This Has Been A Mind-blowing Journey

Gina Kirkland Author Interview

Christmas Begins with Christ is a beautiful picture book explaining the meaning of Christmas and the role that Christ plays in the season. What was the inspiration for your story?

It’s a wild backstory. I wrote this book last year when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I was determined to write an adult fantasy trilogy that I’d plotted, but life got in the way. I was moving out of state, juggling a toddler, pregnant, and knew I had many sleepless nights ahead of me. I had to shelve the series in my head that I desperately wanted to put on a bookshelf. It crushed my soul a little bit.

So one night I said a prayer to Jesus asking for help with my writing aspirations. Apparently He heard me, because out of nowhere an idea for a picture book fell into my head upon waking up from a pregnant-woman nap. The story was about Him.​

I asked, and He definitely answered. I didn’t have time to write an adult novel, but I could write a poem for kids.  

​I never set out to become a children’s book author, so this has been a mind-blowing journey for me. I’m incredibly grateful that my prayer was answered in the most unexpected way. 

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

There were three key points I wanted to teach kids. The first is that even though you can’t see Jesus, He’s always with us. I’ve seen a lot of children’s books insert Jesus physically alongside kids into a modern-day scene. I wanted to have a more realistic depiction. I emphasized that Jesus is invisible, but we can still feel Him, talk to Him, and see His guidance.  

The second educational aspect was to teach that Jesus’s love lives in us. When we share our love through acts of kindness, it creates a ripple effect of joy.

That segues into my third teaching point, which was incorporating counting to ten. Using numbers was a simple way to demonstrate how love grows.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Marissa Napolitano?

We talked in-depth on the phone about my vision for the book before she started illustrating. It was important for me to represent Jesus’s presence through the usage of light. It’s one of the main reasons why I chose her to be my illustrator. I thought she was incredibly gifted at drawing light that looked divine and otherworldly. 

I sent her a document in the beginning of the project with art notes for each page to communicate what I envisioned. If I didn’t have a specific idea, I gave her a generalized concept and let her run with it. Often I would draw detailed, ugly sketches of what I wanted and emailed them to her. She always turned it into something magical. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently writing another rhyming book about Jesus for children that I’m extremely excited about. It’s not a holiday book, so you can read it any time of the year. Without giving too much away, the theme is to “let go, let God” and trust in His plan. What excites me the most is that it hasn’t been done before and has the potential to impact both children and adults. 

I can’t wait to get it illustrated! Hopefully I’ll publish it in the fall of 2023 or early 2024. I also plan to write my adult fantasy series. It’s alive and breathing in my head, so I have to write it. That will definitely take me longer, but I’m determined to do it. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Instagram | Website

God is everywhere, and His love lives in us.
This rhyming concept book introduces how Jesus is always in our lives. Beautiful illustrations show Christ’s supportive spiritual light around us. When we share God’s light through acts of love and joy, it creates a ripple effect. Children will learn their numbers by counting how happiness grows from the true spirit of Christmas.

Both children and adults are reminded through lyrical prose to pause and connect with Jesus. Christmas Begins With Christ is the perfect gift for the holiday season that’s sure to inspire families for years to come.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on October 30, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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