Valerie Fentress writes children’s books hoping to communicate Biblical truths through simple stories. She lives in Texas with her husband and three boys, who challenge her daily to find joy between imagination and chaos. In this interview, Valerie discusses her debut children’s book, Beneath the Hood.
FF: What gave you the idea for Beneath the Hood?
I was inspired by a quote that was floating around social media that said, “on the darkest days when I feel inadequate, unloved, and unworthy, I remember whose daughter I am, and I straighten my crown.” Fear and insecurity are a big part of my life journey, and this quote really stuck with me. What has helped me to overcome these mental struggles is my identity in Christ. Knowing I’m a child of the King, I am wanted and I am loved are truths that I wanted to communicate to children. If I would have held to those truths from the age of reading children’s books, there’s a lot in my life story that could have been different..
FF: Why re-write a well known fairy tale?
Fairy tales have stood the test of time, because of their simplicity and the morals at their core. Sometimes the hardest truths to understand are the ones that need to be told in a simple and familiar way. The story of Little Red Riding Hood is very similar to our spiritual walks as Christians. There is an enemy seeking to destroy us. There is a path we have to follow, and when we get off that path it leads to trouble. So I felt Red Riding Hood would be a good conduit of communicating the truth that our value and power comes from the King of Kings.
FF: What do you hope to communicate through this story?
This story is a story of identity and courage. It took me forty years to come to terms with who is in control of my identity and value. With this book I desire to empower kids and parents to have a conversation about identity and how God’s definition is the best and the truth. We are all children of God, wholly and dearly loved. And we don’t walk this path of life alone. Though there is an enemy wanting to distract us and pull us away from a life of serving God, God is faithful to give us the strength and courage to continue on.
FF: Do your kids give you inspiration for your books?
Most definitely. My three boys are my treasure and my joy, so it’s only natural for their comments to spark ideas. Children say the most creative observations and speak so freely that they are great muses for me. I hope to have a picture book out in 2023, that was completely inspired by my youngest, which he gets a kick out of.
FF: What are your favorite children’s books?
There are too many to list here. You can find a list of my favorite books of all time at my blog. For children’s book specifically, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson, Thunderhoof by Syd Hoff, Ferdinand by Munro Leaf , and Winne, the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, are among my favorites.
FF: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I currently have five stories that are in different stages of production with at least ten other ideas I’m still fleshing out.
FF: How long have you been writing?
Truthfully always. Fifteen years ago I was working more in short stories and flash fiction. When kids enter our family, and depression snuck in with them, my writing took a back seat behind all the fears and insecurities I had stored up. Over the last few years, God’s been working in my heart to overcome my fears and move toward obedience in the talents he’s given me. God’s faithfulness and a 12-step program called Regeneration, and the Covid quarantine, led me to take a step out in faith.
FF: What is your next step in your publishing journey?
I’m continuing to be active on my blog and social media. As well as looking forward to another book release in March 2022, with the goal of another at the end of 2022.
Beneath the Hood
A Familiar Tale woven with Biblical Truth
Genres: Children’s, Folk Tales
Release Date: July 22, 2021
A familiar tale we all know, woven with a biblical truth even adults struggle to remember.
Little Red stands safe with basket in hand, but the King has given her a task and this path to walk. She is afraid of what might be in the forest. Her sister reminds Little Red that she is a child of the King, and she won’t be alone. Once inside the dark forest, Little Red meets a Wolf with many questions. The Wolf doubts she will finish the King’s errand. Distractions and the Wolf tempt Little Red to step off the path every few steps. Can she remember who she is to finish the King’s errand?
Reclaiming a classic tale to solidify a Biblical truth. Beneath the Hood is an allegorical tale of the Christian faith. We are given the task to be God’s hands and feet, but often forget that our identity rests in being a child of the King of Kings. We are often distracted by the world around us and tempted to leave our faith behind or choose comfort over calling. May this book encourage both parents and children to hold with confidence our identity and purpose as children of God.
Buy Beneath the Hood from Amazon HERE!