The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
Posted in Interviews
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Bean in the Garden is the first book of the children’s series, Bean in the Garden, by Ann Bevans and Matthew Ethan Gray. The books are designed with preschool children in mind, so Bean in the Garden is short, colorful, and easy for young children to understand.
Bean sets out to take a walk around the garden, and packs his favorite toys in his backpack. On the way, he meets Mrs. Berg, who has a new teapot but is out of tea. Bean offers to get her some tea as part of his adventure. Along the way, he meets three little peas who are about his own age, and they all have toys just like his. When he discovers a hole in his backpack and all of his toys are gone, he realizes the three peas were trying to return what they had found. The story is all about sharing, making friends, and being kind; a great message for preschool kids.
The first thing that struck me about the book was the illustrations. Mr. Gray’s artistry fills the page with bright colors and engaging images. This is a world of vegetable people. Bean is, of course, a bean and his mother is a lovely red beet. His neighbors include a friendly lettuce, Mrs. Berg, and a potato, Miss Tots. The clues to Bean’s toy dilemma are right there in the pictures so adults can encourage their children to search for the “lost” toys as they read along. Kids may also want to look at the pictures and imagine their own Bean adventures.
Another message I got from the story is that some things that seem bad, like a hole in your backpack, don’t have to be a big crisis. Bean reacts with shock when he realizes his toys are lost, but instead of being angry, he realizes that the three peas were trying to help him all along. It’s a good way to teach children about kindness and understanding, especially since kids who will be reading this are learning how to control their expectations and emotions.
There are three books in the series thus far, each available in both print and eBook formats. For toddlers and preschoolers, you can’t go wrong adding this book to their reading list. You can get more information about the authors, the series, and links to purchase the print and eBooks at http://beaninthegarden.com/
Pages: 36 | ASIN: B01LNRBK7K
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Asana of Malevolence follows Phoebe and Moises as they help residents of Burke’s Garden escape their megalomaniac leader. What was the initial idea behind Burke’s Garden and how did that transform as you were writing the story?
I never plan out any of my stories. I start by writing something I know about and then let the rest evolve. So, I started writing the story of Sharon, loosely based upon a case I’d worked on when I was an attorney. But then, Amy appeared, followed by Sean and then Evan. All the characters were looking for some way to find peace in their lives. Yoga is a natural source of peace for me, yet I’ve seen both good and evil in the yoga community. I thought about the fragility of my characters and what might happen to them in a challenging setting and before I knew it, they were all going to the same yoga retreat.
Phoebe and Moises are some of the most stirring characters I’ve read. What was your inspiration for the characters and their relationship?
I’m glad you asked about Phoebe and Moises! They were main characters in my first novel, Running Through the Wormhole. I didn’t intend for them to be part of Asana but one day they just happened to be hiking along the ridge above Burke’s Garden and they walked down the mountain and smack into the story. Phoebe is me, on steroids. A lot of what has shaped her has shaped my life. She is a mother, first and foremost. A traumatic event that happened to me was the genesis of her character and the beginning of Wormhole. Moises represents what is so wonderful about the trail running community, the candor and kindness and the bonds that are forged through the shared experience of running and testing physical and emotional limits.
The characters are helped along by the kind residents of Burke’s Garden and the supernatural. I thought the split between reality and the supernatural was well balanced. Was it difficult to walk that line while writing; to keep things believable but still make magical things happen?
The supernatural stuff is one of my favorite parts of writing. I approached it as if I was trying to describe something that I would believe if it happened to me. I think that the idea that spirits linger even after our loved ones, whether creatures or people, have died is comforting and relatable. So the supernatural aspects of the story were meaningful to specific characters and part of their journeys to find serenity and peace and to be safe.
What was your favorite scene in Asana of Malevolence?
The scene with Sean and Prudence when he wakes up outside her double-wide trailer with his long-dead cat. I was laughing as I wrote it and I still laugh when I picture them. I like it because it was a spark of humor in what would go on to be tragic later.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have two books in the works. The first is called The Whole Story and it’s about a woman with a long term stalker, spanning the decades before and after the cyber world. She struggles to repair the damage to her spirit while keeping her loved ones safe from her ghosts.The characters are all new. I hope to get it published next year. The second is a YA novel with a working title of Yard Sale Junkies. It’s a story about a twelve year old boy whose family disappeared when he was six. He has amnesia about what happened and lives with his grandfather. Bit by bit, he puts together the pieces, with a little help from the supernatural, and learns the truth.
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Burke’s Garden, a historic community in the mountains of Virginia, is an isolated place. For centuries, it’s been a haven of peace. Until evil arrives. Close friends Phoebe and Moises are hiking near the Garden when they encounter several participants of a yoga retreat, who are struggling to flee the grip of their megalomaniac leader. Phoebe and Moises plot an escape route out of their love and empathy for these strangers. Along the way, they reach for the helping hands of the Garden’s longtime residents and the subtle hand of the supernatural.
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