(The photo reminds me of the machine on which I learned to type! I've switched to a laptop, but I'm still writing!)
By Janet R. Stafford
Every now and then it’s good to stop and remember why you’re doing something.
Today I re-wrote the “About” section of the Squeaking Pips website. It’s always helpful to do a little re-wording and clarification. In 2007, when I founded the company, I thought I’d be publishing curriculum materials, skits, and plays for use in churches. Good stuff. Uplifting, theologically sound, and real.
Was I ever thrown a curve when we had trouble finding authors!
And then, about two years later, I was reminded that I was writer and was told by my partner Dan that I should publish my novel about a Methodist widow with a boarding house who finds herself in the middle of a mystery and major upheaval. It took a while for me to hear the promptings and the pushings, and even to listen to what only can be described as a two-by-four upside the head. But in 2011, I gave in and published my first novel, SAINT MAGGIE.
The underlying values in the material Squeaking Pips publishes haven’t changed much. They are hope and love, with a little peace and understanding thrown in. My own books tend to be character-driven and often the characters end up in difficult situations.
Mainly I write historical fiction set in the American Civil War era. I like it because in many ways that time echoes our own era. Back then, divisiveness, anger, violence, and fear – among other negative values – dominated. I wondered how people survived in that environment. It seems to me that, with all the turmoil, it had to be the seemingly “little” things what really mattered: kindness, mercy, love, understanding, faith, prayer. So, even though the Saint Maggie series deals with big, scary things like war, greed, and hatred (to name a few), Maggie and her family stand up to them with the “little things.”
In my contemporary rock’n’ministry romance, HEART SOUL & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, assistant minister Lins wonders if she may be called to another form of ministry (a rock band) and a relationship with its front man, Neil. But when the “calling” explodes into a thousand pieces, Lins responds by leaning on her faith and accepting the love and hope of friends and the people in her congregation.
Sherri Shumate’s non-fiction “REAL Superheroes” books are designed to be read by or to children and to open discussion among adults and children. Her first book looks at why we need to love others. The other looks at why we need to forgive. Shumate believes that children can change the world and that they can be Real Everyday Always Loving Superheroes. And I agree with her.
Understand: I’m no dewy-eyed idealist, but I believe that I have some sound ideas about what it takes to be healthy and hopeful even in turbulent times. That’s why I founded Squeaking Pips. That is why I hope the company's publications change things one person at a time, a little at a time.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder