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Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Susan U. Neal

Susan U. Neal
Susan U. Neal

Warm greetings on this Veteran’s Day. Davalynn Spencer here, welcoming CAN author, Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS, with her featured book, Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating.

Susan, please tell us about your book.

Eat God's Food: A Kid's Guide to Healthy Eating by Susan U. Neal
Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating by Susan U. Neal

Kids love some foods and others they don’t. Instead of letting their taste buds rule over your family’s food choices, teach them early to love the right kinds of food. Eat God’s Food teaches kids what foods are healthy and unhealthy, preparing them for a lifetime of eating and living the way God intended.

Already, I’m hungry!

What prompted you to write this book?

My mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. What better way, than to educate children to eat the foods God created versus the items that food manufacturers create.

Kids are smart; you can teach them at a young age that whole foods contain nutrients and processed foods don’t. Whole foods contain vitamins and minerals to help a child grow into the strongest, smartest, healthiest kid they can be.

Did you find anything surprising during your research for the book?

It shocked me that the obesity epidemic was affecting children. On average, 19 percent of children 2–19 are obese. Young children who are overweight in kindergarten are four times more likely to have obesity by eighth grade. It’s easier to influence children’s food and physical activity choices when they are young, before they form unhealthy habits. So I wrote this children’s picture book.

I added an activity and simple recipe after each food section of the book: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and meats. Children learn while engaging in the following activities:

  • Draw vegetables
  • Identify fruit colors
  • Count the vegetables you have eaten (50+ listed)
  • Match nuts, grains, and seeds with their pictures
  • Find high-protein foods
  • Determine when seasonal fruits and vegetables ripen
  • Seek and find fruit
  • Identify unhealthy items on a food label

The parent or guardian has an opportunity to discuss food topics with the child while cooking. Some recipes in the book include homemade almond butter, granola, trail mix, and fruit smoothies.

How do you share Christ in a book of this nature?

I wrote my healthy living series of books from a Christian viewpoint. If making lifestyle changes was easy, we would all make them. But it’s not. That’s why I incorporate into my books, techniques to use God’s power and strategies to improve lifestyle habits. My best-seller, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates,suggests using God’s Word to deflect temptation, and a prayer partner for accountability.

Are there specific themes you return to again and again in your writing?

Look at your plate. Does it resemble food that came out of the garden or off the ranch? If yes, eat it. If it does not, don’t eat it. For example, don’t eat a potato chip; instead eat a baked potato. Changing your eating habits can be that simple.

Why do you write in the nonfiction healthy living genre?

I am a registered nurse with a master’s in health science, a certified health and wellness coach, and a health nut. But more than that, ten years ago, I lost my health with ten medical diagnoses and two surgeries. I know what it feels like to hardly be able to get out of bed. From this experience, plus God’s calling, I desire to help others improve their health and optimal weight.

With those credentials, do you have a “day job” or a previous career that influences what or how you write?

Previously, I worked as a kidney-transplant nurse at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. After I got my master’s in business administration (MBA) and in health science (MHS), I became an assistant administrator at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. When I moved to northwest Florida, I became a quality assurance nurse at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Currently, I am the Director of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). CIPA supports authors with resources, discounts, and marketing tactics to sell more books.

You sound incredibly busy in the field. Do you have other talents aside from storytelling?

I have experienced splendid success with marketing my books. I’ve sold over 25,000 self-published books in the past three and a half years. Marketing comes easy to me, whereas it doesn’t for most authors. I try to outsmart the big tech companies like Amazon by only giving my launch team clean Amazon links versus dirty ones. I also ask them to purchase and peruse 25 percent of the Kindle book so their review will be an Amazon verified reviewer. I work to get at least fifty Amazon book reviews because that is when reviews happen organically. I’ve expanded my book’s Amazon categories from three to ten and that’s when 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates went to #1 on Amazon and stayed there for eighteen months. I enjoy learning new strategies to market books all to further the kingdom of God.

Very encouraging information, Susan. What about pets? Do you have one that serves as inspiration?

I have a nine-pound, white Malti-poo who sits on my lap as I write.

Do you have hobbies or passions outside of writing?

I have a large fruit orchard with apples, blueberries, grapes, figs, oranges, persimmons, and pears. I love to swim and do so a couple of times a week in my pool. I live on five acres and half of it is wooded with trails. I enjoy walking through the trails. I also have chickens that give me farm-fresh eggs.

What can you tell us about your next project?

My next book is an ABC board book about God’s food. Again, I want to influence the younger generation to understand that God gave us all the food we need to grow strong and healthy.

Davalynn Spencer
Davalynn Spencer

Thank you, Susan.

For more from Susan Neal, check out Susan’s website and Susan’s Healthy Living Series Blog.

Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn’s website

May all that you read be uplifting.