3 Questions Wednesday with Vanessa Fortenberry

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Vanessa Fortenberry.

Vanessa’s children’s book titled Mama, I Want to See God was recently honored as a “Winner” in the “Children’s Religious” category of the 2017 Bookvana Awards. Her latest work, Daddy, I Want to Know God depicts the spiritual leadership of fathers as they teach their children about a caring, unfailing, and capable God.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Vanessa:  God’s given life inspires me as a writer. When I hear sermons, speeches, or overhear certain conversations (I’m not eavesdropping :)), I’m inspired to write a piece about the topic I heard. It might appear later as a book, newsletter, or article. Of course, I was inspired to write my first book, Mama, I Want to See God when my grandson said to his mother those exact words. The conversation between mother and son later motivated me to write a series including dads (Daddy, I Want to Know God), and grandparents (WIP). I was also inspired to write a story (WIP) about a turkey who resided in my neighborhood a couple of years ago. This turkey hung around our yards and front porches for about 8 months. My grandchildren and I named him, Bob. Although my daughter speculated, that Bob was probably Barbara! Overall, it’s the experiences and episodes of life that inspires me.

I love that your grandchildren inspire you. (And turkeys)

Next question is a bit of fun–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Vanessa: As a new addition to the crayon box, my color would be “lavenpeach.” This hue would be a blend of lavender and peach, which are my two favorite colors. Also, peach is my favorite fruit and one of my favorite scents. While I’m not very fond of the aroma of lavender, the herb has calming and soothing effects. The color “lavenpeach” will not only be a radiate color that stands out among the rest, it will also emit an ambient fragrance.

Scented crayons are the best. Now, last question–

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Vanessa:  As a child, I actually aspired to have several careers, all of which have come to fruition. I loved music and singing as a child. I remember as a teenager, pretending to hold a microphone and I introduced “myself” as Lea McGee. Lea is my middle name and McGee was the last name of my teenaged boyfriend. I also liked the idea of becoming a teacher. As a young child, I had a desk that was located under the stairs of the apartment where we lived. I would make up work and test for my made up students and as the teacher, I would grade the students work. Lastly, I enjoyed writing poems, plays, and stories as a child, so I aspired in my early twenties to write a novel. I soon put that idea aside when life caught up with me as a young wife and mother.

As a college student, I majored in music education. I’ve traveled abroad with a couple of choral groups. Now I sing locally with my church choir and a community chorus. However, I never received the chance to use my stage name, Lea McGee, I just use my real name and love singing for the Lord. In addition, in 1994, I commenced to teach music and chorus, in the school system where I live. I also taught private voice lessons. While I never aspired to be a librarian, I loved reading great books. Presently, as a teacher-librarian and a writer, I have the better of two worlds as I share my love of books and my written messages to others.

 It’s wonderful that you’ve seen your dreams come to fruition. You’re an inspiration to many…

Readers, Vanessa is offering a paperback copy of her book, Daddy, I Want to Know God, to one blessed reader. Just leave a comment in the comments section below to be entered to win.

Click to tweet: Giveaway of Vanessa Fortenberry’s children’s book, Daddy, I Want to Know God. #WriterWednesday #amreading

Here’s more information about the book:

Daddy, I Want to Know God

Does God love me all the time? Will He ever leave me? In this rhyming verse story, children’s probing questions of their dads shows a burning desire to connect with God personally and to learn more about God.

Book two of the series, Families Growing in Faith, depicts a father’s spiritual leadership as he teaches his child about a caring, unfailing, and capable God. This captivating story articulates to young people of all ages and nationalities that through our belief in Jesus Christ we indeed become children of God.

 A music teacher turned teacher-librarian; Vanessa Fortenberry enjoys story time with her students. A Georgia Peach, Vanessa loves singing for the Lord and teaching Sunday school at her church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. To learn more about Vanessa and her other writing endeavors, please visit her website: www.vanessafortenberry.com

3 Questions Wednesday with Vanessa Fortenberry

Vanessa Fortenberry3 Questions Wednesday welcomes children’s author and inspirational speaker, Vanessa Fortenberry. I first met Vanessa at a writer’s conference in Atlanta and we’ve been chatting ever since.

Her blog, Children’s Bookroom, will launch on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. As a retired teacher-librarian and reading teacher, she is an advocate of children’s literacy. According to the 2015 Nation’s Report Card, only 36% of 4th grade students and 38% of 8th grade students read at grade level (http://www.nationsreportcard.gov). With these staggering statistics, it becomes imperative to introduce a rigorous literacy program for children’s development between kindergarten and second grade. The goal of her blog will introduce literacy issues children encounter and recommend books to inspire and motivate children to read despite any obstacles. To subscribe to her blog, please visit her website: www.vanessafortenberry.com

Website Background

So glad to have you as our guest, Vanessa! Let’s get right to the first question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Vanessa: So many books have fortified me as a writer. However, there are three that stand out for me: Write His Answer: A Bible Study for Christian Writers by Marlene Bagnull; Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market by Kathleen M. Muldoon; and  Writing So Heaven Will Be Different compiled by Joyce K. Ellis and Tammie Edington Shaw.

In 2010, I hit the road running when I heard God’s call to write children’s books. I responded with a resolved “Yes” and launched my writing career. Habakkuk 2:2 states: The LORD responded: “Write down this message! Record it legibly on tablets, so the one who announces it may read it easily (NET). The book, Write His Answer . . . aligned with the previous stated scripture confirmed the message that God indeed called me to pen my Christian stories. In addition, meeting Ms. Bagnull in 2014 encouraged me and fueled my mission as an author to write His answer.

Many people believe that writing for children is easy. Quite the contrary; writing for children is quite challenging. Sowing Seeds . . . is a great how-to book that provides writing exercises, information about the publishing and marketing industry, and other essential writing nuggets. This gem of a book gave me practical advice for writing for children and spoke to me spiritually, so that my writing would sow faith-building seeds into children.

Writing for me, breathes a multifaceted life filled with hard work and sometimes isolation. Yet, I find it to be the most exciting and exhilarating career. In this profession, I have met some awesome people, especially at writing conferences. However, one conference, which I regretfully have never attended, is the Write to Publish. The book, Writing So Heaven Will Be Different is a compilation of success stories and testimonies written by previous attendees of the Write to Publish conference. The stories inspired and encouraged me to keep writing; no matter the challenges. I wake up to a new morning each day; motivated to write so that heaven will indeed be different for me as a writer, and most of all for my readers!

You have a great attitude and those sound like three inspiring writing books. I’ve read the one by Marlene Bagnull and I loved it. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Vanessa: My secret talent is an events coordinator. While I am not advertising for a job in this area, I believe I excel when organizing events: such as literacy or music programs at schools, church, book launch parties, and even for my own retirement party.

Cool talent. Maybe one day you’ll coordinate a writers conference 🙂

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Vanessa: Guest coming to my house for dinner would feast on a fare of seafood galore. I would prepare fried or sautéed fish, shrimp, crab legs, and lobster, along with a salad and vegetables. Of course, one would not leave my home without a homemade dessert, such as lemon pound cake, key lime cake, crème cheese pound cake, brownies, and/or cookies. In addition, a refreshing tall glass of my iced peach tea will complement the entire meal!

Yum! And I especially love hot cookies fresh out of the oven so I’ll arrive early. Thanks again for the visit, Vanessa! And make sure you check out her new blog when it launches May 4th…

Vanessa has offered a paperback copy of her children’s book, Mama, I Want to See God, to one blessed person who leaves a comment.


More about the author and her book.

Vanessa FortenberryAn inspirational author and speaker, Vanessa Fortenberry penned the children’s verse story, Mama, I Want to See God (BQB Publishing). This story is the first book in the series, Families Growing in Faith. Be on the lookout for the publication of Daddy, I Want to Know God in April of 2017. Vanessa is also a contributor to the book, Relief Notes: Encouraging Letters for Tough Times written by the Christian Authors Guild. She also writes a quarterly e-newsletter, “Connecting Readers to the Word.” Vanessa savors the moments she spends with her family and friends. She is most relaxed when in her kitchen baking delicious desserts for her loved ones. You can visit her at www.vanessafortenberry.com,  Twitter, or Facebook.

Mama, I Want to See Godmama

Do I look like God? Where can I see Him? Wanting to connect more with God, a child asks his mother these questions and more in this rhyming verse book. In answer, Mother’s tender and patient responses model God’s love. At the story’s end, Mother has answered all of the questions, letting the child have a true connection with God. The purity of children and the spirituality of all cultures radiate in this touching story.