Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Meet Children's Author Claudia McAdam

 Welcome to Carpinello's Writing Pages!

Before meeting our author, I want to acquaint you with our new mailing list company. For years, I've used FeedBurner for my blog subscribers. In July of this year, they discontinued their blog feeds. Notices of new posts will now come from I hope you will continue to be a subscriber and recommend us to your friends and family, and anyone who enjoys meeting new authors and seeing their books.

Today we welcome
Colorado author
Claudia Cangilla McAdam

Before meeting her, I want to share reviews of her featured picture book The Christmas Light. These were done by local Colorado 5th graders. For privacy reasons, the names are not included. Each student used their own grading scale; some used 5/5 while others used 10/10.

(9/10): I liked it because it felt soft and sweet. I didn’t like it because it had no action.

(9/10): I give The Christmas Light a 9/10 because it retells the reason Christmas is a thing in an interesting way. It’s about a girl who helps two people who are in need and I like that.

(4/5): I like how the story tells how she felt that night and how she felt when she did stuff. I also like that when she was sleeping with her sister she was kind of annoyed, but when she came back from the stable she kept her sister warm when she was freezing.

(5/5): I’d rate it 5/5 because it’s about the birth of Christ and how it’s about Christmas.

(5/5): I would rate the book a 5 because I like the similes and how it is about Christmas.

And now, here's a bit about Claudia:
At age ten, I knew I wanted to be a professional writer when I grew up. My undergraduate degree is in English, and later in life, I got a master’s degree in theology. I began being published in children’s magazines and newspapers before I was out of college. To date, I have penned two dozen books, for both the secular and the religious markets. My faith-based titles explore the virtues, build character, and deepen faith. My most recent work is the 44-page picture book, The Christmas Light, published by Sophia Institute Press. My husband and I live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, not far from our children and grandchildren.
Why did you pick to write books for children? 
I actually write for all three groups, but The Christmas Light is a picture book. I fell in love with reading when I was a child (it’s still my favorite pastime), and I remember how impactful books were. Story has the power to draw readers in and take them to a completely new place. It was an experience I treasured and craved, and I want to replicate that for young readers today.

What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you are not writing?  

My reading interests are wide-ranging. When I was a child, I would read every word on the cereal box at breakfast, and I admit to opening up a volume of the World Book Encyclopedia and start reading at random, getting lost in its pages. I loved how National Geographic could take me to far off places around the globe. Today, I read the Bible in its entirety each year, and in addition, you might find my nose buried in a nonfiction book, a work of theology, or various types of fiction from historical works to modern-day mysteries. Next up for me: Gary Paulsen’s biography. My “reading” these days is comprised in large part of audio books, which I can enjoy while driving, exercising, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and so on. I’m a big-time multi-tasker, so audio books fit into my life perfectly.

When I’m not writing or reading, I enjoy spending time with my large extended family, traveling, walking in nature, watching sports or movies, and binging The Chosen.

Tell us about The Christmas Light and how the story came to be.

The story told in The Christmas Light revolves around the main character, the young daughter of the Bethlehem innkeeper, who is cold and cranky in her crowded home. When she remembers the young couple staying in her family’s stable across the lane and hears the newborn Baby cry, she realizes that if she is cold, they must be freezing. When she brings them fire for warmth, she has an encounter with the newborn Jesus and finds her mood suddenly altered and her life forever changed, thanks to the Christmas Light.

I remember the exact moment the story idea entered my mind. Our church has a large Nativity scene on display during the Christmas season. The figures are nearly life-size, so it’s rather impressive. While looking at the myriad characters that populate the scene, I began to wonder who else might have interacted with the Holy Family in Bethlehem. Since I write for kids, I speculated about the children who might have met Jesus when He was born.

I love what my friend and fellow children’s author Kathleen Pelley has to say about The Christmas Light: “The lush, lyrical text and bold, mesmerizing art enchant the reader into a long-ago world, glimmering with glimpses of grace and goodness beneath the seemingly ordinary surface of life . . .”

Here's a peek at The Christmas Light.

It’s the coldest night in Seraphina’s life, and she can’t sleep. Outside the house the wind roars like a lion and burrows through the roughly thatched roof. The thin blanket is more holes than fabric, and her little sister’s frigid feet prod Seraphina’s bare calf. Seraphina’s face crumples in an angry frown.

On a normal night, the children would not be so far from the fire, crowded in the loft, side by side like stones in a wall. But this is not a normal night.

How do you go about researching for your stories?

I do a lot of reading about the topics, watching videos, interviewing people, and even traveling to certain locations such as to the Holy Land, which has been inspirational for many of my books and critical for incorporating authenticity into those works.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Yes, many books, including three picture books with my text and the photography of renowned nature photographer John Fielder; books featuring profiles of heroes; retellings of legends; YA novels; and a MG mystery novel. I have a lot of interests and am likely to pursue writing a book about something that grabs my imagination and just won’t let go.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I have three faith-based books coming out in 2022: two picture books from Ascension Press, The Real Presence and Louie’s Lent, and a YA novel of Biblical historical fiction, Beckoning, from Our Sunday Visitor. A picture book from OSV is due in the fall of 2023, and I have three other manuscripts in the hands of interested editors at present.

What advice do you have for other authors?

I’m not the first to say it, but write what you know and love. Your authentic voice will shine if you do so. And know that your success doesn’t come when you complete a manuscript or even when you sell it. That’s just the start. Marketing, presentations, signings and the whole business end of being a writer is critical to success and longevity.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I love what I do and am so blessed to be able to live out the only career I’ve ever wanted since childhood. But I don’t take the credit. My faith is the bedrock of my life, and Proverbs 16:3 captures what I believe about my career: Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.

Where can readers find you and your books?

My website is, and I keep it up to date with information about my books, appearances, and forthcoming works. My books are available at online retailers, including Amazon and brick-and-mortar booksellers as well as from the books’ respective publishers.

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