Marsha, please tell us about your new book, Tommi Pockets.
Thirteen-year-old “Pockets” Leland wants to be the first female world champion pool player. She also runs with a gang, is arrested, and meets her match in fiery “Captain Ar,” a Salvation Army counselor, who shares what’s really important: loving God and loving others. Does Pockets listen or does she continue in a downward spiral leading to more trouble in her young life?
Intriguing! What inspired you to write this book?
I have a passion to share the gospel in all my books so that my young readers know the truth that Jesus saves, and He can help everyone with any problem in their lives.
What a lovely mission. What’s the primary focus of your book?
The primary focus is to share with my readers that accepting Christ as your Savior is the best decision anyone can ever make in life.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
In my 16 fiction books, the main character either comes to a saving knowledge of Christ or is a growing Christian who mentors others in their walk with God.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
My ideal writing place is where my actual writing place is. I use a laptop while I sit in my comfy lounge chair in my well-lit living room with my two furkids (dogs), Sparky and Bailey, at my feet. I often play “elevator” music in the background while I peck away.
Sparky and Bailey sound like well-behaved writing buddies—maybe I should try elevator music too! So, why do you love writing?
I absolutely love the creative process, churning over in my mind the next scene or next section of the book. I marvel at our amazing, creative God and how he has imparted so many diverse talents to every one of His own.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I love serving God to the best of my ability, and there is great joy in serving others.
I’m the director of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference since 2015.
I sing in a ladies’ group at church and have been the church organist for the last 23 years.
I have regular Bible studies with several friends, two of whom I led to the Lord three years ago.
I also edit the monthly newsletter for our local Child Evangelism organization.
Every March when my church has “Missions Month,” I host missionaries in my home if they need housing as they speak in our church.
You’re a busy woman! Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
My previous career involved the following:
- Teaching 3rd grade in public school for 5 years, being the principal of Kreamer Christian Academy for 14 years, and being the administrator of the Bethesda Prep School, part of the Bethesda Day Treatment Center, that worked with conduct disordered kids, for 8 years.
- Being a foster parent of 12 kids, mostly young teen girls, for 12 years.
- (Present) Being a certified homeschool consultant and evaluator of children from first to twelfth grades.
All my many years of experience with kids of all ages and grades, academic levels, and social status have given me the background and knowledge to be able to write so many books involving kids and their “issues.”
That’s a wealth of experience to draw from! Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I owned horses for 20 years, and I’ve always had one or two dogs since I was a child. They have inspired me to write 13 books with animals (mostly horses) as a large part of the story.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I have a pool table in my home and have spent many hours playing billiards with friends and family. (My father taught me the game when I was a child.) I also like to garden, play the organ, and play Scrabble on the internet.
Sounds like your pool playing is really coming to play in the Tommi Pockets series! Tell us about the next book in the series.
The third book in the Tommi Pockets series, Double Trouble at Post 71, is a historical fiction about a fourteen-year-old girl who finds out there’s more to life than following her dream of becoming a world champion pool player. After being sent for counseling with Captain Arlene Masters at the local Salvation Army post, Tommi “Pockets” Leland becomes a Christian, leaves her destructive past, and looks for ways to help others.
But helping others can be a big challenge. Twin “mini-gangsters,” twelve-year-old Gail and Dale Pawson, are sent for counseling at the post. When Captain Ar asks Pockets to befriend the two and try to help them walk the straight and narrow, Pockets and her best friend, Runner, find themselves up against the hardest challenge they’ve ever faced
Can Pockets and Runner help the twins who are bent on causing nothing but mayhem whenever they show up?
Sounds like an exciting story! Thank you for sharing with us, Marsha.
Writing for Him,