Today I'm glad to have Joy Dekok back with us. This time we are featuring one of her children's books. Raccoon Tales. Be sure to read to the end of this post because there is a giveaway included. Thanks so much for answering these questions so the readers can get to know a little more about you as an author. Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a wife, daughter, sister, and auntie to many. My husband Jon and I live in the country with our dogs Sophie & Tucker. One of my favorite things to do is ride our John Deere Gator to the pond in our woods to watch dragonflies and birds.
I love the country life. It seems like it would be a quiet less stressful way of living. Since we're talking about country living maybe you could tell us a few fun things about yourself. Do you have any fun hobby/pastime activity(s)?
I enjoy journaling and/or scrapbooking. My journals are detailed and handwritten. My scrapbooks are my craft outlet.
I love doing crafts. My favorite is cross-stitching or sewing or any crafty project. Do you read? What genre do you prefer? Do you have any favorite authors?
I read all the time from several genres. If I can find a good biography I’m delighted. I recently read Joe Bonsall’s book, G. I. Joe & Lillie – the love story of his parents. It’s a wonderful book. Francine Rivers new book will be released in March and I’m very excited. Lisa Samson is another favorite. If Francine or Lisa write it, I’ll read it.
I don't know how authors find time to read if they are busy writing. Do you have a favorite food?
Yes – hot buttered movie theatre popcorn. It’s a rare treat and one I don’t share. I know that’s selfish and sounds awful. I try to make up for it by buying for anyone with me who wants their own.
Oh, I love popcorn too. Hate when a kernel gets stuck, but I love eating the stuff. So they say it is a healthy snack. Now, the buttered stuff I don't know about that. When did you first know you wanted to write a book?
Before I could read or write I wanted to put my own words on the pages.
I had a daughter that would just fill a paper with squiggle lines. I thought for sure she'd be a writer, not so far. She's only 18 so maybe some day, who knows. How long have you been writing?
Since I was a little girl – I’m 52 now, so it’s starting to feel like a long time. I wrote stories on scraps of paper and spent my allowance at the local Ben Franklin buying paper, notebooks, pencils, and pens. I edited my work back then too using a red pen. I wrote and rewrote and then I’d feel I needed to start over so I’d throw all that work away and begin again.
What a fun memory. Who has been you’re biggest inspiration in writing?
My husband Jon who believed in me long before I did.
That is so wonderful to have a supportive husband. Do you have a favorite place you like to write?
Yes. We have an old rickety gazebo and in the summer time I love to go out there and write. In the winter time I love being in my office.
I love gazebos. Have you written any other children’s books?
Yes. It Is Good is the creation story told from a little boy’s real world. Room for Bandit is a Christmas story about an abandoned black dog and a little girl named Amanda. Can God use a stray to lead a child to Himself?
Be sure to visit her web site. They are listed below. There are coloring page you can print off for kids to color. Is it hard to get into the children’s book market?
It’s very difficult. After working very hard for years to get published, an editor told me that although the books were worthy of publication, if they were truly part of my purpose, I’d have to self publish them. So, I did. It was worth the financial risk – I have hundreds of kids all over who have read and enjoyed It Is Good and Room for Bandit.
Those sound like fun books. Could you tell us a little about the featured book?
Raccoon Tales is the true story of 5 orphaned baby raccoons my husband and I rescued and released. God taught us a lot about Himself and His creation in the 12 months they lived with us. I chose to write the book in rhyme. I have the same illustrator for all three books. Leslie does beautiful work.
Yes, the pictures are very attractive. Why did you feel this type of book was needed?
I didn’t intend to write this one. I missed them and did what I knew to do to ease the hurt – I wrote. The words felt right in rhyme so I let myself go. My Uncle was dying from cancer and wanted to read about these little guys so I printed my raw poetry with real photos and took him a copy. Seeing it put together that way and the way his grandkids loved the story helped me see the potential beyond writing it just for me. While raccoons aren’t good pets, they are also often misunderstood. After living with these critters for a year, I wished for a way to help people see their beauty.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I know all kids will love learning about raccoons through your book. What do you hope your readers will come away with?
A personal knowledge of God’s love for all His creation.
I can say you definitely make God known through the writing of this book. I love the way you tied this all together. Do you have any other books in the works? If so can you tell us about what is ahead.
I’m not sure if there are other children’s books in my future or not. I have some ideas, but no words or inner sense that it’s time. I’m working on a fiction series as well as some projects for writers. I’m also an author coach and want to provide excellent materials for my clients.
Well, be sure to let me know if you get another one written. I love children's books. Do you write books any other genre? If so what?
I have a devotional in print titled, Under His Wings – it rereleases on March 1, 2010 and my novel, Rain Dance, released last fall. Both are published traditionally by Sheaf House Publishers.
I had the privilege of reviewing Rain Dance. That was my first book of yours that I had read. I was so excited when you contacted me to review the book. Have you written non-fiction books too?
Yes. The devotional Under His Wings. When we first moved to the country, I was so alone or so I thought. Then a couple of chickadees joined me on a walk and Baltimore Oriole sang to me from a nearby branch. I’d always enjoyed birds so decided to take a closer look. When I did, God showed me more of Himself.
I love birds too. We have a tray on a post we put bread crumbs on. We don't get too many unusual birds that visit it because we live in town, but we love watching them come. We have at times even had a raccoon up on the post visiting us. It's a sturdy post but the tray is just an old rusted cookie sheet. The raccoon weights the cookie sheet down. What is your favorite part of writing?
Whatever part I’m working on. Although I’m not a good self-editor, I enjoy it. I recently purchased a “reader” for my computer and it can now read my writing out loud to me. What a great investment.
Sounds like a cool item. What is your least favorite part of writing?
I guess that’s punctuation checking. I either don’t use enough commas or way too many of them. I write the way I talk so if the subject “sounds” fast in my brain, the commas stay out. If I feel a lot of pauses, I put them everywhere. It’s no wonder that after I get book to the point I can’t edit it anymore, I hire a professional editor. I think everyone has the comma problem. Where can someone get in touch with you?
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org My websites are:
Wow! How do you keep up with it all? Do you have any closing words?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my heart and writing with your readers Abi. It’s been a privilege.
Thanks Joy for taking the time to answer these questions. I'm sure my readers have enjoyed getting to know you better. Little more about Raccoon Tales:
- Joy's Raccoon Tales is divided into four sections:
- The Raccoon Rescue - God is always with you.
- The Raccoon Flu - God watches over you
- The Runaway Raccoon - God good and He is love
- A Raccoon Release - God answers prayers
Raccoon Tales is the true-life journey in the first year of the lives of these little “wash bears.” Written in easy-to-read verse, author, Joy DeKok, tells the story with tenderness and energy. Readers will leave the story glad they came, knowing more about raccoons, and what a wild animal rescue and release looks like. Illustrator Leslie Helen Colwin’s art brings the story to life.
Joy is an author, national speaker, and author coach. From the time she was a little girl, she wanted to write for children. She has three published children’s books, a novel, and a devotional. You’re invited to visit her website at: www.believe4kids.com.
Five baby raccoons lost their mother one day,
They needed help and a safe place to stay.
They were tiny, and their eyes were shut tight,
I wondered if they would be all right.
I held them close and promised I’d try
To give each of them a chance at life.
We fed them and gave them a place to play.
Then we sat nearby and started to pray,
“Lord, please keep them in Your care,
And thank You for these little “wash-bears”!
They snuggled into their blankets that night,
And we whispered, “Sweet dreams and sleep tight.”
Baby raccoons need lots of sleep.
They would yawn and pile into a furry heap.
Later, they’d purr and churr and cry out loud,
Letting us know they wanted out!
They’d enjoy a snack of warm milk and rice,
Now for the giveaway. I'd like for you to visit Joy's site believe4kids and tell me which of the other children's books you would love to read and why? Be sure to leave your contact information. I'll draw a winner for Joy's book Raccoon Tales on Monday, March 29th. US/Canada Residents only please.
Want bonus? (first mandatory above must be accomplished)
one extra for the following:
- if you blog about Joy's book and link to this page
- add my button to your page.
A copy of this book was provided for review by Virtual Book tours
Visit Virtual tours here