Today I am SO excited to gather here with our Heart”wings” sister, the MORE than energetic and self-described “study-a-holic,” Margie Harding!
JJB: Margie, could we just jump in with a little about your history and then chat about your current passion project?
MH: Sure! Let’s do this!
JJB: How did you become a published author, and could you tell us a little about some of your books?
MH: I’ve written for nearly 30 years. Devotions were my strong point, as I wrote for several different publications. I moved to Sunday School curriculum, writing entire units. I also wrote some children’s material – Ranger Rick and Cobblestone – and even had a Christian puzzle book published in 2000 (it went from Genesis through Revelation) and three more puzzle books in 2006.
I was delighted when an editor sent a request to several authors she’d worked with describing a new project she was interested in. My idea and submission were not chosen, but I’d already done so much research, I decided to write the book anyway! From that, The Christmas Countdown was born. Paraclete Press picked it up in 2010.
Going to college after my five children were grown in 2004 gave me material for More Than a Mom, a novel written based on my experiences as a full-time, non-traditional student—who was still mom, gran, wife and a hundred other things! And we had unbelievable life events that happened during that three-year stint. Not much changed except adding one more thing to my plate! But I needed to know I could be “more than a mom!” This book was picked up in 2015 by Painted Gate Publishing; and they have been my publishing company since then – they are small but very supportive!
I have also created a Christian Woman’s Journal.
and a two-book set of devotionals for teen girls.
JJB: Wow, Margie, you’ve quite a varied writing career and such a full life! I’m certain you are a wonderful inspiration to many woman who’ve come to know you through your More Than a Mom book! So, we just gotta know. . . why do you write and what keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
MH: I write because (bad grammar alert) “I can’t NOT write!” It’s the way God designed me. I’d write even if I didn’t get paid! In fact, I do, if you include my blogs!
I’m not sure I actually have any “creative slumps.” I have so much going on, and such a variety of interests, if one thing fails me, I can easily move to another! Motivation? I just keep doing! In fact I’m going to start a brand new blog in the next few months called “HomeSteading Junction.” This blog will be all about home steading and the different areas that circle that word such as Bush Craft, Herbs and Herbal Medicine, survival and the wilderness, etc.
My AA degree in college was Early Elementary Education. I could have gone on and gotten the BA but I’m too old to have a classroom and my husband would have had to settle long term in one place (which would have foiled his dream of traveling). Writing gives me the “teaching” element I need. So besides being a writer, I’m a teacher at heart!
JJB: Oh, we are kindreds, Margie! I, too am a teacher/writer. You know it’s said the best way to learn something is to have to teach it! You are an extraordinary student as well as teacher! Could you share more about your current writing projects.
MH: My current passion project is The Paxton Series. “Paxton’s World On Fire” is the first book of a series that deals with special needs and disabilities. Each book (after this one that introduces some of the consistent characters throughout the series) will deal with a specific need or disability. It is written for the child with the disability or special need….and for the child that asks, “What is wrong with my friend?” These books have amazing illustrations! This series is being well received and will continue indefinitely! I am so excited about the possibilities!
The latest one in this series is “The Camping Trip” which features the subject of ADHD. It is all about how a little guy has ADHD, how his peers see him, and how he demonstrates his brilliance at the end. The “friends” finally understand that while he is different, he is also special! And this is the theme of each book in the series. Children (and adults) need to understand that different is not wrong! It’s just different and even if there is a disability this ‘people group’ have capabilities that in some instances far surpasses what we ‘normal’ people can do!
The list of possibilities is very, very long for this series! People have emailed me suggestions of other topics—disabilities or special needs—that I’ve never even heard of!
JJB: With the variety of subjects and genre you’ve written, Margie, if someone is new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?
MH: Interesting question! That would depend on the age, or need.
Anyone who reads my novel, More Than a Mom, can get to know me because I’m Melanie in the book (although all names, places and dates have been changed).
To grow in Christ, which is a greater ambition, would be The Christian Woman’s Journal or even the Advent book, The Christmas Countdown.
For children, I would definitely suggest Juice, Jam, Jelly, and certainly the Paxton Series for disabilities and special needs.
JJB: Margie, I know you have several more projects in the works and are looking to expand yourself creatively. Can you let us in on something that’s brewing for you?
MH: I guess the one thing more I am excited about (besides the new blog on Home Steading) is in next few months I plan to create videos of me reading my children’s books aloud to a group of children and then sharing them on YouTube.
Although I’m a little intimidated the idea of my being able to read to children who might not otherwise have a story read to them, is especially exciting for me! I’ve looked at some read-alouds on YouTube and mine would be different than what I’ve seen there. I have two character images that come to mind when I think of how I will do mine: Mr. Roger’s (from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) and Mrs. Doubtfire from the movie. I loved how “she” sat in her chair and read a story and that is what I plan to do! It’ll take some practice and a little more time to get it all ironed out, but I’m committed to doing this and am really looking forward to this project! It is my earnest hope that they will be accepted and used often!
JJB: You are a prolific writer who is a Christian but you don’t write in the Christian genre, per se. Do you intentionally include a spiritual element in your books?
MH: This totally depends on the book. My More than a Mom novel is not “Christian” per se. However, I absolutely told the story from a Christian perspective, even to the point of one of my children in the story accepting Christ as Savior. The Paxton Series does not have the “spiritual element” but is based on what is right and good; on acceptance and that it’s okay to be different.
JJB: Alrighty, Margie, now to get a little more personal. . .could you share a few of your personal faves?
MH: Well, my favorite food is beets (no kidding)! I prefer water without ice and coffee but it MUST be HOT!) I’m partial to the color yellow and if I have my ‘druthers, I wear low heeled shoes or flip flops with a slight heel.
OH! When I’ve traveled, I’m most favored Israel which was amazing. Although in the US, I LOVE the Black Hills of South Dakota!
The Left Behind Series is a favorite of mine, and I’m a huge fan of Beverly Lewis and Lori Wick, but I love the old classics, too – Jack London, Hawthorne, Steinbeck. I’d have to say my favorite movie is Facing the Giants.
JJB: Margie it has been so good to get to know you and I thank you for sharing yourself and your wonderful projects with us! We are looking forward to keeping up with you and your upcoming titles and videos, too!!
MH: This has been fun! Thank you!
One lucky commenter will win a personal copy of the first book in the Paxton Series (On Fire)! To grab your chance, please answer the following question in the comments below:
If education/money/location/responsibilities/etc. were no object what dream would YOU pursue?
[All comments to win the giveaway should be made by midnight Sunday, 08/06/17. The winner will be announced here on Monday, 08/07/17.]
To find out more and to keep up with Margie and her projects, check out the following links!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Margie-Harding-131698426842695 / Twitter: @margiejharding
www.margieharding.com (Daily Threads, secular — posted on Tuesday’s)
http://margiejharding.blogspot.com (Heartsong, Christian — posted on Monday’s)