First of all tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I studied for the ministry and pastored my first church in the U.K. (Leicestershire). I am married to Sue. I have two children, Kari and Chris. And five grandchildren: Malachi, Leah, Jacob (who live in Trowbridge, round the corner from me.), and Remy and Sloane (who live in Pittsburgh.) I enjoy listening to music, watching films, and driving my first generation Mazda Mx-5.
How long have you been writing stories for children?
I have been writing stories for children, professionally, since 1988.
What has prompted you to write 'another Bible'?!
It was partly a desire to revisit stories I had told before to find different ways of retelling them. More than that, it was a desire to provide some linkage between the stories so that children could see that the Bible really is one big story - that there are significant connections right across the Old Testament and the New. And finally it was prompted by the opportunity to see the stories illustrated in a way familiar to them that would hopefully draw children into the text. It’s a very playful book. And I like that!
What's different about this book than The Lion Storyteller Bible?
The attempt to connect the stories more directly. And the illustration style.
So what's next in the pipeline?
A Family Bible based on The Lion Storyteller Bible. We have stretched the stories over two spreads and pulled out pictures of the characters, who then ask questions about the stories for parents and children to consider together. The idea is that it truly is a Family Bible, to be used by the whole family and not just sit prettily on a shelf!
I have also written a sequel to Hanging Out With Jesus which takes the main characters (Pip, Tommo and Big BART) through the rest of Jesus’ story. I love those characters. They are ridiculous at times, and see what Jesus does through a particular humorous lens. I thought it was important to finish their story and give them a chance to wrestle with the crucifixion and what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. This one is published by Authentic.
There will be two more Baby Board books in the series I am doing with Lion.
And 2020 will also see the publication of The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song, a retelling Of Paul and Silas’s miraculous release from prison, by The Good Book company. I am a big fan of Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations and am so pleased to have done this book with her.