Anna Alden-Tirrill was born in Virginia and grew up as an Army brat. As a pre-teen and teen, she lived in Paris, France and Frankfurt, Germany where her father was stationed. Returning to the States, she graduated from The American University in Washington, DC. As a graduate student, she taught a French class. She returned to her alma mater later as an Adjunct Professor of women’s studies and counseling. Since then she has worked as an elementary school teacher, a counselor for women, and a director for Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship. Anna began writing for publication in 2005. Her women’s devotional series—The Secret Places Series—of four devotionals is available (www.SecretPlaceSeries.com), as well as her series of children’s books, Annie’s Adventures Series. The first in her series is A Cat Named Mouse (www.CatNamedMouse.com).
Thank you for joining us today, Anna. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Native to Virginia, I now live in the Minneapolis, MN area so I can be near family. I’m a full-time editor, interior book designer, cover designer, and book publisher working from my home office. I get lots of enjoyment out of helping authors get their books into print. I have a passion about my work. In my spare time, I do my own writing and have been published since 2005—so far twelve books.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote my first screenplay with a neighborhood friend. In high school, I was in the literary club and loved writing poetry for English class. I’ve always loved to write. After being the managing editor for several newspapers, my writing style took on more of a journalist approach. My devotionals are based on research and include quotes from women of faith down through the centuries on topics relevant to us today. My children’s books are all based on true stories and thus also are storytelling of real life events.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
Children have a natural curiosity and an open mind to new ideas. As adults, we need to be ever mindful of what we introduce to these young open minds. Writing books that include Christian themes that are biblically based, and offer a strong Christian role model is a sacred trust and I take it very seriously. I want to attract parents who are looking for ways to share with their children the Christian message that is on their own hearts. My books are intended to help open dialogue between parents and their children.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
Absolutely, because of the diligence and trust parents place in what their children read. It is imperative that what I write reflects the truth of Scripture. I don’t write from any denominational point of view, but a general traditional Christian viewpoint. It takes careful diligence to make sure that what I’m offering children is solidly biblically based and something that will help them to grow in their own spiritual journey.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
Sharing with them and showing them how they can be all God created them to be—fulfilled, joyful, hopeful, and trusting Him as their loving Heavenly Father. A message written to encourage and inspire one child, one reader, is what it’s all about.
In my Annie’s Adventure Series, Annie is a twelve-year-old seventh grader. She tells the story of how her tabby cat named Mouse went missing because a large animal pulled the screen out of the window where she was sitting. Annie becomes worried because her cat had never been outside. She realizes that Mouse was vulnerable to predatory animals, storms, and the high July heat. Will Mouse ever return home? Will she end up the victim of a coyote or some other wild animal? Will she die of exposure or starvation? Annie and her family speak about prayer and trusting God to bring Mouse home.
This story is an excellent vehicle for families to use to highlight such themes as prayer, thanksgiving, praise, faith, and trusting God in challenging times. Annie serves as a positive role model with lots of friends in the neighborhood, at church, and at school and is outgoing in sports, the children’s choir, and Sunday school.
What inspired you to write it?
As I said, it was a true story. When my cat Mouse went missing, God took the opportunity to teach me many things and draw me closer to Him. As a direct result of this experience, I wrote the women’s devotional series, so that I could share with other women the biblical truths that I had learned. Then I decided to share these same truths with young readers in a way they could hopefully understand.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
The book is available at our website, www.CatNamedMouse. It is also available as both a printed book and an e-book at Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.com (Nook). It is also available as an e-book at Kobo. A search by author name will bring them up.
What is up next for you?
I’ve just finished my next book in the Annie’s Adventures Series, called My Gray Stray. It’s also based on a true story. Annie learns a lot about sharing God’s loving-kindness with those around her who are lonely, sad, discouraged, and need a loving hand and to know that God loves them.
Do you have anything else to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Anna. We wish you much success.