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Tell us about yourself!
Hi! I’m Lesley, a Jesus-loving mum of two from Australia. My husband Tim and I live in rural New South Wales with our eleven-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. We work as high school teachers at the small Christian school our children attend. Tim teaches English, Drama and Art. I teach History, German and Geography. Since I was a teenager I have been a night writer, but I got more serious about it over the past few years. I became a Christian during my first year of university. Since that time, I’ve enjoyed being involved in my church in children’s ministry and women’s ministry.
Tell us about your chapter books.
Road to Bethlehem is an illustrated chapter book in the Bible Adventurers series. Siblings Joshua and Hannah are swept back in time to Nazareth where they meet Mary and Joseph. Together, they travel the road to Bethlehem, learning lessons about faith and love along the way. This book is biblical fiction. It’s suitable for early readers. Precious six year olds would enjoy having it read to them. For independent reading, it’s best suited to children aged 7-11. The main characters are five and seven. Joshua is an academically gifted, neurodiverse character who has Asperger’s syndrome and sensory processing disorder. I’m also creating an educational resource book to go with the story. It’s suitable for homeschool or Christian school students in year 3 [ages 8-9] and year 4 [ages 9-10].
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 The first thing Hannah noticed was the strange smell. Had Mummy left the window open? Was there a sheep in the front yard? Then, she heard the noises. “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” “A rooster?” She stirred sleepily. “We don’t have a rooster anymore.” When she rolled over, her hand touched something strange. Something scratchy. What? Her eyes opened. She froze as she took in the small, dark room. “Where am I?” “Mummy?” she called. “Mummy?” “Hannah?” Hannah sat up and looked around to find Joshua sitting on the far side of the room, panic in his eyes. She ran to her brother, flinging her arms around his neck. “Where are we?” she whimpered. “Where’s Mummy?” “I don’t know.” Joshua sounded scared too. A shuﬄing noise made them cling to each other more tightly. Then a brown chicken jumped out of the shadows. “Argh!” Hannah shrieked. She clutched Joshua tightly. Everything was silent for a moment as the chicken regarded the intruders and then gave— almost—a little shrug and started pecking at the straw. Josh laughed. After a second, Hannah joined in. It was a little funny, being scared by a chicken.
What inspired you to write this series?
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
I have always been a writer. I used to write stories on McDonald’s tray mats during my breaks at work. It’s only been in the past year or two that I have started to think seriously about becoming an author. Even though I had previously self published an adult fantasy book (and am working on other adult fantasy projects), my children’s books have really sparked my imagination, and my desire to share them with the world. My illustrator Mandy once said to me, “If God has prompted you to share these stories with the world, he’s going to achieve his purposes through them.” It is a comfort to know that if my book has encouraged even one person, it was worth sharing it. All we need to do is plant the seed. God is the one who will make it grow.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Just keep writing. It’s generally assumed that you have to write a million bad words before you get to the good ones, so it’s always best to get the bad words out of the way as soon as possible. One of the biggest things that slowed me down when I first started writing was fear of imperfection. I wanted everything I wrote to be amazing, which meant that I was constantly second guessing myself. Now, I just write the story of my heart. If there’s a bad line here or there (or everywhere), I let it be a problem for editing Lesley. The greatest advice I was ever given was, “You can’t edit a blank page.”
What formats are your books available in?
Find them here.
Do you have a schedule of when new books come out?
- Return to Bethlehem around Easter 2022
- Lost in Jerusalem in winter (summer in the US) 2022
- Called to Galilee in spring (fall in the US) 2022
- Book 5 around Easter 2023
At the time of this interview [1/20/2022], what is your most recent release?
Thank you for sharing your books with us, Lesley! I encourage you to check out her books today.
If you’re in the market for more Bible-based chapter books, be sure to check out Collar Cases, a Christian mystery series for readers 7-11.
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