Saturday, March 01, 2008
Interview with author Roberta Simpson
Today I want you to meet the delightful author Roberta Simpson. Roberta has written a children's Bible story book, Nana's Bible Stories, with illustrations by Susan Mitchell. It comes with a CD with narration either by Sheila Walsh, speaker with Women of Faith, or actress Jane Seymour.
Anita: Roberta, thanks for agreeing to the interview about your book.
ROBERTA: It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some of my personal thoughts and experiences as a new author with you, Anita, and the Authentic You ladies! I am so blessed to see the work you are doing to help and encourage each other!
There are so many gifts lying dormant in the lives of women—just waiting to be discovered or understood. I pray not only that my book, Nana’s Bible Stories will be encouraging to the children in your life—but, also that my personal story will be of encouragement to many of you as you pursue your calling.
Anita: Why did you decide to begin a career at the age of 70?
ROBERTA: I was not looking for a career! I thought that raising 5 children, and being a stay at home mom was career enough! It was as if the “career” found me! It is so exciting, and I love the changes that are happening due to this new career.
I loved being a mother, and one that was able to stay at home. (Actually, it would have been very difficult to find someone to look after five kids!) Although, there were times I would have just loved to shut my eyes, shut my ears and hide for several hours! But really, I would do it all over again. I am so grateful to my husband for letting me be a “stay at home” Mom!
God chose for us to be mothers, and what a wonderful joy it is to have children, no matter how harassed we are or how tired we become. We are raising little armies for Jesus! And how wonderful it is that God continues to use us long after our children are grown!
Anita: Why did you decide to write Nana’s Bible Stories?
ROBERTA: Books are such an important element in a child’s life. Books with stories of the Bible are wonderful, because kids can start at an early age, learning wonderful lessons from this great book. The Bible has more adventure and excitement than any book ever published.
I wanted so much to write stories that were warm, exciting, with the emphasis on how much Jesus loves children, and how He was such a wonderful loving person on this earth, even though He was the Son of God! I wish for children to know how important they are in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was passionate about them and I want kids to be passionate about Him!
Bible literacy is so important! The Bible is the most influential text in all of Western culture – in fact, ninety percent of high school teachers in a 2005 study said that Bible knowledge is critical to a good education. Yet, sadly, the rate of Bible illiteracy among teens entering college is alarmingly high and is severely limiting their ability to understand classic and modern literature, art, music and culture.
Anita: Your personal story is one of obedience. You didn’t plan to become an author. Tell us about some of the challenges you faced from family, friends, etc. on your journey.
ROBERTA: Challenges do come, and they come often. Some years ago, I did a writing seminar, here in Barbados. I remember being so excited, as I did want to write, but up until then, I had only written articles for the newspaper, and a few plays for church.
The gentleman who read and corrected all that I had written scribbled all over them with a nasty little red pen. On the bottom he wrote, “You can’t write!” I shrugged and thought, “I have five kids to raise and I have lots to do, so never mind!” He was a very influential man in Barbados – in fact, he was a well known Pastor! Lesson to be learned in this? When God says you can do it, even a well known Pastor cannot get in the way with his negative comments!
Years later, when I knew God spoke to me about writing, I felt excited and flew home (I mean drove!) and started to write. I believe what was important at that time, was obeying God, and not listening to man!
Friends and especially family have totally encouraged me on my adventure, and this is really special!
Anita: You are a Jewish believer. Do you think your Jewish heritage played a role in the telling of Nana’s Bible Stories?
ROBERTA: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! I always look on the Bible as a Jewish book to begin with. However, my love for Israel and the Jewish people is a big help. I have been to Israel too many times to count, and am in touch with the people and the culture. The land is exquisite, and when I am writing stories, I can picture the people, and the place in which the story takes place.
I do believe that often, we forget Jesus was Jewish, and many things He said and the content of the stories He told were very Jewish.
I have worked closely with the illustrator, Susan Mitchell, who was wonderful illustrator for my book. It was great fun inspiring her with pictures and describing the people as she brought Israel to life through her illustrations. I think she did a great job, in color and characters!
Anita: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, wrote the foreword for Nana’s Bible Stories. Tell us how she became involved in your work.
ROBERTA: My husband and I have been friends with Prince Andrew for many years and were invited to Fergie and Andrew’s wedding.
We met Sarah the evening before the wedding and soon after they came to Barbados for a short holiday. Even though we do not see each other often, we have remained friends through the years.
I was speaking to her one day, after I had started writing my book. I asked her about the illustrator she used for one of her books, as I loved the illustrations. She was very kind, and really enjoyed my stories. She told me that when I was ready to publish she would write a foreword for my book. I am very grateful for this, and appreciate very much her offering to do this for me.
Anita: You are “Lady” Roberta Simpson. How did you receive that title?
ROBERTA: Actually, I did not receive the title. My husband received a title and was knighted. As a result he is titled Sir Kyffin Simpson, and I am Lady Simpson.
Anita: What words of encouragement would you give to other women who have been stay at home Moms, but now have the time and want to use their gifts and talents to start a career or business? Is it ever too late?
ROBERTA: Well, first of all, it is never too late. So I say to all you wonderful Moms, go girl go! I say God has placed wonderful gifts inside of you, which some of you may or may not be aware.
I did not know I had books inside of me! So I know God will take some of you by surprise. He will take you on a great adventure! Some of you know already what you want to do, and have obvious gifts that others can see.
Just give your life over to Him in a new way, and ask Him how to proceed in your new career. He will answer you!
Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my life and calling with you. If you would like to learn more about me or my book, please go to www.nanasbiblestories.com. You may download one of my favorite stories, The Butterfly and the Cross—the story of the crucifixion as told through the gentle and tender eyes of a butterfly. I have also included a special devotional for the story which you may share with your children this Easter season. Cuddle up with a child and enjoy!
Anita: And thank you, Roberta, for sharing with us today.