You know how important it is to read great biographies and you know how from time to time we have recommended brilliant biographies of great christian heroes for children. Well a huge number of the christian biographies that my kids have read have been written by one particular author, Irene Howat. When Christian Focus 4 Kids asked if would like to interview Irene Howat we were bowled away with excitement and jumped at the chance.
- We have so enjoyed your books but we don’t know you at all, can you tell us something about yourself? Where do you live, what do you like doing? Do you live with family? Do you have a favorite book?
- When did you know that you would be a writer? Did you always know or was there a life event that compelled you to write?
- Where do you find your inspiration and how do you keep track of your ideas?
- How do you select the people you write about? Do you have a special yearning to know more about a particular person? or Do you have a long list that you are working through?
- How do you do your research? Where do you find the background information about the people you write about? Do you use the internet or books… Do you ever get to explore the real artifacts like diaries and letters from the past?
- How do you do your writing? Do you work randomly when inspired or do you work on a schedule? Do you write on a computer or do you write it out on paper first?
- Do you have a special place that you work at home or in an office, at a desk or the couch? Could you describe where you work?
- How did you become a Christian?
I’m married to Angus and we live in a village in Ayrshire on the west of Scotland. We have a cat called Topsy and a Labrador dog named Sheba. Angus was a minister and he is now retired – but still working. I like painting, reading, pottering in the garden and cooking. I have lots of favorite books but probably my most favorite one just now is a little book of poems entitled Through Stone. They were written by a friend of mine called Evangeline Paterson. She is now with Jesus.
I have written for as long as I can remember. I’ve also painted for as long as I can remember. Since I was a girl I have had difficulty walking. In 1986 the problem became very bad and for a time I was unable to walk at all. I now use crutches. But that was the life event that made me sit down and start writing seriously.
People are my inspiration – both the people I write about and the people I write for. I keep track of my ideas on the computer.
I usually start by thinking of a subject, e.g. prayer, and then try to think of people who are good examples, e.g. George Muller and prayer. Sometimes I have to do quite a lot of research to find people to fit the subject.
I use books and the Internet and, yes, sometimes real artifacts. I like visiting historic places and seeing documents for myself. For example, I’ve visited the church where Robert Murray McCheyne was minister and seen the pulpit from which he preached. I’ve also stood outside the house where he was born and the house where he lived as a young person.
I work to a schedule or I would never work at all! I work two parts of the day, either morning and evening or morning and afternoon. Morning isn’t a full morning as I start after coffee time.
Yes, I do have a special place to work. I have a study upstairs in our home. It is a little room with worktops round two sides. As well as my desk chair there is a comfy chair – for the dog or the cat, whichever of them gets there first! I have a full bookcase in one corner and lots of box files, on for each project. There is also an exercise bike to help keep me fit! When I look out of my study window I see fields with either cows or sheep, depending on the time of year.
And the Se7en + 1th Question…
I became a Christian when I was 16 years old. I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home but I had an aunt and cousin who were Christians and who loved me very much. It was through their love of Jesus that I came to faith.
We so enjoyed interviewing Irene Howat and learning a few truths about the life and times of one of our favorite authors!!! Thank you Irene for answering our questions, and the questions within the questions, so thoroughly!!! And thank you Christian Focus 4 Kids for the wonderful opportunity!!!