Monday, March 3, 2014

Interview with Ashley Tetzlaff

Ashley, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
 I am a young wife and stay-at-home mom residing in the Washington Palouse. I devour others' books and crank out my own while my little one is sleeping. I was homeschooled and plan to homeschool. I love the Lord and am so thankful for all He has bestowed upon me :)

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
 My mom custom catered my curriculum to my strengths and weaknesses and interests. If there was an area I loved (such as reading), she sowed into that area. If there was something I struggled with a little more, like grammar, she made sure to give me a wide range of exposure to the subject (in this case, through regular text books, learning foreign languages, and picking up on grammar use through reading books).

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
I grew up in the Texas hill country, which meant plenty of time outside with bees, cows, chickens, cats, gardening, and my ten siblings. A lot of my writing assignments for school centered around those aforementioned things.
      As with many homeschooling families, I was very close to my brothers and sisters. After school and chores, we could sit under the shade of our pecan, elm, or oak trees, and tell each other stories. My short, fictional, kids' tales were in great demand during these narrative powwows.

What caused you to start writing?
Starting around age eight or so and continuing till I graduated at sixteen, my mom had me write around a page a day for my Creative Writing class. Half the time I wrote poetry, half the time I wrote fiction/non-fiction prose works.

What inspired Debra the Dove?
I ran across a Christian organization at my local farmer's market. This organization, Store House, bought grain by the truckload from local farmers, cleaned it, packaged it, and then shipped it all over the world to other Christian organizations working with the poor - from US food pantries to third world refugee camps. I wanted to write a kids' story that raised awareness of world hunger as well as this specific organization. Jesus said, "What you do for the least of these, you do unto me."

Would you give us a synopsis?
Debra lives a happy, well-fed life. One day, she goes on vacation and discovers that not everyone has it as good as she does - in fact, some are starving. Debra flies back home and then, with the help of others, brings food back to the starving birds.

Who will enjoy Debra the Dove?
I wrote it for the three to six year old crowd. It works both as a read-aloud and an early reader. Parents can use the book as a simple way to broach the subject of poverty and helping others. The black and white illustrations are geared toward the homeschool community, who tend to appreciate the hand-sketches more than other folks. Some also use it as a coloring book. :)

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes, many more. I want to provide homeschooling, God-fearing families with decent kids' books for their 3-7 year-olds. Many books out there for this age level feature monsters or broken families or nonsense. I want to counteract that with my stories. And, Lord willing, some day I hope to write longer novels for youths/adults.

Do you have any final thoughts?
Whether or not one realizes it, books and movies communicate values (or lack thereof) to one's mind and heart. Good and evil are portrayed in every book, but while some show that good pays in the end and evil loses, others show evil as justified and good as old-fashioned. What do you want to sow into your (and your children's) mind and heart? Scripture says, "Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, honorable, think about such things." And that is the focus I have attempted to have with my books.
You can access Debra the Dove and my other books at

Ashley is giving away a copy of Debra the Dove Feeds the Hungry. Enter to win below.


  1. Good interview! I would have loved to be a "fly on the wall" or rather a "fly on the tree" during you and your siblings narrative pow-wows. ;) Sounds like great memories!
    I admire the call to write decent material for a younger crowd - we certainly are in need of it! Keep up the good work!

    Rebecca Rash

  2. My favorite picture book was always "Clara and the Bookwagon" when I was young. What age characters do you usually have in your books?


    1. Hi Rebecca,
      I usually think of my children's characters in the 5-8 age range. Though, of course, those would be the human characters; the animals would just be "young".

  3. Hello Ashley!
    I really enjoyed reading your interview! I, too, am a homeschooled author, young wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing good reading material for youngsters! (I think we may even be about the same age?)
    I just sent you a friend request on Facebook because I live in Oregon and want to add you to my group Homeschool Authors NW. It would be so fun to connect sometime and talk writing for children!!
    So, I'm curious... do you have younger siblings you write for? My siblings have always been my first (and most appreciative!) audience.
    So happy to have "met" you here!
    Perry Elisabeth

    1. Howdy Perry!
      Yes, I thought we might be about the same age, as well as the same stage of life... as well as have the same middle name ;)
      Feel free to message me at any time.
      I do write for younger siblings. Each book is dedicated to someone, often to a younger sibling who I thought of when I was writing the book.
      Thanks for your questions!
      God bless!