Q: What made you think of the story about Traveler?
A: I have always enjoyed the art of storytelling. No matter where you look the world is full of inspiration for all types of ideas. In this particular case, I saw a little dog on a Norman Rockwell calendar and decided to create a story about a dog that was on a journey.
I have spent my life immersed in the story of the miracle of Jesus, so I decided children and their families should learn more about love, hope, and joy. Love of books and storytelling takes on a special meaning when parents snuggle and read to their children.
Q: How many other stories have you written?
A: Oh, I guess I have written more than a dozen. I began writing poetry as a child and wrote many, many poems. I gradually started to move into children’s stories when I began teaching. When my daughter was born, writing for an inquisitive little girl became a favorite hobby of mine.
Q: Why did you start writing children’s stories?
A: Children can be so inspiring. I use to sit down with my classroom kids and tell them of my adventures as a child. As time went on, they wanted to get closer to me, so we would sit in a semicircle, as I told them about my adventures when I was a little girl. They would ask me all sorts of questions during their sharing time.
Q: What inspires you most about children?
A: They are eager to learn about everything. As most people know, children are natural-born storytellers. My kids loved to talk about their families. They would tell some of the funniest stories about their moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. The fact that children are open to adventure is what has inspired me when writing for children.
Q: What do you think people admire about you the most?
A: I would say it would be my ability to listen to their interests. I love to listen to people and hear about their stories. I believe it is by listening to others and to God that our heart finds the voice of love. All we need to do is to stop, listen, and the answers will come.
Q: You collect bird nests. What is it about birds that are so special to you?
A: I have always enjoyed watching birds and listening to their songs. My father studied nature. He was a bird enthusiast. He collected bird nests when I was young. After the nesting season was over, he would take my twin sister and me on treasure hunts to find nests. As young children, we picked up the idea too. Over the years, I collected many different nests and brought them to my schoolchildren to enjoy.
I began teaching about the birds, their nests, and their habitats. The children were always mesmerized by the stories I would tell about the nests and the birds that built them.
Q: What story do you want to publish next?
A: I would like to publish my story called “Away with the Wind.” I have always loved the winds of Kansas, especially the power of the wind on the prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas. I enjoy watching the water windmills turn when the wind is blowing. “Away with the Wind” is a children’s story about how the wind is a special companion and is part of every aspect of our lives.
Q: What can parents do to improve their children’s attitude about themselves?
A: Each day is brand new. Parents must greet each day with joy and let their child know that the day is a Special Happening! Help your child wake up with a smile. Say something like, “Good Morning, Dear Child, remember, ‘I can’t’ does not live in our home.”
Q: When it comes to acceptance, what would you tell others are important steps in practicing acceptance?
A: Smiles and hugs are free and a kind word is priceless. Reach out to people; think of others more than yourself.
During my teaching, I met the children at the door. I always was there, ready to give a Mrs. Parmley hug and pat their shoulders. I would say, “Welcome, I am glad you are here. We are going to have a wonderful day together.”