Her innovative preteen devotional for boys, Dare U to Open This Book, won the 2015 Selah Award for Children’s Literature. There’s an equally engaging girls’ devotional too, titled Just Sayin’.
Carol’s a wife, mom, and soon-to-be grandma! She’s a teacher and a thinker.
I’m happy to have this talented author here today!
Carol, how long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
In the Christian and education markets for about 12 years, but I started writing for my students long before that. Originally, I was a teacher of the hearing impaired. At that time, it was difficult to find books and articles that were a good match for my elementary students’ interests and their reading level. The college program I attended at Illinois State University had taught me to rewrite things already in print, and I got lots of on-the-job training in writing and rewriting.
What impact has teaching had on your writing?
I am surrounded by preteen readers all day. I see the kinds of books they read and the books they toss back on the shelf. I also have the awesome opportunity to see the things that are huge to kids —what things excite them, worry them, and challenge them.
Why did you decide to write about your faith?
My faith has always been huge in my life. In fact, I was called to exercise my faith as a college freshman. It is a long story, but I wanted with all my heart to teach children with hearing impairments. I almost missed that opportunity because of some well-intended advice. I had to wait two years to see if I would be accepted into the program I wanted. THAT was a time of much prayer, soul-searching, and waiting faith.
Now I think that God actually used the well-intended advice to test my heart for sincerity in serving Him and for me to grow in my faith. I want young readers to grow in their faith, too. I pray that my writing will influence them to do that.
Where did you get the idea for your devotional books?
One day my students were returning from a Scholastic Book Fair. I noticed that they all had a similar style of book, something that allowed them to write or doodle their responses to questions. They were so engaged with the books, we actually cancelled reading class that day so they could spend more time reading for fun.
I wondered why we didn’t have devotional books that engaged preteens in the same way and decided I wanted to write devotionals in the same format. Zonderkidz agreed with me, and in the fall of 2014, the books came out.
What do you most enjoy about writing for young people?
I love to see young readers explore ideas for themselves through reading. When kids are 10 to 12, they start to be challenged by their peers to follow the group instead of what they have been taught at home and at church. I love writing things that early readers, preteens, or teens can read on their own and be encouraged to grow in their faith and stand strong when they are challenged.
What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I hope to write more books for children and teens. Besides devotionals, I’d like to try my hand at writing fiction. In fact, I have some titles in both those genres that are in the works right now.
That’s fabulous! When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I love to spend time with my family. We have a very shy cat named Luna and a happy, energetic dog named Bear. I also love growing mammoth sunflowers that peek over our fence to tell the neighbors hi.
Sounds wonderful. I’d love to pay a visit and see those sunflowers!
Find my 5-star review of Carol’s devotionals here.