It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!!! Welcome one and all to the exciting #32AuthorScavengerHunt! This is Stop #4 and I’m hosting an interview of the amazing author of Christian history for kids, Simonetta Carr.
Here’s the scoop on how this Scavenger Hunt works. Collect the CLUE on each post, beginning at STOP #1 and ending at the FINAL STOP. Then head on over to fill out the entire clue on THIS SITE.
What are you playing this Scavenger Hunt for? AWESOME (did I mention AMAZING?!) prizes!!! Like a grand prize of an iPad Mini and a copy of every author’s featured book! Second and Third prizes include a copy of every book featured on the hunt, too! Plus, many of the individual sites have awesome giveaways going on, too, (Like this one…see below) so be sure to check out each one! (So sorry, but this contest is only open for US mailing addresses.)
You have oodles of time to visit each author’s site and get to know the faces and hearts behind the voices of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite!) Christian authors for kids! Thanks to Karen Whiting for hosting my interview on her site!
The Scavenger Hunt starts Friday, November 29 and ends on Friday, December 6, 2013. That’s a whole week! So put on your favorite Christmas music (Right now, mine is Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin) and grab some hot apple cider and a plate of Christmas cookies and enjoy this wonderful journey of all things children’s books! (Well, maybe you shouldn’t eat the WHOLE plate of cookies!!!)
As I shared, I’m hosting an interview of amazing Christian children’s author Simonetta Carr. After you get to know more about Simonetta and her wonderful books, be sure to write down the clue, sign up for my BOOK AND MAGAZINE BONANZA GIVEAWAY, and continue on to the next stop on the hunt. And now here’s Simonetta!!!!
Meet Author Simonetta Carr!
Website: Christian Biographies For Young Readers
Facebook Author’s Page: CBFYR
Simonetta Carr was born in Italy and has lived and worked in different cultures. A former elementary school teacher, she has home-schooled her eight children for many years. She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband Thomas and family. She is a member and Sunday School teacher at Christ United Reformed Church.
Anselm of Canterbury
Author: Simonetta Carr
Illustrator: Matt Abraxas
Available at your favorite bookstore!
Also at Christianbook.com
Barnes and Noble
Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: I never thought I would write a book! I always loved writing, but I mostly used my skills to translate other books (from English into Italian, my first language) and write articles about other people. Apart from that, I didn’t think I had anything to say that was worth publishing.
The opportunity to write a book came when, as a home-schooling mother, I noticed a lack of good children’s biographies of Christian thinkers, especially theologians. You can find some of my thoughts on this subject on my blog post, Church History for Children. This recent interview at The Gospel Coalition gives a further explanation at Your Kids Need Christian History, Too.
I would never have found the motivation to write if I had not been so struck by the need for this type of high quality, factual biographies focusing on the history of Christian thought rather than on moral examples.
Q: How do you write? What’s a normal writing day like for you?
A: As you probably know, I have eight children, and even if most of them are grown and living on their own, I am still very busy. Things change all the time, but right now I have four at home – two in high school, one in college, and one just back from the army, so I am still busy cooking, shopping, cleaning, driving the younger kids, and dealing with life in general. I also do translations and teach Italian to supplement our income (or, in the case of Christian translations, to further the gospel message). So writing really takes up only that spare time I can devote to it, which is not much. On the other hand, it is always a joy, and I am very passionate about my projects, so I always make time.
I normally have a few writing projects going at the same time – a new book, some articles, reviews, etc. The book may be at different stages of production. Initially I just do a lot of research. I get piles of books and read about my subject. After a few months of reading, I get so full of the subject that I write the whole book (only about twelve typewritten pages) in a day or two. I write everything I know without caring about form. Later I review each paragraph very slowly. Sometimes I just look at a paragraph and then go back to my household or family chores and ruminate over the same thoughts until I get them right. I do this for the whole book. I also look for photos and write a guideline for the illustrator. In the meantime, I still read more books, and as my understanding of each character and time period increases, I go back and retouch certain portions, much like an artist does with an oil painting.
When I am satisfied with the manuscript, I send it to some experts in the specific field I am covering and wait for their responses. Sometimes they disagree with each other, so I have to engage in a deeper discussion to understand all facets of the situation. I try to have a variety of experts. For my book on Athanasius, I received assistance from a Protestant, a Roman Catholic, and a Greek Orthodox. The experts also help me to finalize the details of the illustrations, especially those related to clothing and architecture.
Q: What are some of the challenges of writing for your audience?
A: Most of my books are for children, who are a delightful and challenging audience. I have increased the challenge by choosing to write about theologians. How do you explain the doctrine of substitutionary atonement in two or three paragraphs? Or the Arian controversy? Right now, as I write about Jonathan Edwards, I am trying to explain deism and Arminianism. I was encouraged when I read that Anselm of Canterbury had a similar struggle (needless to say, on a much higher level) when he wrote his Proslogion. I have worked a lot as a translator, so I see this challenge as translating theological thoughts into a language children can understand. Now you see why I need to ruminate for days…
I faced different challenges when writing for young adults (Weight of a Flame, published by P&R) and for adults (Renée of France, published by Evangelical Press). I call Weight of a Flame a semi-fictional biography, because the main information is historically accurate, but I had to imagine what the characters would have said, how they met, what they wore, etc. I must say this went a little against my grain at first, but I finally just embraced the task and had lots of fun. I think authors must use a different part of the brain when they write fiction. They have to let go of fears and mental rigidity and immerse themselves in the story and the time period by engaging all their senses. They also have to give space to their intuitions and perceptions. They can’t hide behind some comfortable modifiers, such as “probably,” “maybe,” “it seems that,” “some say”… I have a lot of respect for fiction writers.
For Renée of France, the main challenge was finding the information with the little material we have available, but as a biography aimed at an adult audience, I found the task of writing much easier than in the other cases.
Q: In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
A: In light of Luther’s doctrine of vocation, I try to take this job seriously as opportunity to serve others – working hard, setting high standards and striving for quality and accuracy. I keep my goal in mind and try to help children to understand the richness of their Christian heritage and God’s work of preservation of his church throughout the ages.
I also earnestly hope these books will be useful to young readers outside the Christian community. In recent centuries, Christians have created what has been called a “ghetto mentality,” raising walls to protect them and divide them from the rest of their culture. This has prevented many Christians not only from engaging with others at a deeper level and from enjoying and appreciating the artistic and intellectual achievements of all God’s image-bearers, but also from enriching the culture with the distinctive insights their faith and understanding of Christian theology can provide.
For example, Christians can make valuable and unique contributions to the study of history in general. At the end of his book, Lady Jane Grey, A Tudor Mystery, Eric Ives writes, “In the West, growing secularization ensures that relatively few people even understand the issues which meant so much to [Jane].” The fact is, similar issues meant so much to generations of people and, in many cases, much of the past remains unlocked or only superficially investigated.
Q: What will be your next title?
A: The next title is John Knox, the seventh book in my series of Christian Biographies for Young Readers (Reformation Heritage Books). It will be out in February 2014. CLICK HERE to read some endorsements. If you are interested in the artistic process, you can see how the illustrator, Matt Abraxas, finished up one of the images by CLICKING HERE.
THE #31AUTHORSCAVENGERHUNT CLUE!!!
And here’s the CLUE for Stop #4:
Next Stop on the Scavenger Hunt for Clue #5 is Simonetta Carr’s very own site. If you want to start at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt or are ready to enter the full phrase (clue) head on over HERE.
BONUS GIVEAWAY!! BONUS GIVEAWAY!! BONUS GIVEAWAY!!
BOOK AND MAGAZINE BONANZA
Sign up for the chance to win these books I’ve written! What a great Christmas gift for kids on your list, your favorite writing buddies…or just for you!
2 how-to books for children’s writers
*Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books…
*Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers…
3 chapter books
*Mystery on Warrior Ridge
*Imagination Station Series #10: Challenge on the Hill of Fire
*Imagination Station Series #12: Danger on a Silent Night
3 picture books
*The King’s Silverware
*D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet
and a whole bunch of Christian kids’ magazines!
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Sign up to “Follow” my blog and get my occasional e-news via e-mail.
The button is in the sidebar on the right.
(If you’ve already done that before today, just post a comment here to let me know or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Step 2: CLICK HERE to register on Rafflecopter for the chance to win my BOOK AND MAGAZINE BONANZA.
(Contestants must have a continental US address where prize can be shipped.)