Joan Benson

Why I Started Writing:

At a young age, I began writing stories and poetry, but there was one story that was unique. It was about the importance of my relationship with God. That little hand-printed booklet was called, “The Golden Keys of Life,” which I proudly shared with my family and anyone who would listen. That seed of inspirational writing commenced my later multi-faceted career of teaching and writing. In my educational career as a reading specialist, I had responsibilities for mentoring both teachers and students in the craft of reading and writing. I honed my personal writing skills in field of educational publishing through contract writing, developing leveled reading books, teachers’ guides, and ancillary reading materials for students (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). When teaching middle schoolers using young adult literature, I noticed how few contemporary books represented wholesome virtues and values. My love for sharing God’s truth had matured, and I could see my aspirations merge. I felt compelled to write young adult novels embedded with inspirational and Biblical concepts, to teach and nurture faith.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

So many authors have made an impact that it’s hard to single out their unique contributions. When I taught in a Christian School, I read C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Tales aloud to captivated sixth graders over the course of the school year. These precious allegories then were incorporated into our home reading as I shared them with my own youngsters. Though I have never been a science fiction or fantasy devotee, I was also impacted by the writing of Madeleine L’Engle and A Wrinkle in Time. I had to read it to see why the tale was captivating my students. I recall later being inspired by L’Engle’s memoir, A Circle of Quiet, revealing her struggle to find balance between career, her faith, and family responsibilities. Katherine Paterson’s A Bridge to Teribithea opened the door to discovering how to embed moral convictions in a plot, while not having it be a “Christian novel.” My first writing of His Gift was written based on the idea that I could write fiction that was not explicitly Christian. Then, upon conviction, I felt that His Gift does have a true spiritual conflict, and I needed to openly address it. Thus, the rewrite of His Gift created a metamorphosis of its original plan. Realizing the shortage of space, I will draw this description to a close; let it be said that there are so many more authors, old and new, which have stirred my heart and inspired my spirit.

Books I Have Written:

His Gift is the first solo book I have written that is not a part of an educational publisher’s collection used as curriculum. I have authored several leveled books for use in reading instruction from elementary to middle school ages: The Power of Sunlight, The Savage Stinger (a jellyfish), and Shaq the Giant.

What I'm Working On Now:

I am excited to be writing a new contemporary fiction novel with the working title of Eva’s Choice. It is based on my experiences working in a pregnancy resource clinic as a volunteer. I am hopeful that it will reveal the truth about a difficult issue in our day and its impact on the lives of our young women. I am concurrently working on a devotional collection developing key teaching truths derived from a pastor’s lifetime of ministry.

His Gift

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