I love connecting with my readers! Here is an email interview I did with a reader named Rebekah!
1 What book, by you, or someone else, would you recommend?
That’s a hard one because I’ve read so many great books! I think the best thing is for a girl to read stories revolving around things that interest her. I always liked mysteries when I was younger, so I read all of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books. I also love books that are inspired by true stories, like “Soul Surfer,” by Bethany Hamilton. Action, outdoor adventure and suspense is fun for me to read, as long as it doesn’t get too violent. One middle-grade book I liked recently was “Code of Silence,” by Tim Shoemaker.
Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids is book two in the Good News Shoes series. I’d recommend reading that if you want to find out about more about wearing the Good News Shoes! Also, Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari will be released on September 2, 2014. You might be able to guess from the title where she ends up in that one.
2 Are you friends with other authors?
Yes! This is a favorite part of being a writer. Every year I attend the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s conference, and I spend the week with many interesting authors. We learn from each other and pray for each other. One of my highlights was spending a week in a critique group with Robin Jones Gunn, who has authored hundreds of books, including the popular Christy Miller novels for teens.
3 How did you get inspired to write the Good News Shoes books? Because of Ephesians 6:15?
I’ve worked in Children’s and youth ministry for many years, but my favorite group to work with is girls, ages 9-13. I think they are amazing. They are smart, funny and talented. But for some reason, the world really starts to press in on these girls and tell them that they aren’t valuable unless they look or act a certain way. Girls get caught up in these lies and lose their confidence in the process. So when I began writing, I prayed and asked God to give me ideas that would spark the imagination of these girls and encourage them to be themselves and use those talents He gave them to go out and spread the Good News of Jesus. I have always loved Ephesians 6, where Paul talks about the Armor of God. And then when I read about the shoes in verse 6:15, I thought, “Hey, girls love shoes! I wonder if I could tie that in with a book series.” Hence, the Good News Shoes!
4 When did you start writing for FaithGirlz! and how did they approach you about it?
I started writing the Good News Shoes series in 2009, and at the time I didn’t know it would be part of the FaithGirlz! line of books. I just prayed and prayed that it would be published someday. Then, in 2012, when I was at Mt. Hermon, I met the adult acquisitions editor for Zondervan, and I shared my manuscript with her. She forwarded it to the middle-grade acquisitions editor at Zonderkidz, and she contacted me and asked if they could publish the series. Of course I said YES! I was so excited, because I think that Riley Mae is a great character to represent FaithGirlz!
5 Do you have a favorite color?
Turquoise and pink! I think that’s where Riley Mae gets it. Oh, and lately I like orange. It’s a great compliment to bright pink!
6 Did you have to do a lot of research to write Riley Mae and The Rock Shocker Trek?
Yes. Even though the book is fiction, I wanted it to be realistic. I researched advertising agencies, the cities of Fresno and Clovis (which is funny since I ended up moving there in 2011), softball schedules, police departments and hospitals with heliports. And even though I had hiked to the top of Half Dome in August of 2003, I had to review all aspects of the hike again. It was amazing all the things I had forgotten. And I had to research the littlest things, like can you get cell phone reception on the top of Half-Dome? The answer is yes, but barely. Just enough to receive a text like the one Riley Mae receives from her mom in the book. I think the most interesting research I did for this book was about accidents and rescues that take place in Yosemite each year. It’s kind of shocking to read about the predicaments people get themselves into in nature!
7 Is there a fact about you that you would like to share?
Sure! Riley Mae is the name of my oldest granddaughter! I started writing the series when she was one. She’s six now, and although she is different from the Riley Mae in the book, her favorite color is pink too, and she’s starting to look a lot like the girl on the cover of Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek!