Dreams Coming True: Children’s Books that Teach Invaluable Lessons (plus a giveaway!)

Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

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Welcome Laura Allen Nonemaker, author of Catie’s Dream, to Dreams Coming True! Tell us a little about yourself, Laura.

DSCN0366 (5)I began writing as a child growing up in Bermuda. When my seventh grade teacher had one of my essays published in the local newspaper, The Royal Gazette, a seed was planted in my spirit of becoming a “real writer” someday.

During the summer before my senior year, I met my first husband, Bob, on a blind, double date at the beach arranged by my best friend and his best friend, who were already dating. We soon fell in love, but he was to be discharged from the Navy the following January. We married a year later and moved to his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

After our three children were grown, we decided to start a business at our kitchen table and ran it for eighteen years. Meanwhile, I joined a writing critique group and began to attend conferences and workshops. I became more consistent with my writing and was published a few times. We got involved in short-term missions and had a dream of becoming long term missionaries. Sadly, it was not to be. Bob succumbed to cancer before we could fulfill our dream. Following Bob’s passing, I joined a Grief Share class at church. There I met the man who was eventually to be my second husband. Paul and I became good friends, a friendship that turned into marriage six years later. We retired to Florida and spent six wonderful years together, until he unexpectedly went to heaven in September 2013. Paul was my biggest cheerleader and would tell me how proud he was of me. The memory of his encouraging words helps to keep me focused on continuing to develop my ministry to children through God’s Secret Garden Adventures.

When did this creative dream begin?

The first book in the God’s Secret Garden Adventures series was birthed in 2010, while I sat in my own secret garden praying for God’s direction for my writing. A little rabbit ran down the stone path, not an unusual occurrence, but this time, a scenario began to materialize in my mind. I immediately went to my computer and within minutes the basic story line for my first children’s book, Benny’s Angel, was finished.

How did the idea for Catie’s Secret get started?

Butterflies have a lot of symbolism for me, especially as they relate to new life and new beginnings. A friend introduced me to raising monarch butterflies and I became fascinated with the transformation process. I was looking for a topic for another book and my daughter suggested a story about a butterfly.

What makes your project stand out from the crowd?

Catie’s Secret is not just a colorful, entertaining children’s book. It carries within it a message that is timely. These days, bullying is one of the most serious social problems among children—and adults—in today’s society. Catie’s Secret uses the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly to show young children that it is unkind to tease or bully someone who looks, sounds, or acts different from them. The story teaches that God has placed a special secret—a plan—within every child.

HiResCover.jpgCatie-SmallWhat are the goals and intentions of your series?

My intention in writing Catie’s Secret and each of the God’s Secret Garden Adventures is to instill sound biblical values in young readers at an age when they are absorbing and storing away more information, whether good or bad, than they will at any time in their life.

How does this series create community?

My dream for Catie’s Secret and all the God’s Secret Garden Adventures is that they will become valuable tools for character formation in children’s lives.

Many have creative ideas but have trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly . . . but then enthusiasm drizzles off?

I suggest writing out your vision for your idea. Detail what you want your idea to accomplish, and how it will benefit others. Set short term and long term goals for the process. Find an accountability partner who will support and encourage you in your progress.

What are some ways you promote your project?

I promote my books through social media, including my website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. I produce an e-mail newsletter that keeps people on my address list posted about new projects, my event schedule, giveaways, etc. I research author events, holiday festivals, bookstores, mom and pop stores, coffee shops, etc. where I can promote my books. I also do book readings, some with crafts that involve the children.

Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?

I have had to face the fact that although my publisher points me in the right direction, ultimately I am responsible for following through and showing up. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding at the same time. I think the secret is to be organized and to be realistic about the time commitment involved.

Where do you see God’s Secret Garden Adventures in five years?

I would like to have an app for God’s Secret Garden Adventures, with a lot of actions a child can initiate, such as the transformation of a butterfly, a flower opening and closing, a frog leaping, etc. Of course, there must be sound, too. An activity book is another dream I have for the series, and I have a concept for a board game.

Tell us about the next book in God’s Secret Garden Adventures.

Fred D’s Amazing Escape is in publication right now and will be released in early 2014. Fred D is a very determined little frog (D for Determined) who wants to explore outside God’s Secret Garden. In spite of warnings to stay in the garden where it is safe, Fred D disobeys and finds himself in trouble and very scared. He makes it home to God’s Secret Garden by the skin of his teeth, and he is determined never to disobey again.

How can we find your creative dream come true?

My website. And I invite you to visit my blog and share on Facebook and Twitter, if you will. Thank you and God bless you.

 

 

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway, a copy of Chasing God, Connie Hendryx! Email info@suzannewoodsfisher.com to claim your prize!

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Catie’s Secret. Winner will be announced in two weeks! 

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Good news! Amish Values for Your Family is only $2.99 on NookKindle, and CBD until November 27! And you can get The Choice for FREE from NookKindle, and CBD from now until December 31! 

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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Jackie McNutt says:

    Suzanne, Thank you for introducing Laura and her books.
    what an amazing set of adventure books that have such inspiring influence on children. I love the way she uses garden characters to draw children into her books and opens the world up for them. I agree bullying has become one of the harshest realities facing them today .
    Thank you for review. I will look forward to these books for my grandchildren.

  2. Kathy says:

    These sound like very good books and I can’t wait to share them with my grandchildren.

  3. Joannah Cotta says:

    Oh how inspiring. All my kids and grandkids love reading books like Caties secret. Great interview, I look forward to checking out your web and blogs about all your children’s books.

  4. MS Barb says:

    Your books sound delightful! My grandson, who is in kindergarten, LOVES to be read to! WE would enjoy reading this series! THANKS for sharing your story!

  5. What a wonderful book series! I know my children will enjoy these special stories and I wish you much success!!

  6. Connie Hendryx says:

    What a great ministry to kids! Thanks for sharing her story (and for the contest….so cool that I won last week’s!!).

  7. LeAnn Mooneyham says:

    Thank you Suzanne for a new author for my daughter. She loves to read but has a hardtime finding books to keep her interests and has trouble reading we are working with her. She loves the Lily Series and would love new author too. Thanks.

  8. Suzanne, thank you so much for sharing information about my latest book, Catie’s Secret, and God’s Secret Garden Adventures in general. God bless you and all who are making such positive and inspiring comments about my books!

  9. Linda says:

    These look like great books. Thanks for sharing and for this giveaway!

  10. Sharyl B. says:

    I love the message in these books. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Angie Carroll says:

    my almost ten year old loves to read and I am sure that she would love this book!

  12. Joanne Richel says:

    Thanks for introducing me to Laura and her God’s Secret Garden Series, I am going to purchase some for my grand children for Christmas presents.

  13. Ola Norman says:

    Great interview! This sounds like a good book.

  14. Charissa says:

    Suzanne, this books sounds so precious! What an amazingly beautiful idea for a children’s book series. I love knowing there are children’s books such as these out there that I can share with my children, and that will help teach and guide them in Godly ways. Thank you so much for sharing with us and for this giveaway!! 🙂 Smile and God Bless!!!

  15. Susan says:

    This book sounds good. What an interesting interview.

  16. Vicky D says:

    Love any books that help my grandkids get to know God!

  17. melissa call says:

    My daughter’s name is Catie! Would love to win this and share with her such a wonderful story.

  18. Mary Preston says:

    This is just wonderful thank you.

  19. This sounds wonderful. I would to have it for my gkids. Love reading to them and what wonderful messages.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

  20. Jan Hall says:

    I am always thrilled to find books for my grandkids and the kids at church that are fun to read and have a message. I think kids remember the lesson especially when they don’t realize they are being taught. I look forward to reading your books.

  21. Linda Kish says:

    This looks like a very sweet book. It would make a great gift for my DIL’s nieces.

  22. Donna D says:

    My children are grown, and my grandchildren are also already grown, or soon to be. But I’m still interested in children’s stories, especially those that can teach and show God’s love and his way of living our lives. Hubby is a pastor, and in each of the churches he’s served, there has been a children’s program — and books are important. AND there’s been a time or two when he’s read a book to the children during the children’s moment/sermon.

  23. So want these for my children for our homeschooling.
    Blessings
    linda Finn
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

  24. Connie R. says:

    These books sound great. Would love to win one for my granddaughters!

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