LifeLetter Cafe LifeWriter Maria Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker.
Her passion is sharing the truth of God’s Word with our generation.
She was bitten by the writing bug when she was in junior high
and was chosen to be on the staff of her school newspaper.
She continued crafting stories and term papers during college,
not giving much consideration to her professors’ comments to pursue a career in writing.
At the time, her focus was on health, and she earned a degree in Corporate Wellness.
Maria left the corporate world years ago, and once again turned to writing
– including creating a series of children’s books around a central character “Louie the Lawnmower”.
The first book in the series, Louie’s BIG Day! is about a bright red lawnmower
who used to live at the hardware store with his friends:
Ruthie Rake, Eddie Edger, Bobbie Blower, Terri Trowel, and Henri Hose.
Recently he was purchased by a man and his wife and now he’s on his own.
Louie misses his friends, but it’s time to find out if he can do the job he was made to do.
Just in time for the Christmas holiday,
Maria has released her second book in the series, Louie & The Leaf Pile.
In Maria’s own words,
Louie the Lawnmower and his friends are back!
Leaves are beginning to fall and Louie wants to be a hero.
He comes up with a plan to tackle a mountain of autumn leaves.
Will he succeed or will he forget a very important component?
Join Louie and the gang in their all-new adventure!
So LifeLetter Cafe is excited to share this recent interview with Maria
to learn more about the story behind Louie the Lawnmower.
Enjoy her answers below in the latest 7 Questions Sunday
and watch for your chance to win a free copy!
Today’s “7 Questions Sunday”
LifeLetter Cafe: Where and when did the desire to create kids books first begin?
Maria Morgan: I guess you could say I grew up with a love for reading. My Mom read all kinds of books to my brother and me when we were young. Some of our all-time favorites were by Dr. Seuss – “Green Eggs & Ham,” and “Sneetches on Beaches.” My love for books, coupled with an active imagination, paved the way for writing stories for kids. I’m just a big kid at heart and thoroughly enjoy spending time in the classroom reading my stories to kids of all ages.
Whether devotional material or children’s books, my hope is to share God’s truth and make an eternal difference. A fun fact about me: although I no longer have it, I wrote my first book (complete with cover design) when I was 7 years old.
LifeLetter Cafe: What was the inspiration for the Louie The Lawnmower Series?
Maria Morgan: It was really a God-thing. The makers of Cheerio’s breakfast cereal were hosting a writing contest called Spoonfuls of Stories (now Cheer On Reading). I wrote “Louie’s BIG day!” hoping to be chosen for the grand prize – to have my story published by Simon & Schuster.
When Louie and the gang didn’t capture first place, I filed the story and continued writing devotional material for adults. I was part of a monthly writer’s critique group at the time and remember taking my Louie story to one of the meetings. The group loved the story – captivated by the characters and their timeless message. And that was the beginning of the Louie the Lawnmower series.
LifeLetter Cafe: What makes it possible for kids to connect with the main character Louie?
Maria Morgan: Louie is a friendly, adventurous lawnmower. He likes to have fun with his pals, but just like you and me, he struggles with insecurities: will he be able to do the job he was created to do? Will his friends forgive him when he blows it?
Kids can relate to Louie because he deals with a lot of the same issues they’re facing. And does so in a fun way.
“I am loved.
My purpose is to bring honor and glory to the Lord.
I love being able to do that through my writing.”
– Maria Morgan –
LifeLetter Cafe: In Louie’s BIG day!, you addressed issues such as self-worth and purpose – were these issues you had to work through in your own childhood?
Maria Morgan: Tough question! I didn’t like conflict when I was growing up and tried to do my best to please everyone. It would be accurate to say I based my self-worth on how I performed – i.e. if I did well in school, I was okay; if I didn’t, my confidence was shattered.
I don’t recall thinking much about purpose as a child, although my parents did a good job of supporting and encouraging me.
Self-worth and purpose took on a new meaning after I became a Christian at the age of 21. I realized God loved me unconditionally – there was nothing I could do to make Him love me any more or less. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2: 8-9; KJV).
Salvation was a gift of God – I couldn’t earn it by being good enough. I just needed to accept the gift. Now my worth is wrapped up in my identity in Christ. I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven (Eph. 1: 3-7). I am loved. My purpose is to bring honor and glory to the Lord. I love being able to do that through my writing.
LifeLetter Cafe: Now Louie & the Leaf Pile is out – tells us about the message of the book.
Maria Morgan: Louie the Lawnmower and his friends ARE back! In this all-new adventure, leaves are beginning to fall and Louie wants to be a hero. He comes up with a plan to tackle a mountain of autumn leaves. But in his desire for recognition, he forgets a very important component.
Pride is something we all deal with – kids included. Louie shares an important lesson on this topic in his new action-adventure. I promise not to be a spoiler. You’ll have to pick up (or win) a copy of the book to find out how Louie’s problem is resolved!
LifeLetter Cafe: How difficult is it to step into children’s literature and how does it help you develop as an author?
Maria Morgan: I have to admit I spent time perusing “Writing Children’s Books for Dummies,” and reading lots of children’s books before coming up with an idea for my own series.
Because I wrote the original storyline for the Cheerio’s contest, I knew I’d need to tweak the ending to emphasize the spiritual component. That’s how Louie’s Lesson Corner came about – a section at the end of each book designed to allow discussion between parent and child, so the main concepts can be highlighted.
The thing I love about writing stories for children is I get to keep things simple – there is one main theme with a possible sub-theme. Then there’s the challenge: keeping it simple. A frustrating conundrum, I know.
As an author, it helps me to focus. I try to think through questions like: How can I get my point across in a fun way? What do I want my young readers to take away from the story? For me, the illustrations are just as important as the story-line. They have to be on point. Sherrie Molitor has done a phenomenal job creating the fun-loving, memorable characters I had visualized in my mind.
LifeLetter Cafe: What’s next for Louie? . . . and we understand one of our readers can win a free copy of “Louie & the Leaf Pile” – tell us more!
Maria Morgan: Louie’s adventures are just beginning. I’ll let you in on a little secret: a brand new yard tool will be joining the gang in the next story – a shovel named Sherry. You’ll want to stay tuned for the next riveting exploit about taming the tongue.
I’m excited to offer a copy of “Louie & the Leaf Pile” to one reader
who answers the following question in the comments below:
What topic/lesson would you like to see addressed in an upcoming book in the Louie the Lawnmower series? Put your thinking caps on – maybe your idea will be Louie and the gang’s next adventure. Ready. Set. Mow. (Couldn’t resist!)
*Contest open to US residents only
*Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, December 6th, 2015. Winner will be chosen by a random drawing and notified via email.
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