Crystal, please give us a thumbnail sketch of your featured book.
Adorable animal babies and their parents share the tenderness of heartfelt love through various playful activities, as well as comforting hugs on days that are sad. Parents can snuggle and cuddle with their little ones as they turn the pages to read the lyrical text.
What a delightful title, Crystal. Why did you write this book?
I’m enjoying my seven grandchildren and love those early years of snuggling and cuddling. These years go by so quickly and I wanted to write something to capture those special moments.
With seven opportunities for the snuggling, did anything surprise you during the research or writing of this book?
I was surprised to learn that relationship experts believe children need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day to grow.
That’s some serious need, and I wonder how many hugs we need as adults. Did God use the message of this book in your own life?
It’s been a strong reminder to hug my grandkids and even my adult children. During this pandemic, we are starving for hugs.
So very good to remember. Do you have a favorite section in your book?
At first, I wasn’t excited about the artist wanting to feature bats in one of the spreads, but it turned out to be my favorite. She made them look adorable!
Amazing what perspective can do for us, something that you as an author share with your readers. Has being a writer impacted your perspective of and relationship with Christ?
It’s made me realize how dependent I am on having the Lord direct my writing paths. I am deeply humbled and in awe that this is what He created me to do.
What drew you to write children’s books?
I love writing for children, to teach them that God loves them. I also love to write in rhythm and rhyme, so board books and picture books are the right genre for me.
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
A young mom sent me a video of her son reading one of my books to his military dad over Facetime. I sobbed!
That is touching indeed – reaching all the way into a parent’s heart. With such a ministry in writing, are there other ministries in which you are involved?
I am involved with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a speaker and mentor. I write for young children, and the moms are the ones who read my books to their children. I love connecting with them.
Everyone seems to struggle with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
Deadlines really stress me out, so I set my own deadline two weeks ahead of the publisher’s deadline. I divide my work into segments and figure out how much I need to write each day or week. I love surprising editors by turning in my work early (and they love it too!).
When not working on deadline, do you have any hobbies, activities or passions outside of writing?
I enjoy exercising outdoors and often go for walks. This winter, when the snow came, I bought a pair of cross-country skis and have been skiing in our backyard. It’s great exercise and has helped me enjoy a Midwest winter.
Now that is a creative way to keep moving in the grip of a snowy winter! What about your future plans – what is your next project?
I had the privilege of writing a picture book based on a true story about a young refugee who left her home in Sudan and came to the U.S. when she was 14 years old.