Thursday, April 7, 2016
The Word is Where It’s At for this Cat
1. What inspired you to be a writer and to write your first book? Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The inspiration to write this book began when I noticed our real life rescue cat, Oliver, who is wild and super-energetic by nature, strangely calms down and becomes peaceful when my husband and I read our morning daily devotionals aloud. It wasn’t just a one-time occurrence, but became a consistent and regular behavior we observed. After a while I joked with my husband and said we should call him “Scripture Cat”!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The only memory I have of my interest in writing was when I was ten or eleven years old. I used to go down in my parent’s office and type Soap Opera scripts on an electric typewriter! I remember the title was “Problems in Paradise” and that I would get absolutely engrossed in doing this, losing track of time because I loved doing it. My childhood passion has been re-awakened 30+ years later!
2. Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp?
Absolutely! The mission of the Scripture Cat book series is “to encourage children to know God more and engage with Him daily”. I had the realization that in my own journey with Christ, I would experience women’s bible studies and videos of the leading teachers telling us exactly how to have a relationship with Christ. They teach us how to pray, what to say, and practical steps in which to take to strengthen our bond with Jesus and to grow in relationship. I haven’t seen much available aimed at the middle year readers to demonstrate and encourage them just how to get started in a daily relationship with their Lord and Savior. This is the important stage in their lives for this to happen as the world begins to lure them in many different directions during this period of time. This age can be the defining time of children to formulate who they are in the world and what their morals and standards are going to be for their lives. I wanted to put something out to them that was relatable and whimsical, yet serious about directing them to Christ.
3. How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your life?
Scripture Cat is based on our real life rescue situation when our truck broke down on the way to a camping trip for the summer, traveling from Maryland to Florida. While at the car dealership, Oliver’s measly meow caught the ears of my two daughters. He was
impossible to catch so we had pretty much given up until my ten year old approached him saying “it’s ok, I’m going to take care of you” and he let her pick him up! The rest is history!
4. Would you like to share a little of your current work in progress or ideas for your next novel?
“Scripture Cat: A Cat-i-tude of Gratitude” is coming soon, along with a daily devotional entitled “Laying S.O.D” (Scripture of the Day) so that children can establish a daily practice of daily devotionals and spending time in God’s word.
5. What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?
I have been encouraged on my walk with the Lord from Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, to name a few. I recently read a book entitled “Making the Right Decisions” by Karen Jensen Salisbury, which has been an influence on how I pray to God. Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” had a profound impact on reframing the view of my life events and understanding the breaking of generational curses.
6. Do you work with an outline or do you just write?
I have to admit, I am not a fan of rules or too much structure. I like to sit down in front of the computer and let the Holy Spirit open the gates and let the story-line flow out! My first draft of Scripture Cat took me about four hours and I had one re-write after a coffee date with a new friend who used to be a publisher with a well known company in New York. Her advice to me was to share the story, not just tell it. So I went back through the story and tried to really share the sights, smells, thoughts and feelings of Oliver the cat.
7. Do you ever experience writers block? If so, how do you combat it?
I pick my times to write and usually when I get going, the story takes on a life of it’s own!
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you have a story on your heart, take the time to write it down. My mantra during this whole process is to not base my joy of this project based solely on the final outcome, but to enjoy and savor each step in this process. I realized that I have robbed myself out of much joy in my life because I was only focused on the finish line. How foolish of me! That is only a fleeting moment of the journey and then we as humans tend to more right on to the next thing! No more, I am going to be intentional and celebrate every step of
progress and blessing that has come along with this experience. I would encourage everyone to live their lives in that same way with whatever it is they are doing.
9. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? What were/are the challenges (for example: research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bring your works to life?
For me it’s putting aside what others may think of the book or what I have created. I believe God orchestrated the events that inspired this book for His glory and to reach an audience for Him. Some people will see great value in it while others won’t think twice about it.
10. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
God has revealed to me two weeks AFTER Scripture Cat was released a deeper purpose for this book series and for my life. As I mentioned earlier, my initial motivation for writing this book was fueled from the observation of a lack of material for children (ages 7-12) with practical insights into how to grow closer to Jesus. My two daughters are in that age group and I also teach a fifth grade group of girls at my church.
In "Scripture Cat: The Word is Where It's At" Oliver tells of how he loses his Mama and siblings to Animal control, gets adopted by a loving Christian family and is ultimately directed to a relationship with Christ by listening to their daily morning devotionals. I suddenly dawned on me that the story-line parallel in which I had written had a similar likeness to what I experienced as a child, as I was a child of an incarcerated parent 30 years before. I know firsthand the despair of having my father taken away from me and the devastation it has on children and families. This is true for any children with adverse family circumstances such as foster kids, orphans, children of parents with addictions... the list goes on and on.
I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood covering up the fact that my Dad had gone to prison. It was embarrassing, shameful and just not something I wanted to be known about me. Many years have gone by and God has blessed me with a family of my own and many positive life experiences. I know the Lord now and I want others to know Him too and experience the redemption, grace and peace He so kindly extends to all of His Children! It’s time that I embrace my truth and it be used for good. My hope is that I can be an example to this generation of hurting children and show them that life truly goes on. Jesus has plans for their lives!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 For more information and how you can help, please visit www.scripturecat.com. You can also be a “Foliver”, a follower of Oliver, on twitter @scripturecat, instagram @scripture_cat and facebook.com/scripturecat.