By Todd Marver
November 1 was National Authors Day and The Nashville News spoke with Carole Moeller and Deb Obermeier for the occasion.
Moeller has written 12 children’s books. Nine of them are out and she’s working on the 10th, 11th and 12th books. She said the 10th and 11th books are about a cat and goat and the 12th book is a secret.
“Right now, I’m having three books published and it has taken forever. The holdup is the artist and that’s the most expensive process. It’s a different system. It’s all done on a computer, which is sad, but it gets done,” she said.
Moeller said her favorite book she has written is probably the first book she wrote called “The John Tree.” The book is about her brother who had cerebral palsy. She said the kids all like it and the parents are a little iffy on it.
Moeller was an art major and she said she never thought she would write children’s books. She said she told her book agent that she always wanted to write a book about her brother who had cerebral palsy, so she did. She said the book company accepted it and it went on from there and then the agent wanted more books.
“She said there is a market for children’s books, so that’s when I began to write more children’s books. It’s a very expensive hobby,” she said. “One of the things I don’t enjoy is being broke. It’s not a lucrative profession. It’s hard to get the books out.”
Moeller said there are several books that she has written that she likes. She said the one coming out about the goat is funny and she likes that one.
“That one will be about a goat who licks a bottle and there is a genie in it. He gets so many wishes in what he does,” she said.
Moeller said the books are mostly about 10 pages at most and they all have some kind of a moral lesson. She said after she reads to the kids, they have to tell her what some of the words mean.
“For instance, the one about the little boy with chocolate, I say, ‘Where does chocolate come from and how many things can you make with chocolate?’ They have to name those and they’re pretty good at it,” she said. “They teach children. You sneak words in there.”
Moeller said she gets an idea sometimes in the middle of the night, can’t sleep, goes downstairs and writes the story. She said library director Kelsey Schaepperkoetter then types up the story for her.
“They get sent to my book agent and she goes through it and presents it. If it’s approved, then we get it illustrated,” she said.
Moeller was an educator for 60 years and is now retired. She said she taught third graders how to read at one point and she would like to see parents sit down and read to their children.
“I enjoy reading my books to kids and I go to the library and read other people’s books. The reading level today is fourth grade, fourth month. I’m disappointed that parents don’t sit down and read to their kids. I want kids to be friendly with books. I want them to look at the front of it and pick it up and start reading on their own,” she said.
Obermeier has written three books in the “A Simple Stitch” series. The first one was “A Simple Stitch of Common Thread.” The second one was “A Simple Stitch of Time to Mend.” The third one was “A Simple Stitch of Familiar Pattern.” She said her first book is still her favorite, even though her writing has improved greatly since then.
“My first one is set in the fall going into the holidays. It strikes me as my time of year,” she said.
Obermeier wrote a cookbook called “A Simple Stir of Memory Served” that she said was done as if it were written during her third novel by one of the characters.
“I used my own recipes and pictures, but I did it as if the character wrote it, so it fit in with the novels,” she said.
Obermeier said she has started on her next full novel “A Simple Stitch in Time” and also has a short read called “A Secret Garden Tour” close to being ready to publish. She said by the time “A Simple Stitch in Time” is released, she hopes to have an open house by the spring at her farm again to share it.
“I did that several years back in 2018. I sold 66 books out here that day on a Sunday in a matter of six hours. I had a very good turnout for everybody to come out and see where I get my inspiration and to share. It’s an old farm house and it reminds me of reflections of the homestead that’s written about in the books,” she said.
Obermeier said all her life she has always liked to write short stories and poems. She said she never had gone forward with anything to try to be published or submitted anywhere until 2010, but always had ideas in the back of her mind.
“In 2010, I went out to see my daughter and grandkids. My oldest granddaughter at the time said we need to write a book. She was 14. We sat down and mapped our ideas out. When I got back home, I thought, ‘I can’t really let this go.’ We had named our characters and had our story plot. I started working on it. It took me about a year and a half to write. That was my first novel that has been published since. It’s always been something that I’ve enjoyed doing. Since that, I have been able to take it quite a bit farther,” she said.
Obermeier said she always worked full time and had a lot of commitments helping family. She said when she finally sits down and loses herself in her writing, it takes her away and she really enjoys her characters and that’s her time.
“I really enjoy it. They read like, ‘Little House on the Prairie Meets Hallmark’ or a Lifetime movie. They’re not all overly sweet. There are some bumps in them. Nothing scary or bad. No off-color language or anything. They’re simple to read and make you feel good. They take you back to the old homestead,” she said.
Obermeier said she does not do an outline for a book and once she gets started with her ideas for the next one, it usually takes her a few starts to get it going. She said with them being in a series, she needs the book to make sense if you haven’t read the other ones, but at the same time, she does not want to keep repeating everything over and over again.
“It takes a little bit to get my start. I just feel like when I sit down and start writing, I put myself in there with my characters and I take ideas of things that happened throughout my life or through my folks or grandparents that I can remember somebody talking about and tweak them to make them fit in with a storyline. We live on a farm and I’ve always had an idea of having my own little business. Now I can do that through my character Eliza. I share through her the ideas that I’ve always had of things that I’d like to do,” she said.
Obermeier said her books are very well received and she has people contacting her asking, “When is your next book coming out?” Her website is debobooks.com.
“I have a website that’s all about the novels. There are little short stories I’ve written either about reflecting on things within the novels or reflecting on things within my own life or there’s a recipe box on it,” she said.