Posted by: nancyisanders | November 22, 2021

Author Interview: Kelly Wilson Mize

Meet Author Kelly Wilson Mize!

Follow her and connect with another fellow Christian KidLit author on social media today!

Website: Kelly Wilson Mize

Instagram: kelly_wilson_mize

Twitter: @kellywilsonmize

Facebook: @kellywilsonmize

FEATURED BOOK

The Beautiful Story Within Me

by Kelly Wilson Mize

Art by Mark Brayer

Support your local bookstore and order it in. Or order it online at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

The Beautiful Story Within Me is a lyrical tale of love and redemption. Bringing the classic adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to life with a surprising twist, the vibrantly illustrated book, rooted in simple Biblical truth, is an enchanting adventure for both children and adults.

INTERVIEW

Q: Please tell us the story behind the story of why you wrote this book.

A: A few years ago, when I was an elementary librarian, I started thinking about all the books on the library shelves that were never or rarely checked out. Sadly, most of those books were overlooked because their covers were old and worn out. Many of the tattered books were full of wonderful stories and ideas, but were literally being ‘judged by their covers.’ I often spent time repairing the worn books the best I could, so that more children could enjoy them. But books age, just like we do. Does that make their content diminish? I started comparing the characteristics of people–all of us loved and treasured by Jesus–to books on a library shelf.

The age-old advice, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is not only wise, but it’s also Biblical. I wanted to write a book that took the old adage and brought it to life in a way that was uplifting–one that I hoped would be encouraging for people of all ages.

Note: The gray cat in the book is a tribute to our family cat, Chester, who lived to be 15. Chester grew up along with my children and died not long before I finished The Beautiful Story Within Me. Since my library students always loved to hear storiesabout animals in the library, I wanted to make sure there was a cat in my story. And I knew the perfect model! I also gave my illustrator photos of my children when they were young, and he drew two of the kids in the crowd scene to resemble them.

Q: Can you share the journey you took to get this book published?

A: I have been a freelance writer for the past 20 years. Before this book, I had a lot of relative “success” doing contract work for publishers. On paper, I had a ton of writing experience, but still had not ever written a full-length, stand-alone piece that was completely mine. So, a couple of years ago, I took the plunge. I consulted with a writing acquaintance who had recently self-published two picture books. I asked her lots of questions about the publisher she worked with to create her books, and ultimately chose the same independent publishing company she used (Palmetto). And here I am! It’s been a moment-by-moment learning experience for me, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to have my own book published–and available to readers all over the world. All in God’s time. 

Q: What other kinds of writing do you do along with your picture book?

A: I’ve written a variety of material for both children and adults, online and in print. Over the years, I’ve written articles, devotionals (for kids and adults), and children’s curriculum for Lifeway Christian Resources on a regular basis. Several years ago, I interviewed a number of well-known people in the faith-based community for Lifeway’s ParentLife magazine. My most memorable interviews were with Patricia Heaton (from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Max Lucado. I will always treasure those experiences and feel so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.

When my children were small, I also wrote a weekly community column in a newspaper for a while (remember actual paper newspapers?!). 

I still write devotionals, short stories for compilation books, and curriculum whenever I can. I feel like writing, with the purpose of encouraging others (and myself!), is a God-given mission. I am always open to new writing/speaking experiences and look forward to seeing what God has in store for me next.

Q: Do you have a word or two of advice for your fellow KidLit authors?

A: Work hard, pray hard, and learn as much as you can from experts in the field. But also–try not to compare your success to the success of other writers. We all have our own gifts and each person’s journey is unique.

If you love to write and feel called to it–make time to write! But don’t let writing become your entire identity. If you do, the inevitable rejection and setbacks will discourage you and affect your confidence in a way that is unhealthy. Remember, you are a whole person, with great worth and many talents, not just writing!

NOTE FROM NANCY

Not too long ago, I connected with Kelly because we both recently joined an amazing network of Christian writers at just about the same time, AWSA, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. When I learned about Kelly’s book and we began networking together, I fell in love with this beautiful picture book she has written. It moved me in such a powerful way I bought 4 copies to give as Christmas gifts this year! First of all, I encourage you to read Kelly’s book. You’ll see how powerful of a message it has for us as writers and for every child of God. Secondly, I encourage you to join AWSA and take advantage of this amazing community of Christian writers. Don’t go into the new year alone!

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your amazing story behind this anointed book here for my blog readers.


Responses

  1. Nice interview–I always enjoy reading about authors’ journeys to publication!

    • I agree, Carol. I love learning the story behind the story.

  2. I love the story of Kelly’s concern for those unread books in her library, and how this evolved into The Story Within Me. It sounds like a lovely and encouraging book. Thank you, Nancy for interviewing Kelly.

    • You’re welcome, Kathy! And yes, I was so interested to hear the story behind this precious story.

  3. Thank you, Kelly and Nancy, for sharing the interview. I enjoyed the information and insights. Best wishes to you, Kelly, on your book’s journey!

    • You’re welcome, Ev! It was a joy to share Kelly’s new book with you.


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