My friend Abbie has written her first children’s book: What is beautiful? She sent me an advanced copy and asked me to write a short blurb. This is what I wrote:
“Reading What is Beautiful? I had the sense that for a few minutes I was back in the Garden of Eden, in the cool of the day on a walk with God. This small book speaks volumes with lyrical prose and engaging illustrations about how we are each made in the Image of God, beloved from the beginning, and unique in our own way. Though a book for the ages, it is a must read right now.”
Obviously I loved it. You must read this book!
I also love hearing about the process for an idea to become a book and asked Abbie if she’s be up for a few questions. She graciously said yes! Yay!
Abbie, what seeds planted the idea that grew into What Is Beautiful?
Honestly one could find plethoras in the soil of my last fifteen years of writing. Both Celibate Sex (through singleness) & Stretch Marks I Wasn’t Expecting (through early marriage & motherhood) spend many’a pages unpacking God’s beauty & “what is beautiful.”
More immediately though, two years back we were hosting friends for New Year’s Eve and decided to have everyone share something “beautiful” & “brutal” from their previous twelve months. On the way to buy food that afternoon, I was sitting at a red-light thinking about the semantics of the word beautiful, when “be-you-to-the-full” felt like it dropped in my lap. That seed has been filling-out ever since.
This is your first children’s book, I imagine it’s different writing a children’s book from your other books. I’m curious how this project was similar to and different from other projects?
Different, indeed! The red-light revelation, plus seventeen lines that came to me in a few hours (versus years) was a distinctly new experience for me. Thus far, my experience of children’s writing seems night and day from grown-up people writing. Truth be told, however, the words and message of What Is Beautiful? had been growing in me for years.
Although I chuckle and say the children’s book took me only an afternoon to write, it’s important for me to remember that God had been birthing the lines for months and years, and many carry layers of wounds and journeys and hardship (like eating disorders & shame). In other words, I don’t want to underestimate the road that led me to that red-light, prompt thought it was in the moment.
What is it like working with an illustrator? (Ashley did an amazing job!!) Did you know her? Did the publisher introduce you? Did you finish the words first and then she did the illustrations? So many questions :)!
Oh wow, I don’t know enough about children’s realms to know if this is often the case, but I LOVED working with Ashley. She’s a 20-something bundle of joy with utmost humility and talent, which was blissful to work alongside. Frankly that “working” and friendship were developed by us though, and not necessarily a norm for author / illustrator relationships. Once Parent Cue had my words, that was really all they needed from me; from there, they did all the work of hiring and steering illustrations with Ashley. (And I’d guess stacks of children’s books will be in her future; that girl is gold.)
Any other children’s books in your future?
Haha, not that I know of. For whatever reasons, I’ve not been writing much lately. Hard to fathom any other books on my radar right now, but I’ve been known to say that before.
What is your hope and prayer for What Is Beautiful?
What a lovely question. Unlike other writing and books I’ve done, What Is Beautiful? seems to be connecting with readers who aren’t followers of Christ. It would be my highest honor as an author to hear that someone discovered more about, or maybe even for the first time, truths of God & his beauty through these pages.
Thank you Abbie for offering us a peek behind the curtain!
Abbie’s publisher is sending me a copy to share with one of you! I’ll mail it within the US, so you could get it yourself or win as a present for someone.
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to possibly win of What is Beautiful. Comment ideas: What stood out to you in the interview? How’s the Summer Reading Challenge going (note next Tuesday the 18th is the end!) What’s a favorite children’s book?
See you next week with the Summer Reading Challenge roundup!