Nicola Fairbairn, author of our new Rosie and Family Books, talks to us about family devotions, becoming and author, and her love of reading.
10ofThose –Hi Nicola, thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your new books!
Nicola – No problem!
10ofThose– We’re really excited to have released 3 brand new children’s books that you’ve written. What inspired you with these stories?
Nicola – Well I love writing stories and teaching little kids & one of the things I’m involved in is helping to run our local church toddler group. Each week we read a Bible story to the kids, which is great, but I was looking for some other stories to read with them that would help the children and parents relate the Bible to their everyday life.There were a few things out there but not quite what I was looking for so I thought I’d try write my own. They each focus on the same family and hopefully give a snapshot of Christian family life to other people.
10ofThose –I love the way each book shows the parents reaching for the Bible to help their children face difficulties or questions they have. You say you love writing stories, is that something you’ve been doing for a long time?
Nicola – Yes! I always loved reading books and writing as a child and then loved teaching it in the primary classroom. Now I love reading the stories my own children write too!
10ofThose –You must have a great deal of patience being a primary school teacher! What year group is your favourite?
Nicola – More patience in the classroom than at home! I think Year 4. I mostly taught Key Stage 2 (age 7–11) when I was full time, now I do supply so I go all over the school!
10ofThose –How old are your children Nicola, and are the characters in your books based on them?
Nicola – My daughter is 9, my middle son is 7 and my littlest son is 3. The characters aren’t based on them but lots of the ideas have come from different scenarios that come up in our family all the time. The Bible/prayer times in the story are a lot calmer than the reality in our house!! But we can testify to the power of prayer and the way God’s word speaks into all of our lives in the best and worst moments of family life.
10ofThose –Do you test out your story ideas on them?
Nicola – Yes I read them out to the children! They’re very encouraging!
10ofThose –That’s lovely! Did you celebrate and do anything special when you found out these were being published?
Nicola – They were over the moon to see the pictures and text together! My daughter is very excited to tell people her Mum is going to be a real life author (also her dream, as well as director and star of musical theatre!) We didn’t do anything particularly special, but maybe we will.
10ofThose –The illustrations are wonderful, have you had chance to meet Ruth Hearson?
Nicola – No, but I would love to. I feel incredibly grateful that I love her illustrations so much, she’s captured the family so beautifully.
10ofThose –A lot of people don’t realise that authors and illustrators are matched by the publishers, and often don’t meet at all!
Nicola – Yes I’m sure that must be the case. I was so thankful that 10ofThose were able to find her for me as I certainly couldn’t have drawn anything like it!
10ofThose –You mentioned Bible/Prayer times with your family. Are there any resources that you have used that you can recommend for families with small children?
Nicola – We’ve used lots of different things at different times. Beginning with God is good for little ones. My middle son loves XTB. We are using a Nancy Guthrie mealtime devotional at breakfast at the moment. They are all at different stages, so it’s sometimes difficult altogether and one to one works well. My husband prefers to just read the Bible and ask simple questions to them (easier for him to think them up as he’s a pastor!) For a while we read a psalm a week and learnt a song that went with it. Try something, but don’t be afraid to stop and try something else if it’s not working!
10ofThose –That’s great advice, there’s definitely no ‘one size fits all’, but good to know what has worked for other people. Do you have a favourite book Nicola?
Nicola – I love reading Christian biographies. So the Helen Roseveare books are brill. If it was fiction, hmmm hard to choose. I think The Book Thief.
10ofThose –You’ll love our new biography, An Open Door by Maud Kells, she was a good friend of Helen Roseveare’s. How long was the process between writing your books and them being published?
Nicola – Pretty long! I first asked a friend to illustrate them but she decided she couldn’t commit to it. Then I sent them to 10ofThose. I think it was about 3 years ago?
10ofThose –What was the hardest part of the process?
Nicola – When writing the books I found it hard to write an ending that wasn’t too twee and unrealistic. The waiting was hard to begin with, but when I realised I was able to see Ruth’s progress on the illustrations on her Facebook page that was really helpful. All in all it hasn’t been a hard process for me at all!
10ofThose –So do you have any more ideas in the pipeline?
Nicola – Yes! I’ve already written a few other stories for the Rosie family, including one I wrote for my daughter when her best friends moved away.
10ofThose –How exciting! Before we finish I always like to ask a serious and silly question. Firstly, what is your favourite verse or passage of scripture?
Nicola – Gosh so many. I think Proverbs 3v5–6 would have to be one of them!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
10ofThose –Great choice! Now the silly question, if you were an animal what would you be and why?
Nicola – Some sort of bird I think. Maybe a Kingfisher! We go to Kingfisher church so that’s another good reason to choose it! It’s small and fast and the colours are beautiful! And it can fly!
10ofThose –Wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, I’m sure Rosie and her family will be a firm favourite with families everywhere.
Nicola Fairbairn lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and their three children. She is a supply teacher in local primary schools and helps run her church toddler group.