Author Karen Ferguson, creator of Guess How Much God Loves You, is joining us today for an interview! Though originally from the Pacific NW, Karen lives in Tennessee where she enjoys spending time with family. Self-described as friendly, generous, and compassionate, she also dabbles in music including voice and piano. Let’s welcome Karen, now!
Welcome Author Karen Ferguson!
Q) Welcome Karen! I absolutely adored your book Guess How Much God Loves You. What was your inspiration for writing this children’s book?
A) Thank you Kayla! There were several sources of inspiration, including one of my very favorite books to read to my girls when they were young, the classic Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. As I brainstormed book ideas, I got to thinking that while it’s important for children to know that the special adults in their lives love them, it is also important for them to know that God loves them. This is where the title twist came in.
But my main motivation was to provide a godly alternative to what I was seeing on mainstream bookshelves. Children are so impressionable and unfortunately they are bombarded with ungodly messages every day, in ways that would have been unbelievable just ten years ago when I was raising my girls. I wanted to be part of the solution and create something dynamic, fun, and creative – grounded in the truths of the Bible – for parents and grandparents to share with the special children in their lives. Something I’d feel good about sharing with my own grandson and future grandkids.
To do that I knew the book would have to be longer and more complex to cover the deep truths of the Bible, but presented in a simple way. That’s where the series came in.
Guess How Much God Loves You is a book series young readers can grow with, spiritually and in their reading skills. And it’s not just a regurgitation of Bible facts. It’s part of a larger story that kids will relate to, as it teaches them about important Biblical accounts. It’s meant to inspire young readers’ imaginations, to engage their creative minds, and to promote a love and respect for the Bible. More than anything, it’s meant to drive the truth home that their life matters. That every life matters to God.
While Lucy’s character was inspired by several people, Papa Joe is modeled after my own dad who went home to be with the Lord in 2019.
Guess How Much God Loves You by Author Karen Ferguson and Earth Month
Q) I think Guess How Much God Loves You is a great book for parents, teachers, and church leaders to read with their little ones anytime, but I think you and I both agree it is also very pertinent with the upcoming Earth Month in April. Can you tell us in your own words how Lucy’s journey in this book can help children when learning about our world during Earth Month?
A) I have a background in K-8 education, and was never a fan of the emphasis on macroevolution and mother earth within the public school system. I am thrilled to be able to present a godly alternative to young readers, one that is grounded in God’s truth in the Bible.
Lucy begins her journey exploring how this marvelous, majestic world was created intentionally by God the Creator, who spoke this world into existence and called it good. Who created people in His image, and for a good purpose. Humans didn’t evolve from apes, and the world wasn’t created through random processes.
This is a very different narrative from what kids are being taught these days, and I’m grateful I can offer it through this book. This first book in the series will help parents, grandparents, and teachers instill God’s perspective on this earth, and the people in it. When kids realize they were created in God’s image and given responsibility to care for this beautiful earth, it gives meaning to their lives and will help foster a sense of respect for the earth. Respect for all of God’s creation.
The book covers each day of Creation so there are tons of opportunities to reinforce Earth Month by learning about things like the oceans, sea and land animals, trees, and flowers. I know you created a wonderful activity about light! I will have several to share as well, which can be found on my website or by signing up for my newsletter.
There’s Going to Be A 7-Book Series!
Q) I know readers and myself need to know: Will there be more adventures starring Lucy and Papa Joe? What biblical lessons can we look forward to learning about in future books in this series?
A) Oh yes, many more adventures! In fact, I recently signed another contract with Ambassador International for the second book in the series.
The intent is for a seven book series with each one covering a Bible account important to building an understanding of God’s character and His never changing, never failing, never ending love! These books will be fun, creative tools for parents, grandparents, librarians, and teachers to provide a solid biblical foundation for young readers.
This first one covers the Creation Account, after that you’ll see the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, the Exodus and more. I want children to understand these are not just stories about fictional characters but historical accounts about real, relatable people. People who experienced God’s power, love, and faithfulness in amazing ways. Most importantly, I want to point young readers to Jesus!
More About Author Karen Ferguson
Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?
A) Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship. The lyrics are rich, and remind me of where I came from, and who I am in God’s eyes. I went through a rebellious stage as a teenager that went hand-in-hand with a distorted sense of identity. It’s taken a few years to walk into the freedom God has always had for me, but by His grace, I know who I am in Him now, and that’s all that matters.
Favorite Bible Verse
Q) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
A) I have quite a few! There are many go-to verses I’ve collected over the years that bring me hope, encouragement, and strength in different seasons, but I’ll go back to the first one that really hit home years ago, and which I’ve since had tattooed on my ankle. Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”
When I rededicated my life to Jesus, I realized what had been missing from my life: His Word. I didn’t know its power because I hadn’t spent time in it. This verse was my reminder to make it a priority, for it’s through His Word we find revelation and relationship.
Q) Who is someone that inspires you?
A) Besides my husband and beautiful daughters, I’ll have to say one of my very favorite authors, Francine Rivers. I had the pleasure of meeting with her one-on-one at a writer’s conference several years ago, and was so impressed by her calm, genuine, and generous demeanor.
I’m always impressed by people who enjoy great success but don’t let it change them. Francine is such a talented writer, and has achieved a level of success I hope to achieve someday, but she didn’t seem to be overly focused on outcomes, outward appearances, or even the whole social media scene. In fact, she told me not to worry too much about platform building in the beginning of my career, but to focus most of my energies on the writing craft, learning how to be the best writer I can be.
She’s a believer that if writers do this first and entrust their journey to the Lord, He will help build their platform. There’s no doubt, platform building is an important piece of the writing journey, but developing the skills to write something worth reading and sharing is just as important.
Q) What is your primary goal in writing?
A) Good question! I’ve written in many forms and for different audiences over the last twenty years, but now that I’ve narrowed my niche to children’s books, my primary goal is to write stories that grab and hold young readers’ attentions, teaching them all about God’s unchangeable truths, and His unchanging love for them. I want every child to know their life matters.
Q) Do you have an interesting fact about yourself you would like to share with readers?
A) Hmmmmm, perhaps I’ll share an experience instead. I used to study martial arts, including the Japanese sword – passionately! It was a unique martial arts school in that it was Christian-based, grounded in the Word of God, while focused on traditional self-defense techniques. Our whole family was enrolled at one point, which made the experience extra special.
I will always have fond memories of those years. It was a time when I went deeper into God’s Word more than I ever had up to that point. I learned to stand on His Word as a true weapon of offense, like the Bible talks about in Ephesians 6. In addition, my physical fitness improved, my mental focus increased, and I developed a lot of courage as I stepped out of my comfort zone just about every week on the dojo floor, sparring against people of all ages and sizes, including 200 pound men!
At the time, not everyone in my life understood how a martial arts school could be ‘Christian,’ but I’ve learned so long as something does not contradict God’s Word, He can use anything and anyone to grow us up in Him, when we seek Him with a sincere heart.
Karen’s Advice to Other Authors
Be patient and enjoy the process. I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true. It really is a journey, and overnight success is rare. There is a lot of time and hard work involved in writing a book, but it should be enjoyable!
I have also found it to be a powerful personal refining process. God has taught me many, many things about myself and Him along this writing journey that I don’t believe I would have learned otherwise.
Q) Thank you so much for joining us today, Karen! Is there anything else you would like to add?
A) Yes, I have a link to a special, limited time offer for those who order the book directly from my website. They’ll enjoy a 20% discount off the hardcover retail price for a signed copy, plus free shipping and a digital workbook to share with their young readers. They can sign up for the promo code and all the information here: LIMITED TIME OFFER!
Connect with Author Karen Ferguson
Readers can connect with author Karen Ferguson through several social media platforms, but she is most active on Instagram. Karen also sends out a monthly newsletter with inspirational content and information on books, giveaways, and special offers not found on other platforms. Sign up for that here: Newsletter Sign Up