Award-winning Christian children’s author Lee Ann Mancini writes whimsical stories, with characters who pray to Jesus, giving thanks or asking Him for guidance. She hopes that her books, including A Servant Like Jesus: Adventures of the Sea Kids , I’m Not Afraid!: Adventures of the Sea Kids, What a Bragger!, and Fast Freddy: Adventures of the Sea Kids will help children learn to be loving, kind, and Christ-like.
Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.
I grew up in Aurora, Ohio, a small suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I now live in Boca Raton, Florida with my husband of 30-years and I have two grown children. I met my husband when I was a rental manager at Kelly Tractor. I rented my husband earth-moving equipment! I started out as a receptionist, and after seven years I was the rental manager. After we were married, I sold real estate for a while until the birth of my son. After that, I was a full-time mom and volunteer for their schools and a few outside organizations. I have an AS degree-paralegal, a BA in Religious Studies, and three Masters in Biblical Studies. I received my BA and Masters in my late 40’s and early 50’s! It’s never too late. I started my publishing company and writing my books in my 50’s as well. A few of my children’s stories I wrote when my children were little, but always had a desire to have them published.
What inspired you to write these books? What is the story behind the story?
I wanted books that helped children see how to be loving and kind to others, and to pray to Jesus asking guidance or giving thanks during a difficult situation. I could not find any of this type of book when my children were little. It is my mission to create products for children under seven that help them to build a strong foundation in Jesus and to learn how to be loving, compassionate and kind to others.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Learning how to become a successful writer and publisher. I knew nothing about the industry. The biggest obstacle is finding the time to do it all. I am an Adjunct Professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary, and I volunteer on a few other boards.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?
Receiving my first award from IBPA and since then receiving over 25 awards for the series. Also, I sent out a questionnaire to the local Christian elementary school teachers with a galley of my book to get their opinion if they thought this was a book that should be published and/or any suggestions that they may have. It was an excellent conformation that what I was doing was the will of God. They were so kind to make some great suggestions and told me they, and the children loved the book and hoped I would publish it and write more like it!
What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I love Max Lucado and anything that deals with Christian Theology. I have a vast amount of children’s books in my collection, some from when my children were young and also many from recent authors.
Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?
I write every day for many different reasons (blogs, magazine articles, my new book). My ritual is to pray often and always before I write!
What are your interests outside of writing?
Jogging, teaching, going to my lake house and reading. I am currently working on a book for parents that will help them raise little ones to love Jesus like they love Mommy and Daddy.
Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.
I think the biggest thing is to know your audience and your competition, but most importantly, write from the heart because you love it. Don’t expect to become wealthy or have your book turned into the next movie. Understand the industry and connect with other organizations like the Florida Authors and Publishers Asso. If you decide to self-publish, educate yourself! Double check everything! Learn the business! And pray often!
Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers. To suggest an author interview, email her: firstname.lastname@example.org