Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Meet the Authors of SIMPLE LITTLE WORDS & Giveaway

I’m pleased to welcome Michelle Cox and John Perrodin, authors of the new book Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life. Let’s meet Michelle and John!


Simple Little Words - JohnJohn Perrodin is Senior Editor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. He has written three YA novels with Jerry in the Renegade Spirit series. For 12-plus years he worked at Focus on the Family and served as Special Assistant to Dr. James C. Dobson. He and his wife, Sue, live in Colorado Springs.

Simple Little Words - Michelle Michelle Cox is a speaker, co-author (with John Perrodin) of Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, and the author of Mothers Who Made a Difference. She writes frequently for various publications at Focus on the Family, has written greeting card text, and recently taped as part of a DVD small group curriculum on parenting and marriage for Focus on the Family. She and her husband, Paul, live near Asheville, North Carolina.


JA: Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change A Life is a collection of stories about the importance of words. Please tell us a bit about it.
JP: Simple Little Words shows the powerful impact that the words we say can have on others. Too often we think that brief connections with family and friends don’t matter. Truth is some of the most meaningful words we’ve ever heard began as mere oft-hand comments. That’s because we rarely stop to consider how the words we say – for good or ill – will be remembered, maybe even for a lifetime.

MC: Simple Little Words features poignant stories of lives that were touched or changed by words someone said to them. I love that the book contains something for everyone. We have powerful stories about teachers, caregivers, individuals with disabilities, parenting, marriage, the business world, singles, aging, and many more. A different story touches me each time I read the book.

Simple Little Words JA: This book contains stories from (among others) author Karen Kingsbury, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, movie producer Ken Wales, and Chick-fil-A founder and CEO Truett Cathy. What was the reaction when you began seeking contributions for this project?
MC: John and I submitted the proposal for this book and then waited over seven months before we heard the publisher was going to send us a contract. They wanted the book in six weeks—and we only had two stories! Our first thought was panic and then we prayed about it. Two days later, I called John and said, “If God sent us the contract, He will send us the stories.” Only a few people turned us down when we requested submissions. When all the stories were finally in place, I read from beginning to end, and I wept because I realized God’s vision had been so much bigger than ours had been.

JP: My first thought was: How will we do this? But I knew that working with Michelle would make a daunting task doable. Plus, we completely turned the project over to God. We asked Him to bring us the stories to include. I’m certain that’s why we got such a tremendous mix of contributors.

JA: This is probably like asking a mother to pick her favorite child, but do you have a favorite story? One that really speaks to you?
MC: That’s a tough one since I love all of them. Dr. Dennis Hensley’s “One Word Made All the Difference” always squeezes my heart. This story features one of his students and the way Sean’s life changed forever because of simple words Dennis wrote on his quiz paper.

JP: I love “Avery’s New Shoes.” This story is full of home-grown touches and child-like wisdom. As a reader, I learn along with the kids about whom the tale is told. But you’re right, picking out a “favorite” is nearly impossible. Each story is so different and each shines like a gem in its own right.

JA: Can you recall a specific moment when someone’s words changed your life?
MC: One of those moments is the reason this book exists. As a child from a dysfunctional home situation, I had no self-esteem and no self-confidence. On a class field trip one day, a classmate’s mom said, “You have the most beautiful green eyes I’ve ever seen.” To her they were ten simple little words, but to a child who needed to hear there was something of beauty about her, they were life changing.

JP: My life is filled with many such moments. I think about recently when I was feeling frustrated over the enormous task of working full-time and writing books “on the side.” My sweet wife, Sue, just said, “You’re going to make it.” That helped me see past the deadlines and the unwritten words to the point when I can put aside the current Hot Project – and move on to the next one!

JA: What do you hope people will take away with them when they finish reading Simple Little Words?
MC: That our words are powerful tools that can be used to wound and defeat or to inspire and encourage. And those words are often remembered for a lifetime. What simple little words do you need to say to someone who needs to hear them?

JP: I hope our readers will be swept away by the variety and strength of each story. I want them to forget the day-to-day hassles for a few moments and reflect upon how quickly life passes. That being the case, why do we so often make cutting remarks when we could offer a splash of praise instead? I sincerely believe that each of us can do better at encouraging others – and that the tips provided in Simple Little Words will help make that happen.

JA: What’s next for each of you in the writing arena?
MC: I just finished a 360-page cookbook as a gift to welcome my son’s new bride to our family. I’ll continue writing for Focus on the Family Magazine, and John and I will soon begin working on a study guide/workbook for a large evangelistic ministry. I have several projects under consideration at various publishing houses.

JP: I’m working on four books in The Trio Plus series from Thomas Nelson. The first two novels in this YA series for teen girls are Uncover Me and Surviving Me. They release in August 2008. The Trio Plus books are co-written by Susie Shellenberger, Editor of Focus on the Family’s Brio magazine.

JA: When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
MC: I love being with my family. Paul and I have three mischievous—and awesome—sons ranging in age from 23 to 31. They are responsible for all my gray hairs and nervous twitches—and they are the joy of my life. Our youngest son is getting married in May so we are busy with wedding preparations. My husband and I work with the singles at our church and we love our 70+ “adapted” kids. From the time I was a little girl, reading has been my favorite hobby. Is anything any better than the crisp pages of a new book? I even read junk mail! Go figure.

JP: I love being with my family. My wife, Sue, and I are blessed with seven wonderful children ranging in age from 2 to 18. We enjoy singing, hiking, reading, walking, talking, playing games, and generally goofing around together. And Michelle and I enjoy getting out the word out about Simple Little Words in our spare time as well!

JA: Other than each other, who are some of your favorite authors?
MC: John’s young adult books in The Renegade Spirit series (with Jerry B. Jenkins) brought out the big kid in me. I love anything by Francine Rivers and Karen Kingbsury. And I’m at the store waiting when a new Brandilyn Collins, Dee Henderson, or Steven James suspense novel releases. I have tons of wonderful author friends and I enjoy all of their books.

JP: Michelle’s book, Mothers Who Made a Difference, is both beautiful and touching. I know your readers will enjoy it. I also find read biographies and recently finished the fascinating volume Steve & Me by Terri Irwin. I love reading George MacDonald and Henry Van Dyke. (Everything they wrote.) I consider Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind an all-time favorite. Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s Social Crimes and Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence are riveting novels of manners and morals. Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy is a classic that my older children also find deeply moving.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
JP: We would love to have friends visit us at www.SimpleLittleWords.com. There they’ll find a wealth of fun, and yes – simple ways to make life a bit easier. We have simple little recipes, simple little cleaning tips, simple little writing hints, etc. You get the idea. I’d also enjoy having visitors on www.JohnPerrodin.com, my “official” author website.

MC: After you visit www.SimpleLittleWords.com and www.JohnPerrodin.com, click on over and visit me at www.MichelleCoxInspirations.com.

Thank you, Michelle and John, and continued blessings to both of you in your writing journeys!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on April 8th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck!


Bunny B said...

Oh! I'd love to read this book and then have it passed around to my friends who enjoy books to improve ourselves! :)

luv2read said...

Who wouldn't want to hear some inspiring words from all the inspiring people that are part of the book. I am always looking to make live simpler. Hope I win the book. shellie01powell(at)bellsouth (dot) com

Carolyn said...

Would love to be included in this drawing.
prairierose5811 [at] yahoo[dot] com

Jennifer AlLee said...

Hi Ladies, good to see you all here!

Bunny b, you're right, this is a great book to share with friends. It would make a terrific gift, too.

Susan Stitch said...

What a great concept for a book. It is always good to read how others words changed lives helps me to remember to think about the right things to say when I'm in similar situations. It doesn't mean I always do, but if it makes a difference even once that is important. Please include me in the drawing.

Lee said...

Hi, Jen,

Could you please put me down as an entry to this comp?
I really enjoyed the interview, especially the bit about ten little words. I can relate to that story!

Congrats on another great interview.

Western Australia

Katie said...

I would love this!

Carolynn W. said...

Great interview! We should all be reminded how powerful our words are! I would love to read this book, thanks for the chance to win!

windycindy said...

What a powerful book about the power of our words! I have taught my sons to really think before they say something to someone. Having grown up with a large birthmark on my face, I know what words can do. I stress to them that what they say can stay with a person for a lifetime! Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks very much.....Cindi

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included for the chance to win! tWarner419@aol.com

diane said...

What a wonderful book! This is so special since such inspiration is what we value. It would be a great book which I would give to my sister. She lost her young husband this past year. Thanks for the great giveaway. rojosho (at)hotmail(dot)com

pearl said...

This book is lovely and holds the key to my heart. Thanks for this glimpse. Wonderful. Saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

ellie said...

This book is so appealing and unique. Love the chance to read and learn from it. Thanks for this special giveaway.

Cherie J said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me in the drawing.

Cherie J said...

Oops! Forgot to give you my email


petite said...

I am enthralled with this precious book. I would share it with my close friends and family whom I know would appreciate every word. Thanks. bencanada1(at)yahoo(dot)com

stampedwithgrace said...

this sounds like a great book, please enter me, thanks!

John Perrodin said...

Hey Jennifer,
John Perrodin here! Thanks so much for running our interview about Simple Little Words. Michelle and I had a blast working together on this project and hope to have many other opportunities to write as a team.

Best of luck to all those vying for the book. But be warned, you may need some Kleenex. (Check out our "tissue endorsements" at the simplelittlewords.com website.)
Blessings, Jennifer & friends -- and happy writing...

Katie said...

I would love to read this!

Jennifer AlLee said...

And the winner is... Ellie! Congrats to you, and thanks to everyone who stopped by.

Be Blessed!