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Author Interview With Diana Waring

This week is the official launch of Diana Waring’s new Experience History Through Music series. This series includes 3 different sets of CDs featuring some of our country’s best loved folk music, as well as their accompanying books that tell the stories behind the songs. Our review for these fantastic products will be posted tomorrow. Until then, I would like to share a bit more with you about the author, Diana Waring, and an interview with her, in which she gives insight into her creation of this series.

About Diana Waring

DianaWaring_headshotAuthor of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest and Diana Waring’s History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that “the key to education is relationship.” Beginning in the early ’80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

Author Interview With Diana Waring


1. What was your life like musically as you were growing up? Did you take lessons, sing with your family, in a church choir, etc.?


I ALWAYS loved music. . . I was always singing, started playing clarinet in 4th grade, oboe in 7th grade (!!!), taught myself to play guitar in 10th grade.

I was an only child, my parents were not musical, and we did not attend church. . .

But music WAS in my grandparents’ lives. My father’s father played guitar and sang before he had a stroke in 1953 (there is a FASCINATING story there — tell you later), and my mother’s father played various string instruments and sang, as well. I have met folks who knew him, and they tell me he was a fabulous story-teller and a fun musician.

Once I learned to play guitar (in 1969), I started doing folk music whenever I had the chance. If you can believe this, I even tried to get permission to play in bars when I was 15. After I became a Christian, I started playing worship music for prayer meetings. . .

Which led to me becoming the worship leader at our Christian fellowship in college and at the church I attended.

Since music was one of my greatest motivators, I expected to continue in that realm. . . particularly within church settings. It was unexpected to have the door suddenly open up in 1989 to create these American folk music recordings–but I loved the songs and the genre of music!!

Now, here we are, 25 years later, and I am absolutely THRILLED to have this musical part of my life come back!! I pulled out my 12-string, donned my historic costume, and sang folk songs in Greenville, Cincinnati and Harrisburg this spring — and it was a JOY!!


2. How did you start writing history books?


The very first book I wrote WAS a history book—an earlier version of “America.”  As I have shared in the back story, when a friend suggested that it would be beneficial to attend a homeschool convention—and the only way I could afford to get in was to become a workshop presenter—the idea of marrying American folk music to American history seemed like such fun that I had to write a book!  (And help create the folk music recording!!)


One thing often leads to another.  Doing workshops on making history come alive using musicexposed me to the notion that there are many other wonderful ways to make history come alive, like literature, geography, the Bible, science, art, architecture, cooking and more.


All of this melded together when I started teaching my own children world history in 1992.  There were so many things I wanted to knowabout how events recorded in the Bible impacted the ancient cultures of the time. . . seeing the “secular” civilizations through Scripture and better understanding Scripture in light of those civilizations.


I was SO excited about what we were learning that I started telling others at homeschool conventions. . . which led to the History Revealed curriculum (20 years in the making).  Nine books in that series (plus nine sets of audio CDs), plus two of the three American folk music/history books (and CDs) make a grand total of 11 books on history that I have had the opportunity toresearch and write!


Goodness!  I had no idea when I started homeschooling that I would learn so much.  🙂


3. What is your favorite period of history?


My standard answer is that my favorite period of history is the one I am currently studying!!


I think the deeper answer, though, is that I have always been fascinated by the incredible drama of WWII and its aftermath.  I was born in Germany ten years after the end of WWII, and when it dawned on me as a fifth grader that my birthplace was at the epicenter, the reality that history HAPPENED engaged my heart and mind.


Add to that the fact that my grandfather was the chairman of the National Security Resources Board, appointed by President Harry Truman in 1951.  He was the man responsible for putting the resources of America to work if we went into another world warwhich was not a far-fetched idea in 1951 as we engaged in the Korean War and the early Cold War.  I still remember listening to my grandfather say, “Diana, we must always know what the Russians are doing. . .”  The Cold War was not a newspaper headline to him, it was VERY real.


So, with all of the personal family history, I think it is safe to say that WWII and the Cold War are, by far, the most fascinating to me.


4. Have your kids followed in your music-loving/performing footsteps (on any level)?


Yes!  All three of my kids play instruments, all three love various types of music, and all three still enjoy singing with me whenever we get together!


My oldest, Isaac, is actually an amazing musician.  He plays numerous instruments, often more than one at a time—which wows audiences!  He has a huge baritone voice, which can fill a room faster than most.  One of the most incredible things about Isaac is that, in performance, he can ask for words or phrases from the audience, then compose a song on the spot with those words—and it is so catchy that people will walk out the door singing the song!!


Mike is more of an athlete than a musician, but he plays bass guitar, Australian didgeridoo, and he sings both melody and harmony with a fabulous tenor voice!  He wrote one of the most delightful songs I’ve ever heard:  “Round Trip Ticket to Samoa”. . . which we always thought would be a stunning song for travel agents.  🙂


Melody was my classically-trained musician.  She studied classical piano very seriously, as she prepared to go to a conservatory and then into the world of concert pianists.  Dr. Jay Wile, who attended her senior recital, told me that he was blown away with her musical talent. Tragically, when she entered the conservatory, she developed severe pain (which continues to baffle doctors) that prevented her from continuing in music.  I absolutely melt, though, when she comes to visit and plays once again on my grandmother’s piano.  She loves, loves, loves music.  (The tragedy turned to beautywhen she began serving refugees, those in poverty, and youth-at-risk.  She is amazing.)


5. Of all the songs in the three new books, which songs are your favorites?


I LOVE “Ho for California” in Westward Ho!  Somehow, this one became my favorite. . . I remember the day we drove across the Sacramento River as a family, on our way to a homeschooling event in California, singing at the top of our lungs, “Then, ho, brothers, ho, to California go.  There’s plenty of gold in the world we’re told on the banks of the Sacramento. . .”


“Gooey Duck”  was, by far, the most popular song that we performed in our concerts.  There is something so catchy about this song!  Also, as I was writing the original Westward Ho! book, I chatted with my grandfather about gooey ducks (giant clams).  He chuckled and told me that though they were plentiful in Puget Sound waters when he was a lad, they were SO ugly that people avoided eating them unless they were desperate.  That has tickled me ever since. . .


“Sweet Betsy From Pike” is another favorite, included in America. It is such a singable ballad, and full of humorous possibilities.  It was a delight to sing it on the recording!!



6. Do you play a musical instrument. If so what? and how old were you when you started playing?


In chronological order, here are the instruments I play (don’t you know a historian would tell it chronologically???):


I learned to play clarinet in 4th grade.

Switched to oboe in 7th grade.

Switched to guitar (which I taught myself to play) in 10th grade, as braces made playing oboe impossible!!

Bought a mountain dulcimer and learned to play it when I was 17.

Learned to play recorder when I was 19. . . played it in the musical, “Godspell.”

Took some lessons on piano when I was 20, and kept working at it on my own.

Learned to play banjo when I was 23.

But my real instrument is voice!!!  I was a vocal major for a time in college, and have sung in concert choirs, as a worship leader, doing folk song concerts with my kids, and, last year I had the opportunity to sing Beethoven’s 9th symphony in Indianapolis!



7. Which of the songs in this series of books resonant the most with your life and why?

As a musician and storyteller, I love the possibilities of telling stories in music—ballads are an incredible art form.  “Old Settler” and “San Juan Pig War” are the two that I most enjoy singing for others, as they tell such memorable stories. . .


And, I love “Sweet By and By.”  We used to end our “Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale” concert with this song, and it never failed to bring me to tears. . .singing of our “bountiful Father above.


8. What value do you see in students learning America’s folk songs?

How many opportunities do we ever have to actually DO what our ancestors did?  As a real and normal part of our lives?  You and I live in a world that is vastly different than the time period represented in America, Westward Ho! and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And, yet, we can still sing and enjoy the very same songs they did, we can taste a tiny bite of history through the medium of folk songs, and we can experience America through it’s music!


Plus, it’s part of our American heritage.  It’s part of our history.  And what could be more fun than learning history through songs you can clap to, stomp to, and sink your teeth into??  🙂

9. Are these Experience History Through Music products to be used as curriculum?  Is there a schedule to follow?

Though students can experience American history through these three books and CDs (and have a lot of fun in the process), it is not an actual curriculum. They are supplementary materials that can be enjoyed by anyoneThere is no specific schedule to follow, no tests to take. You might describe it as a sort of “stealth academics,” meaning that your kids will be having so much fun singing the songs, they won’t even realize they are learning.  But YOU will.


10. Do you have other books/products in the works?


Next on my list of books to write is one entitled, “Daughters of God.”  I am hoping to have it finished by this fall.

Then, the plan is to create an American history curriculum for elementary age students, one that allows for the same sort of creativity and freedom as my world history curriculum, the History Revealed series.

Once these are both done, I have lots of things I have always wanted to write, but never had the time. . . including fiction—historical, of course!!


Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway — $700+ Value!

I am so excited to share a preview of an upcoming product that we are reviewing, which will be sure to appeal to all of you early American history fans. Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring is a series of music CDs with accompanying books, that tell the story behind of some of our country’s favorite folk songs. There are three fantastic sets in this series: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West, and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. These sets are full of fantastic music and fascinating stories that are sure to help bring your history studies to life. We will be posting our review of these books the week of June 30th, and I look forward to sharing our experiences with this series with you all. Until then, I am pleased to announce a GIVEAWAY in celebration of the series release!

Diana and Friends Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone’s homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!

Here’s what you could win!

From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this funExperience History Through Music – set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it’s music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!


EncouragementCollage2Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.


From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.


From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I.

Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.


From Knowledge Quest Maps

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don’t remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.


From Home School Adventure Co.

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.


From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!


From Raising Real Men

RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner’s choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)






Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)


From Institute for Excellence in Writing

logo$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.


From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.

Big-Book-14-Cover-113013-e1392516063206The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.


From Writing with Sharon Watson

the-power-in-your-hands-front-coverThe Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

69276_1454187188126914_157492202_nWriting Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your student develop their fiction-writing talents. Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life will help



To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

Click HERE for the Rafflecopter Giveaway!


Philosophy Adventure by Home School Adventure Co. Review

Philosophy, the study of the nature of knowledge, is a subject not often studied in depth before college level. However, Home School Adventure Co. tackles this subject, while helping students maintain and defend their Biblical worldview, in their Philosophy Adventure course. In this study, author Stacy Farrell teaches students in grades 6 to 12 to “write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as you explore the history of ideas.” This is a fantastic program that we have been studying for the past several weeks, and I am happy to share our review with you.

homeschool philosophy course


Cost of the Program

There are a couple of options for purchasing this program from Home School Adventure. The first option, and most economical, is a digital download, which includes the Reader (textbook), the teacher resources, and the student workbook.  This would be an excellent option for those who intend to use this program for more than one child, since a student workbook could easily be printed out for each child, while the other resources could be re-used. The cost of the digital download is $39.95. The program is also available on CD-ROM ($49.95) and in pre-printed versions ($69.95-$89.95) as well.

Right now, Home School Adventure Co. is generously offering a 10% discount on everything in their store through May 15, 2014, so now is an excellent time to buy. (Click the graphic below and enter code Crew-10 at checkout!)



How the Program Works

The program presents the history of philosophy through the study of 8 key philosophers predating Socrates. For each philosopher, there is a passage to read, corresponding notebooking pages, timeline and mapping activities, optional quizzes, journal questions, and 3 assignments called Write, Think, and Speak, which not only reinforce the information learned, but encourage students to think critically about what they have read and how it applies to their own lives.

There are also optional resources to go along with this program, which include other Home School Adventure Co. products. Scripture memory work can be included from their Philippians in 28 Weeks study, and literature readings from The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions are recommended.

All this is laid out in a suggested 4 or 5 day schedule in the book, but the program is very easily customizable.  It can be studied at a pace of one philosopher per week, one every other week, or can be stretched out to as long as one philosopher per month, depending on how in-depth students wish to get.

High School Credit

Philosophy Adventure can be used as a supplement, or as the primary curriculum, depending on depth. The author has provided a general guideline for how high school credit can be awarded through the use of this program.

  • English Composition: 1-4 hours per week – .25-.5 credit hours
  • World History / Geography: 1-4 hours per week – .25-.5 credit hours
  • Speech / Communications: 1-4 hours per week – .25-.5 credit hours
  • Logic / Critical Thinking: 1-4 hours per week – .25-.5 credit hours

Home School Adventure Co. also has a Free Webinar explaining how to award credit for high school, for this and their other studies.

How We Used This Program

I had originally intended to use this study with both of my sons, who are currently in 5th and 6th grade. However, my youngest felt a bit overwhelmed, so I continued with my older son only. (For this reason, I concur with Home School Adventure Co.’s recommendation of using this with advanced 6th graders and older.) We decided that since my son was on the younger end of the age range, we would treat this more as a survey course, and intend to do it more in-depth at a later time. So, we did the recommended schedule of one philosopher per week, but we did not use the optional Scripture memorization and literature resources. We also opted out of the weekly quizzes, so as not to overload ourselves.

Our typical week looked like this:

Day 1 – Read the lesson, complete timeline and mapping activities, and notebooking pages

Day 2 – Read and complete Write activity

Day 3 – Read and complete Think activity

Day 4 – Read and complete Speak activity

Day 5 – Complete student journal pages, creative writing prompt, and finish any remaining activities from the previous days

This schedule really helped us keep organized. There is a lot of information in the study, but the schedule can help keep from feeling overwhelmed. I think this schedule and pacing worked well for us at this stage. However, when we revisit this study at a later time, with the additional resources and activities, I definitely think I would stretch the study out to 2 weeks per philosopher, at least.

Our Overall Opinion

We loved this program. It is so much more than just a dry text of people and dates. The writing style is interesting and engaging, and the variety of activities keeps the study fresh and exciting. I love that this study looks at philosophy comparatively, and continually reinforces a Biblical worldview. This alone is reason enough for all homeschoolers to consider using this study with their children. I think it is a wonderful tool for developing critical thinking skills, as well as providing an introduction to apologetics. In teaching about different philosophical ideas, the study teaches students how to discern truth from fallacy, and continually points to the Bible as our source of true knowledge and understanding. I think all homeschooling families would benefit greatly from this study, and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to review it.

More Information

For more information on Home School Adventure Co., please visit and follow at the links below:






Click to read Crew Reviewsdisclaimer_zps7f3b646c

More Resources for Asia: Its People and History

read an ebook week

Did you know that March is National Reading Month, and that this week, March 2nd – 8th is Read an E-book Week? Last week I shared with you our review of Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson. This week is the perfect time to check out this fantastic E-book. It is on sale now at The Old Schoolhouse store until March 15, when you use the discount code “02asia14!” (exclamation point is part of the code). I also still have a giveaway running for 2 PDF copies of the book, so don’t forget to enter to win below:

Extra Resources

I would love to share with you some additional resources I have found to use in conjunction with Asia: Its People and History to enhance your study of Asia.

Animals of Asia:

Photo gallery at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

Asian animals coloring & fact sheets from

Expedition Earth: Discovering God’s Animals animal unit study by Confessions of a Homeschooler has some mini books for various Asian countries

Asian Country Information:

Nations Online – countries of Asia

worldatlas – Asia – click the country names on the map to learn more about each country

Notebooking Pages: has an awesome assortment of geography pages for Asian countries. (You DO have to sign up to gain free access, but it is worth the time!)

Don’t forget about the Bonus Content available from the author’s website as well!


Some of my fellow launch team members are also sharing their additional resources for use with Asia: Its People and History. Please visit the Linky below to see their fantastic ideas!


A Review and Giveaway of Asia: Its People and History

book_coverAsia: Its People and History, by Bonnie Rose Hudson, is a wonderful 16-week study focusing on 6 different countries throughout Asia from a biblical worldview. Countries included in this study are Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. This book is not meant to be an exhaustive study of Asia, but instead is a means of introducing students to Asian countries and the histories of their peoples.  More than just a book of facts and figures about each country, this book features engaging stories, maps, activities, and discussion questions that give students an idea of what life is really like in these various countries. The study emphasizes the often harsh environments of the people currently living within these countries, and how we, as Christians, can pray for them.

Although the study is designed to be completed over a period of 16 weeks, it is easily customizable, allowing you to work through it with students at a pace that suits your situation best. Younger students can work through it at the pace intended, while older students might be able to complete it in a shorter time period. The study is easy to expand upon as well, with the addition of extra reference material, for those who might want a more in-depth course. Bonus content, including copywork and puzzles, is also available from the author’s website for extra activities. The study would work well with any teaching method, and would especially appeal to those who teach unit-study style.

My boys and I have thoroughly enjoyed this study. We used it in conjunction with other reference materials and notebooking pages, just to add a bit more facts about each country to the study (because they wanted more!) Both children asked to do this study each day and were excited by the stories we read together. The discussion questions based on the stories were particularly thought-provoking for them, allowing them to consider the events in the stories, and how they would respond in similar situations. Above all, I think this study has helped my boys see the difficulties faced by Christians throughout Asia, how we need to pray for their struggles, and in contrast, how blessed we are to have the freedom to serve Jesus in our own country.

Where To Get It

asia now availableAsia: Its People and History is available for sale now on the following sites:

  • The Schoolhouse Store (click the graphic to the right and use the code for 25% off now through March 15!)
  • Amazon You can also view Author Bonnie Rose Hudson’s author page on Amazon HERE.
  • Kindle
  • SmashWords (SmashWords supports Amazon Kindle, B & N Nook, iBooks, and Sony reader)

I am also pleased to offer you all a chance to WIN one of two PDF copies of the book! Just click the graphic below for your chance to win. Giveaway ends March 5th.



About the Author:

BonnieRoseBonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Star Contributors Team. She works with both  ( and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine® as an editorial assistant. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families.

She would love for you to stop by and meet the star of her children’s series at Exploring with Jake (, look through the 10/40 window of the world and join others in prayer at Looking Out the 10/40 Window (, or stop by her author’s blog ( for fun printables and discover how you can write for the homeschool market.


Author Interview with Bonnie Rose Hudson

I hope that you all have had a chance to check out the upcoming book, Asia: Its People and History from some of my earlier posts. Just as a reminder, the book officially launches on Monday, February 24th. But until then, you can enter the launch giveaway for your chance to win a copy, plus other fantastic prizes. Or, if you want to pre-order a copy of the book, now is a great time to do so, since it is on sale from now until the 23rd. Just click the graphic below to order.

asia pre-order sale

To tell us a bit more about herself and her new book, author Bonnie Rose Hudson has kindly answered a series of questions posed by members of the book launch team. I hope you enjoy reading a little more about this talented author and this excellent study.

An Interview With Author Bonnie Rose Hudson

1. When writing a new book, how do you go about planning for it? Do you have a method you use, or is each one different? 

I’m a planner by nature. I love to lay out all the details and know where I’m going before I take the first step. But, I’ve noticed that God often likes to remind me that I’m not the one who is in charge of my life, He is! So I usually start a project with a hook and an outline. I need to know the heart of the project before I start. That’s what gets me excited about writing it. What will its purpose be? What will it illustrate? I write an outline, or have one in my mind, but the story or project always takes lots of unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes the research doesn’t pan out and I have to choose a different direction. Sometimes the outline doesn’t go far enough. I remember working on the first book-length project I tried to write. I had a beautiful outline for the entire book. I had covered the entire outline in four chapters! I had some major re-planning to do on that one!

 2. Do you have a certain writing space, somewhere you go *just* to write your books? An office, a lake cabin, a hotel? What do you love about that space? How does it inspire you?

 I don’t have a writing space. I do have an office/library that I enjoy sometimes when I write because I can close the door and enjoy being surrounded by books! But I will write anywhere, anytime I get the chance, including on grocery lists at the store, in the car (provided I’m not driving, of course), on a notepad by my bed, it really doesn’t matter. I can get lost in an idea almost anywhere!

 3a. What would you say to a young person who aspires to be a writer? What advice would you give? 

Don’t give up. Write everything down that you feel God has put on your heart to write about. Twenty years from now, you might look back on a story you wrote and think it was really silly. I did. I started writing my first book when I was around 11 or 12. When I read now what I wrote, I see a lot of mistakes I didn’t see back then. But that’s not what matters. I wrote down the story that was on my heart.

As you learn more about writing, you will probably find yourself feeling frustrated and discouraged at times by all the rules and all the details. You might wonder why something you thought sounded just fine didn’t get published. The most important thing to remember is that being published isn’t what makes you a writer. If you are a writer, it’s because that’s what God has called you to do. You may get published; you may not. You may not make a living by being a professional author. But that doesn’t change God’s call.  Listen to Him, grow closer to Him, and obey Him. That’s what matters.

3b. Also, what would you tell his/her parents in order to help them be supportive in their child’s efforts to pursue writing as a career?

4. Would your advice be any different (from question #3) for an adult who would like to break into the business? How?

5. What is your goal with writing? Is it the same with every book?

My prayer is that everything I write would honor God and help whoever reads it know that God loves them and that they are special to Him. There are days we don’t feel special. There are days we feel like no one knows who we are or cares how we are feeling. I want my readers to know that God does know, that He does care, and that they are more precious to Him than they could ever imagine.

6. What other projects will you be working on in the near future?

That’s a hard question to answer. I can tell you what I think I’ll be working on next, but as I said earlier, God likes to surprise me and rearrange my carefully laid plans often! Right now I’m busy writing curriculum for and an occasional article for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I wrote a children’s book that is waiting for an agent or editor to pick up so that it can move to publication. I am working on the process of querying agents and editors with it now, but it is a very long process. Meanwhile, my book’s main character, a boy named Jake, blogs every week on my blog Exploring with Jake ( In the next few weeks Jake will wrap up a study of India and start a series of posts about Christians who are being persecuted today for their faith in places around the world. I’d also like to continue creating copywork and printables for my website,

7. What is one lesson you learned from writing this book?

That God’s plans are far better and wiser than any we could make on our own.

8. What books have most influenced you?

Other than the Bible, that’s a tough question to answer. I have loved to read forever! When I was growing up, I could not get enough of the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. A little later, I fell in love with the Corrie Belle Hollister series by Michael Phillips, a series about a girl in the old West who wanted to be a writer. As a teenager, I read the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. I’ve read dozens of books by authors including Michael Phillips, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Janette Oke, Sharon Hinck, Francine Rivers, T. Davis Bunn, Gilbert Morris, and others that have left permanent impressions on my heart and changed the way I look at things.

9. Who is your favorite author?

All of the above!

10. Is there an author that you would especially like to meet?

T. Davis Bunn, Michael Phillips, and Robin Jones Gunn

11. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing a book?

Making the time to do it.

12. Did you always have a talent for writing, or is it something you wanted and needed to work harder to achieve?

I think it’s important to realize that there is a difference between a talent and a skill. To me, a talent is a God-given desire and gifting to do something. It’s part of who you are. I can’t not write. It’s part of me. If I don’t take the time to be creative and write down what is going on inside my heart or my mind, I get cranky–just ask my family! But just because I love to write doesn’t mean I automatically know how to do it right or just sit down and write perfect rough drafts! There is always more to learn about how to use the best words to express what you want to communicate, how to craft a story that holds a reader’s attention, how to avoid grammar mistakes, etc. Learning never ends, and most of the time, I wouldn’t want it to.

13. With all of the duties that you juggle, when do you fit in the time to write?

Time is always the biggest factor. The turning point for how I view my time and how it relates to my writing came at my very first writer’s conference. In 2003, I attended the Sandy Cove Christian Writers Conference in Sandy Cove, Maryland. I had no idea what to expect or what to do once I got there. I attended classes, mixed a little, and mostly tried to stay invisible. I felt totally overwhelmed. But in the middle of all of that, one day in my room, I remember praying and talking to God about what He was trying to show me about my writing. What He showed me was that up until that point in time, I had been writing on my terms, when I felt like it. I wrote often, but usually because I felt like it. If I got up some morning and didn’t feel inspired to write, I didn’t. It was my choice. What He was calling me to do at Sandy Cove was to make a change. If I believed He was calling me to write, I had to write on His terms, whatever that meant. If it meant writing when I had the flu or a headache, writing when I’d rather be watching TV, or whatever else, my writing directions needed to come from Him, not what I felt like doing.

I don’t mean that God never wants us to go to bed when we have the flu, enjoy a good television program, or do any of the other dozens of things He uses to bring us joy or rest. I only mean that for me, in that moment, I had to make a shift in priorities. From that point forward, I needed to write because God was calling me to write, not because I felt like it.

Time management looks different for every person. When I have a deadline, I do all the things people usually do—cook quick and easy meals, be extra-vigilante about social media time, let a few household chores go a little longer than I’d like. I always feel behind, and I always worry I’m not doing enough. But that’s where time with God and relishing in His grace are so important. I’ll never do enough to please myself because my expectations are flawed and broken, but by God’s grace, I will do what He is calling me to do.

14. Is your writing style different now than it was when you first began? In what ways have you grown in your writing?

When I started writing, I worked on novels for the Christian adult market. I wrote one historical novel and one contemporary one (both are unpublished). While I pursued writing novels for adults, I was also teaching Sunday School and vacation Bible school programs for the kids in my church. Much of the material we had to use was written for a wide age range. I was teaching mostly young children at the time, so I was always taking the curriculum apart, rewriting it to fit the age range of the kids I was teaching, and finding all kinds of supplemental activities to do with them in class. It never occurred to me until years later that I was learning how to write for kids at the time. When the idea struck me for a children’s book, I sat down and started working on it. I haven’t looked back! I love writing material in all genres for kids, and I found an even deeper passion and calling than I had found before.

That’s not to say I’ll never write another book for adults. I have a novel set in Ireland that has taken root in my heart and shows no sign of leaving! But it’s not something I am working on right now.

15. How did you get your start in writing/getting published?

One key to remember is that writing and getting published are never the same thing. A writer is a writer because that is how God fashioned them to be. Publication is exciting and can feel like a confirmation of that calling, but it’s not what makes you a writer. Alton Gansky recently wrote an incredible blog post about that topic. (HYPERLINK to his blog post:

The first thing I ever had published was a short story in 2005 called Nick of Time Heroes, which followed a string of rejected short stories and a novel. (HYPERLINK Nick of Time Heroes to I continued writing and continued receiving rejections. My next piece was not published until 2011. Shortly after that piece, I began writing for

16. What do you recommend for others who are getting started?

Praying and listening to God are the most important. He is the only One who knows the big picture. Work to learn the skills you need to learn, get used to letting other people read and edit your work, and be patient. You will never ever know everything there is to know! And even if you write a perfect piece (if there is such a thing) someone will have suggestions on how to make it better. It comes with the territory. Writing is an art, and just like any other art, there is a certain amount of subjectivity involved in judging whether a piece is the right fit for a publication or assignment.

Another thing that I have found incredibly encouraging is reading the stories of other Christian authors. I have a book that I bought years ago called Behind the Stories by Diane Eble. It shares the stories of dozens of well-known Christian authors. What touched me the most about the stories in the book was that no two stories were the same. God called men and women in all stages of their lives from countless professions and backgrounds. There is no cookie-cutter shape you must fit into as a writer. As I read and reread it, I think, “If God has a place for each of them in His plan, maybe He has a plan for me, too.”

17. Is there anything else that you would like readers to know?

Nothing is impossible with God!

18. What is the 10/40 window, and how did you become interested in it?

The 10/40 Window is a geographical area of the world roughly between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. The significance of this area is that it is home to over 4.5 billion people, over 8,000 different people groups, and some of the largest groups of unreached people in the entire world. More than 80% of the world’s poorest people live in the 10/40 window. It is an area that many people are taking intentional steps to pray for and reach out to the people who live there. You can read an excellent description of the significance of the 10/40 Window on (HYPERLINK to this page, please:

Several years ago, God began to turn my heart’s attention to the stories of the persecuted Church. I had always had a heart for the persecuted in China, but I never grasped how widespread the persecution of Christians was until much later. I started reading about men and women who lived in Laos and Burma, India and Pakistan, and many other places. They were suffering terribly for their faith in Christ. This wasn’t the stories of the heroes of the faith of yesterday that I had grown up hearing about, or what I had thought were isolated stories from one nation. These were stories of families–including children–who were suffering right at that very moment for their faith.

Reading their stories gave me a burden and broke my heart. I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. Writing and sharing about their stories gave me a way to process what I was reading and feeling and a way to hopefully encourage others to become involved and share their stories as well.


More About Asia: Its People and History

A couple of days ago, I shared a little preview of a soon-to-be-released Asia study called Asia: Its People and History. I hope you all have had a chance to read all about this resource, and to enter the giveaway going on in celebration of the book’s release on February 24th. If not, you can read more about the study HERE, or click HERE to go straight to the giveaway.

If you are still curious to learn more about this excellent resource, this video trailer will tell you all about it:

If you decide that Asia: Its People and History would be a great fit in your homeschool, the author, Bonnie Rose Hudson, has generously provided some bonus content to accompany the book! These copywork and puzzle pages add even more fun to this wonderful study.

If you are interested (and really, you should be!) in pre-ordering a copy of Asia: Its People and History, you can do so now. The book is on sale now through February 23rd! This is a really great deal on this fantastic resource. Just click the graphic below to pre-order your copy.

asia pre-order sale


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