I did a little self-promotion last fall. Not my usual plead to read my blog on via social media. I took a flier I made to Cincinnati’s Books by the Banks, hoping to intrigue some writers and get them to be blog guests.
It worked. I reconnected with Brandon T. Snider, now a fabulous author and actor.
I also heard from Cincinnati author and editor Diane Stortz – how lovely is that? Author of several adult and kid books, her writing centers on her faith.
Here’s my interview with Diane:
How long have you been writing children’s books?
When I was working as a children’s book editor in-house, I sometimes wrote a picture book or board book to fill out a line. I started trying to publish on my own after I began to freelance in 2006. A book for adults came first, and then The Sweetest Story Bible was published in 2010.
Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process?
I try to stay well aware of the marketplace and not duplicate what other authors are creating. I want to offer books that parents recognize as a great value and children want to return to again and again. Finding just the right words can be difficult—sometimes I write whatever comes to mind and then go back to seriously revise!
Why did you decide to write about your faith?
I love making the Bible accessible to children, helping them develop the perspective that it’s not primarily a book of rules but a revelation of who God is, what he does, and how much he loves and cares for them.
What gives you joy about writing?
Well-written words have a rhythm, a musicality, that I enjoy hearing and creating. And seeing the finished book and paging through it for the first time is always a joy!
Your book Words to Dream On includes suggestions for bedtime and Words to Dream On. Can you tell me more about that?
With every story there’s a short, related Bible verse—wonderful words for children to be thinking about as they drift off to sleep. The tips for bedtime at the back of the book come from experience and the advice of experts—things like establishing a consistent routine and sticking to it as much as possible, and ending noisy, energizing activities well ahead of time.
Do you read your books to your grandchildren? Can you share some of their reactions?
I do read to them, every chance I get! They think it’s exciting that they can find my books in bookstores. And when they really pay attention to a story, or talk about it later, that’s so encouraging to me!
Can you share any favorite books that you read to your girls when they were growing up?
Some that stand out are the Little Golden Books’ Forest Hotel and The Animals’ Christmas Eve, plus The Man Who Lost His Head, which my husband had enjoyed when he was a boy and searched for a copy to read to the girls.
Could you share some words of encouragement to parents wanting to instill a love of reading in their children?
- Keep books accessible to children around the house. Start babies and toddlers with sturdy board books and expand the types of books as children grow—picture books, chapter books, Bible storybooks, nonfiction.
- Let children own some books, but use the public library too. Children enjoy choosing their own books from library shelves, and there’s no cost involved!
- Show that you value reading. Be a reader yourself. And read to children regularly, even when they begin to read independently. They value this time with you!
Diane had a new book out I AM:40 Reasons to Trust God.
You can connect with her via social media and at her website: