I am pleased to have Cheryl Rodgers on my blog today to discuss her latest book Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery. This Christian mystery/adventure book is aimed at preteens as well as teens and is about a 13-year-old who disappears in the Florida backwoods. Her Bible Camp Mystery series features boys from a fictitious Central Florida community church who escapades entertain and teach.
Everyone, please welcome Cheryl Rodgers!
Well, first off, thank you for hosting me on your blog, Tessa. It’s a pleasure to be here.
I was born in Miami, Florida, and I grew up on books. I was an avid Nancy Drew Mystery fan and I devoured every mystery I could get my hands on: Hardy Boys, Dana Sisters, you name it. I liked them so much I decided to become a writer. I wanted a regular paycheck, so I studied journalism in college and became a newspaper reporter. I did that for a number of years, but switched to freelancing after I became a mom. That way I could work my own hours and stay at home.
So, is Lost in the Woods a Nancy Drew style mystery?
Not really. Nancy Drew trained me, so to speak. I loved the suspense that grew at the end of each chapter. And I loved that these weren’t murder mysteries. There was more to the plot than figuring out who did it.
Instead, I have written a storyline that hopefully is gripping – that makes readers want to keep reading. It is very uniquely me.
In Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery, I am able to build on my own experiences chaperoning youths and camping in the Florida backwoods. It is fiction, but I base it on facts and personal knowledge about what it’s like when the no-see-ums come out at dusk. Oh, boy. You don’t want to be there.
And more importantly, the camping experience is a backdrop for a very important message about God, a message critically important to all age readers. The 10 to 14 year olds I am writing for are prime candidates for this message. They are old enough to fully understand, yet young enough to sidestep many of the pitfalls they might otherwise encounter.
Zack shows readers the biblical path to salvation. He calls upon the Lord and has a real, life-changing encounter with God. The book also teaches the importance of prayer and obedience.
Is there a Nancy type character in Lost in the Woods?
There are no Nancys. Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery is not a detective story. What we have are great lovable kids with whom the readers can identify. Zack, who disappears, is overly adventurous and loves nature, especially the deer. Chang is a newbie to the group and he feels a bit uncomfortable as a result. He spends most of his time playing video games, but he can’t take his 3Ds along. Then there is Peter, a Floridian of Cuban descent who loves the old traditions like roasting a pig in the ground. He becomes overbearing he talks about it so much. There are a lot of different personalities.
The book seems to be about boys. Is this book written specifically for boys?
It is about boys from The Boy’s Den, a youth group from a fictitious community church in Central Florida. There are some cameo appearances from females, moms mostly, but most the characters are boys. As the mother of a 14-year-old boy, I’ve tried to write an action-packed book that would excite this age reader, both boys and girls. I realize it is more of a challenge to interest the boys at this age, so I have chosen to focus primarily on boys.
Lost in the Woods is the first in a brand news series and I hope to incorporate more females later in the series, while still preserving the main focus on male adventure.
What else have you written?
I write both fiction and non-fiction for varying age groups. For this age group, I’ve written Just Like Jonah Wail Tales, a short story collection about modern Jonahs who learn there is a price to pay when you disobey. The main characters make bad choices and land in a whale of trouble, just like Jonah. But they learn God hears their call when they fall…
My devotions book, Fast Track to Victory, A Christian Guidebook, is a 40-lesson book encouraging readers to spend time with God regularly. It teaches how to love and forgive others, why it’s important to set aside pride, how to deal with tragedy and death and more.
And, if you’d let me, I’d like to put in a plug for my upcoming ebook, Trees Walking: A Guide to Truly Loving and Forgiving Others … and Ourselves. This is a quick read and it’s listing for 99 cents, or less. It will be available at the New Christian Books Online Store, Smashwords.com and Amazon.com, pending copyright permission.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery will be free at Smashwords.com now through Feb. 28 using the coupon code YY85V at checkout. You can download it here.
I would love to have your thoughts on it. It’s a book I hope can have a real impact on the lives of preteens and teens – and maybe some older folks too.
I’m happy to develop discussion questions, if necessary, so the book can be used in youth ministry.
Feel free to contact me using the New Christian Books contact form.
Rogers came to know the Lord as a adult and write books for all ages to share her faith. She began her writing career as a newspaper reporter after falling in love with Nancy Drew Mysteries as a child. Now she is writing her own mystery/adventure series for 10 to 14 year olds combining intrigue with valuable Christian lessons. The Bible Camp Mystery series features from a fictitious Central Florida community church whose escapades entertain and teach.
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