Springtime, Stupendous, and Splendiferous.
Q. Are Biff and Becka based on real people in your life?
A. My oldest brother Stanley was the inspiration for some of the stories in my book. I am one year older than Stan, and I kind of picture myself being Becka in the story even though she is two years younger than Biff. She’s like a little “mother hen” over Biff, bossing him around, etc. My mom always said I was like a mother hen to Stan. My parents are Edwin and Elva, so I used their names, too.
Q. Will you write more books for children?
A. Beyond this trilogy, I have no plans or direction from the Lord to write more for children at this point.
Q. With so many children’s books on the market, what do you think makes yours memorable?
A. The discussion questions at the end of the books are an excellent way for parents and children to talk about the child’s friendships, feelings, actions they would take, etc. I think my book is unique in that it is boldly Christian and benefits both parent and child.
Q. Do you think you may expand to writing for adults sometime in the future?
A. Yes, as I have time and resources. The Lord has given me an idea for a devotional book and some Bible studies for women. I also want to write my memoirs, and I’ve been asked by several people to publish a cookbook.
Q. What was the most difficult aspect of writing children’s fiction?
A. The most difficult part was to learn to watch my POV, which means “point of view”. In writer’s terms, that means I have to write only from my character’s perspective: to write only what my character sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, thinks, knows, remembers, etc. I couldn’t write from the omniscient (knowing everything) point of view that was prevalent in the books and stories of my growing-up years. I had to learn to write in third person and use a scene break to show what another character was thinking. Often I re-wrote that section instead.
Q. Do you do research or travel anywhere for ideas?
A. Except for my memory and imagination, I haven’t gone to a place specifically to get ideas. I do lots of research on the internet about ideas I have, for how it could work in my story. For example, I did research on peeper frogs and how a cow turns green grass into white milk. I interviewed my mother and my husband for some things. I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand and also carry writing material with me in my purse to jot down inspired ideas that may strike at any time.