Posted by: nancyisanders | September 23, 2011

Author Interview: Doraine Bennet

Meet Author Doraine Bennett!
E-mail: pdbennett@knology.net
Blog: Dori Reads
Web site: Doraine Bennett: Children’s Book Author

Bio:
Bennett has been a pastor’s wife, woman’s Bible study leader and Christian speaker for 20 years. After home schooling four children, she finished her degree in professional writing at Columbus State University. Since then, she has published 28 other nonfiction books.

She has also published poetry in the “Birmingham Arts Journal” and “Innisfree Poetry Journal.” She teaches writing classes at Columbus State University Continuing Education and has been the editor of the U.S. Army’s “Infantry Bugler” for eight years.
Bennett is also a literacy resource consultant and representative for Delaney Educational Enterprises and speaks at national conferences.

Featured Book:
Doraine Bennett’s newly released book, Sing Dance Shout!: 30 Days of Praise, published by Christian Focus Publications, teaches adolescents the meaning of “Yadah,” “Zomar,” and “Shabach,” among other Hebrew words for praising God. Praise projects at the end of each chapter help middle school age youth apply the many ways to praise God in their everyday lives. The book teaches them what praise really is and how to express their praise to a faithful and loving God.

Interview
Q: Describe the journey you took to land the contract for this book.
A: The journey to this book
was really a continuation of the journey I began with you. After following your Book in a Month posts, I learned the value and the method of targeting a publisher and submitting a proposal. I ran across a blurb in Children’s Writer Marketplace featuring Christian Focus Publishing. They were looking for middle grades devotional books. I checked their website to see what they had already published. They had a wonderful list of books for younger children. Most of the older line included biographies. The only middle grades devotional I found was based on the names of God.

I began to brainstorm what I could write that might fit with that book. I had recently been to a woman’s conference where a lovely, energetic dancer (who usually works with children) presented a session on worship. She talked about the Hebrew words for praise. I put the two ideas together and thought, “I can do that.” So I emailed the editor a short query asking if she was interested in the idea. She responded pretty quickly and asked me to send her three chapters and a table of contents. I set to work and got those to her. She liked them and wanted to see the whole book.

Now at this point I had no contract. She wanted an entire book and she wanted to send it out to readers before she committed. I should mention that this is not standard, as far as I know, in the American market, but Christian Focus is a small publisher in Scotland. They are listed in the Christian Writers Market Guide and the compiler presents them in a positive light. So I took about four months and wrote the rest of the book. After I sent it to her, I waited. She eventually came back and offered me a contract.

Click on this link to read the blog post I wrote as I was wrestling with a decision on this somewhat non-traditional offer.


Q: How do you hope to touch the hearts of children through this book?
A: It’s so easy to compartmentalize our lives.
Children do it, too, especially in those agonizing adolescent years. They go to church on Sunday, consider themselves Christians, mean to love God with their whole heart, and on Monday they slip into depression, or bully their peers, or cheat on a math test. The pressures children face today are so different from what we faced, or even what our children faced. Praise is a tool that opens our eyes to the wonder of God. If I can put that tool in a child’s hand, help them come into the presence of God, help them connect the compartments of their life, help them understand how to live in the world but not of it, then I will have succeeded.

Q: What are some of the benefits and challenges to writing a children’s devotional?
A: The challenge is
to write on their level without talking down. Children know immediately when you’re trying to be the adult who knows everything. Most of them have someone like that in their life already. They don’t need it and won’t read it in a book. They need an invitation, one that intrigues, encourages, delights. And the benefit in creating that invitation is that you, as a writer, enter into that realm of adventure with them.

Q: Share one tip you’d like to give to a children’s writer who wants to get a book published in the Christian market.
A: Learn your craft.
Do what’s necessary to become an excellent writer. Take classes, workshops, do your own independent studies. Don’t settle for mediocrity in your writing. Don’t be afraid to learn from those in the secular world. I think non-Christians are often turned off by Christian writers who focus on the message without making sure the method of delivery is well-crafted. When Moses built the Tabernacle, when Solomon built the Temple, they used the best materials and excellent craftsmen. Yes, they were inspired craftsmen, but they also developed their skills by use and practice. I think that’s the best advice I can give anyone.


Responses

  1. Doraine, it’s great to have you here visiting my blog today. Congratulations on your wonderful new book! Hugs, Nancy

  2. Congratulations on your new book, Doraine! I enjoyed the interview.
    ~Tina

  3. Thanks for hosting me, Nancy. I always enjoy hanging out with you. Maybe one day we can meet in real life!

    Tina, I appreciate you stopping by to read. Best wishes on your own projects.

    Doraine


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