Are you counting down the days until you can get outside? This has been one crazy tough winter this year. People everywhere are feeling the Winter Blues. Are you ready to break out and feel like you’re suffering from Cabin Fever? Lyn wrote THIS POST yesterday to help with just that and #1 on her list was reading.
Of course when we heard about this book, “Firefighters Don’t”, written by a fellow firefighter wife, and illustrated by a firefighter, we were intrigued. When we found out that on top of all that goodness, she is fighting a very rare form of cancer, we knew this would be a perfect start for our “CURES” for Cabin Fever! Helping to cure Maria Childs share her story, while at the same time spreading hope, and the good lessons found in her book.
Since she is a firefighter’s wife, I decided to put her in my “Hot Spot” and go after an interview, which she totally rocked. Here is her story, straight from Maria herself.
How many books had you written before you got a contract to publish?
I have played around with writing for several years. During my master’s degree program and I began to write more seriously. I wrote several manuscripts for children’s books, three in particular that I would consider to be publishable pieces. With the help of some instructors at Miami University I selected Firefighters Don’t to submit for publication. After receiving several rejection letters I decided to but my “published author dream” on hold. I figured that I was young and had plenty of time to refocus on that goal later in life when my boys were older.
Why firefighter related?
Being married to a third generation firefighter and the daughter of a former volunteer firefighter, it is really my life. Having three active, adventurous boys that LOVE firefighters; I have always been overwhelmed with plenty of writing material. My husband’s grandfather worked for the Savannah, GA Fire Department. My father in law started out at Savannah FD and then moved to Cincinnati to become a fulltime firefighter with the CFD, where he later retired. My husband says he is a born and breed firefighter…it is in his blood. He is currently a lieutenant with the Union Township Fire Department in Clermont County.
How did you find your illustrator?
Our illustrator is a friend of ours, a fellow firefighter/paramedic with my husband. We knew he was an extremely talented artist and had talked about how neat it would be to have him illustrate the book. Of course we love the book and think it is a great story. We always had faith and hope that it would be published. My husband Scott had an idea to have the book illustrated and printed as a keepsake for me. He asked Craig (Forster) casually one day it he would be interested. Craig is a great guy and friend and was excited about the idea. This was all done unbeknownst to me. In the meantime I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. There is no cure for this form of cancer. We have exhausted all treatment options in Cincinnati and currently travel to Nashville, TN every three weeks for a clinical trial.
Who is your favorite children’s book author and do your children have favorites?
I LOVE Tomie dePaola! He has been my favorite author/illustrator since I was a young child. I remember all his books and he remains my favorite as a teacher. I also love Kevin Henkes and David Shannon. My boys have always been surrounded by so many book…they don’t have a favorite. I collect autographed children’s books so they love those. My favorite adult authors are Nicholas Sparks and Emily Giffin.
When will the book, “Firefighters Don’t!” be released and where can it be purchased?
What is the book about?
Firefighters Don’t! is about a young mischievous boy named Colin Ryan that loves firefighters. He is completely in awe of them. He races around his house in his fire helmet and boots acting like a firefighter, or at least how he thinks they should act. He makes messes and doesn’t want to help clean them up because firefighters don’t do chores. His mom takes him on a trip to the local fire station to teach him a bit more about a firefighter’s responsibilities.
Any plans for future books?
I have a second book in production now called Noah’s Treasure. It is a firefighter theme as well. Noah’s Treasure should be released in late 2014 early 2015. I am working on several other manuscripts at this time as well. Hopefully, I will have lots of time this summer to write.
How has your battle against cancer changed what this book being published means?
I have learned that cancer is not a death sentence; that you must live every day to the fullest. Each new morning is a blessing, a gift. There is no time to focus on negatives. Surround yourself with positives!
Tell us a little about your husband, family and being a fire wife.
I met my husband Scott through very good friends. There is a family that I grew up with that I am very close to…like a second family, the Meiners family. Mike is a firefighter/paramedic with Anderson Township Fire Department in Cincinnati Ohio. His dad worked with Scott’s dad at Cincinnati. Mike and his sister, my friend Missy introduced us. I was still in college working on my undergraduate degree and Scott was working at several departments part time seeking out that much sought after full time position. We married two years later, shortly after he started paramedic school.
I haven’t known anything but the crazy fire life! 24/48 shifts that turn into 36/36 or 48/24. Thanksgiving dinners at the firehouse interrupted by multiple runs, Christmas mornings on Christmas Eve, the day after or held at 5 am before dad leaves. Call outs for investigations that take him away from home on his day off for hours, missed events at school or sports games. That dreaded call from the captain or chief that he is okay but at the hospital. It’s a crazy life but it’s our life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
When I married my husband I didn’t just gain a second family related by blood, I gained a second family related by fire. I love the traditional brotherhood of firefighters, that “we will do anything for our own” mentality. I know that I am blessed to be a part of all of this! I love hanging out with the fire wives and sharing stories that only they will understand. My husband risks his life every day for perfect strangers. Fortunately for me, I am the one he chooses to come home to and love…he shows me every day what he does for people he actually knows! I get the best of him!