Cara, Welcome to Homeschool Authors. Please, introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Cara Simmons, and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your site. I was born and raised in Vermont, where I graduated as a homeschooler in 1993, back in the time when homeschooling was a strange and unfamiliar word to most. I am the second oldest of six children, and I was ten years old when my parents took me out of public school because they did not agree with the curriculum they were using at the school. I currently live in Connecticut with my husband and five children, whom I am homeschooling.
What was your favorite part of being homeschooled?
I liked the flexibility and freedom that homeschooling gave me, as well as the fact that I did not have to deal with peer pressure from other students during high school.
How did being homeschooled, shape you as a writer?
Even with five siblings around, I spent many hours alone reading, writing stories, observing other people, and putting down my deepest thoughts in a journal. I was always better at putting my thoughts down on paper than I was speaking them aloud, so I used the extra time I had being at home to write. I did not have many friends to talk to either, so my writings became my friends.
Growing up, what were some of your favorite books?
I loved reading so I read pretty much read whatever I could find that was clean and decent. Summer of the Monkeys, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, The Bunjee Venture, and Anne of Green Gables series were just a few of my many favorites.
If you had to pick a favorite author now, who would it be?
My favorite author is Francine Rivers. The first time I read one of her books, I was completely captivated by her way with words. She has an amazing way of grabbing the reader's interest and I always wanted to write like she did.
What inspired you to write The Orphans of Mordecai's Castle trilogy?
When I was a teenager, I began telling my siblings and their neighbor friends stories about a bunch of monkeys that lived on an island, where they had all sorts of adventures and crazy mishaps. As I grew up, the island idea remained in my head, but I wanted something more meaningful to write about than just a bunch of monkeys. The topic of orphans was always near and dear to my heart so I wanted to combine the two ideas and the trilogy is what came out of it all.
What is the trilogy about?
The trilogy is about a group of orphan children that are taken under the wing of a missionary, who is taking them to find new homes. Having to sail from Boston to Florida, the children wind up getting separated from their guardian. They end up on an island with an old, abandoned castle, which they make their home. The series is about the children trying to survive on their own, learning to trust the Lord to take care of them in every situation, and they encounter many adventures and exciting turns along the way. There is a little bit for everyone in the books, including a budding relationship between a young man and young woman, who want to do it the right way and keep God in the center of everything. I have been told there are a few tense moments in the books that some young children were nervous about, but everything always works out for good. The Haven focuses on learning to completely trust in the Lord through every situation; The Leviathan focuses on learning to find God's will for your life and doing it no matter how hard it may be; The Champion focuses on learning that no matter what happens, whether you win or lose, we are champions in God's eyes.
Who will enjoy it?
I wrote the books with children ages 9-12 years of age in mind, but so many adults (and teens) have told me they enjoyed the stories too. Many have read them out loud to their entire family. So, if you are between the ages 5-95, you should enjoy the story.
If you had to compare it to another book series, what would it most be like?
I have been told that my books are like the Swiss Family Robinson meet the Chronicles of Narnia, though I think it has a mixture of the Sound of Music with all the children involved, another favorite story of mine.
Where can people get it?
People can purchase my books directly through my website at www.carasimmons.com. Each book I send out is personally signed.
How does your faith affect your writing?
I believe that every talent is given by our Heavenly Father, including the gift of writing. My books would be nothing without His help, so I made sure He was the center of each book. My goal was to create clean, Godly reading material that a Christian family could put into the hands of their children and not have to worry about anything questionable. There are lots of Scripture verses in each book, and the Gospel message is clearly explained so even a child can understand.
Any advice to an author just starting out?
My advice would be to do what you love - concentrate on getting your thoughts down onto paper and do not worry about all the details. The first step is to write, write, write. Everything will come together in time if you give it to the Lord.
Do you have any final thoughts?
I do plan to keep on writing, though I am not sure what my next project will be. I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me in the future and cannot wait to get the next story out. God bless!