I was born the youngest of thirteen children and raised on a variety of farms. At the age of nine, my parents purchased a farm of their own and life became a little more settled. My childhood was somewhat dysfunctional, although my Christian upbringing including regular church attendance.
However, from a young age I felt the hand of God and His protection on me. The deepest desire of my heart was to serve God and deepen my relationship with Him. As I grew in my faith, it became apparent that the only way to experience a full life of meaning and victory was to take the path of forgiveness. As old hurts melted away in the warmth of forgiveness and God’s love, joy came to stay, bringing with it unshakeable faith!
Being married to my high school sweetheart and being a mother to four amazing children was the epitome of fulfillment in my life. During the years my children were growing up, I also ran a daycare in my home. I found I had to pinch myself from time to time. I couldn’t believe I got to play and cuddle babies every day and get paid for it!
After twenty years of marriage, the family foundations were shaken when my husband, Larry Heppner, received the first of three cancer diagnoses. The next fifteen years were like a rollercoaster ride for our family, hitting an all-time low at Larry’s passing in January 2011. That journey is chronicled in my first book, Joy in the Mourning.
At the midpoint of those fifteen years, we decided to leave Winnipeg, Manitoba and head west, subsequently settling in a picturesque area just northwest of Calgary, Alberta. Enjoying good health and a reprieve from cancer symptoms, we felt extremely blessed to watch our grandchildren grow up.
When tragedy struck and the rollercoaster hit bottom, my unshakeable faith held strong. God was there and continued to serve up all the joy and peace He had promised every new morning and throughout the day. I found that giving of myself to bless others was truly my path through the most disheartening time of my life. Joy and blessing came back in spades!
Four years after the death of my husband, God brought a gentleman into my life. We were married in a tiny chapel with only our eight children, in-laws, and eighteen grandchildren looking on. I then moved to the town of Lac La Biche, Alberta with my new husband, Larry Wiebe. He has since retired and we currently make our home in Calgary.
Q: What is your intended age target?
A: I believe Solomon Says is appropriate for ages three to eight. The younger group would definitely need adult involvement and guidance in reading and asking the related questions. The older children, already reading for themselves, will enjoy the independent-style devotions.
Q: Why did you choose the book of Proverbs?
A: In reading Proverbs, I realized that it’s packed with practical lessons that touch our lives every day. This lends itself to easy application when explained on a child’s level. Children love to learn and apply new knowledge. In light of that, why not Proverbs?
Q: Is the book designed expressly for children with a Christian or church background?
A: No, I believe the Word of God is practical. Although founded in the Bible, Proverbs offers bite-sized practical wisdom that any child (or adult) can assimilate into his or her life in any situation, classroom, playground, workplace, or home.
Q: What writing style do you prefer to use?
A: I honestly don’t know what a list of writing styles would include, but I prefer to write the way I think or would speak to a friend while relating face to face.
Q: Do you prepare an outline first or just jump in and write off the top of your head?
A: I like to have a basic outline first. This provides me with a starting point as well as some idea of what the main body and closing will include. It also ensures that I will, hopefully, stick to the subject at hand. I do tend to ramble and chase a few rabbits otherwise!
Q: Once you have the outline nailed down, do you stick to it strictly?
A: I should mention that when the idea of a book begins to percolate in my brain, I keep a notebook handy. Whenever a random thought comes to mind that might relate to any part of my writing, I preserve it. This process may last for months or years. Then, when I create the outline, I simply insert the thoughts or points I’ve recorded in the appropriate slots and the body begins to build itself.
Solomon Says was conceived eighteen years ago, then put on the backburner. About six months ago, it became apparent to me that the time was right to proceed. After some tweaking and fine-tuning, the book began to take shape. One change that was made at the suggestion of my project manager was to switch the scriptures from the New King James Version to the International Children’s Version. The rest of the process went along rather smoothly!
Q: Could you describe your publishing experience?
A: It was with much nervous apprehension that I picked up the phone to place the call. “Good morning, Word Alive Publishing.” The voice was cheery and welcoming and instantly put me at ease. This was two years ago, concerning my first book.
With my second book, I had a small idea of what it would entail. As before, I was guided from one step to the next and the process was smoother than I could have imagined. This time, of course, since it’s a children’s book, there were illustrators involved. The process proved easy to navigate because of all the help and direction I received. When I had a question or hit a snag, my project manager was just a phone call or email away. Everyone I encountered on my journey was helpful, encouraging, and punctual. In short, the process of publishing both of my books was pain-free and enjoyable!
Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: I would say to anyone interested in writing, “Just do it!”
I like to compare it to the birth of a child. As a mother, this just comes naturally. The initial thought is when conception occurs. As it turns over and over in your mind (it may take months or years), it grows and develops, getting ready to enter the world. There will come a point when it goes beyond thought and planning—the third trimester? This is when the written word becomes reality. After this, the real fun begins! It’s time to bring that new creation into the world. It’s time to find a publisher—and this may take a while, depending on which route you choose. Before you know it, you’ll be holding that “baby” in your arms! Along the way you’ve seen the sonogram pictures (cover, illustrations, etc.). Now you hold in your hands a copy of the real book. Nothing compares to that feeling of completion and fulfillment.
Advice? Be yourself, write what you know, and don’t be afraid to express your feelings. When it comes to the publishing process, don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, this ain’t their first rodeo. Enjoy yourself!
Ruby Wiebe is also the author of Joy in the Mourning. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please click here.
Ruby (Heppner) Wiebe is a retired homemaker with a passion to support and encourage people struggling with the hardships of life. Her greatest joys include spending time with her children and grandchildren and hosting family and friends in her home. She and her husband, Larry, live in Calgary, Alberta.