An interview with Emily Owen, author of 'Izzy's Unexpected Week'

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An interview with Emily Owen, author of 'Izzy's Unexpected Week'
Izzy's Unexpected Week - Hope Valley High Book 1

It can be tough growing up and navigating pressure from peers and social media. In her new book, Izzy’s Unexpected Week, Emily Owen looks at these issues through a fictional story aimed at 8 to 11 year olds, helping kids see how Jesus cares for them in the everyday circumstances of their lives, and how they can grow in faith.

Emily, could you just tell us a little about yourself?

Um...! This is a tricky question! I live in Leicester. I enjoy going to the theatre. I enjoy reading. I am deaf. My favourite colour is purple.

Why did you decide to write Izzy’s Unexpected Week?

At the beginning of the first lockdown, speaking engagements and things were cancelled, and I thought, why not have a go at writing fiction. So I did! I’m quite surprised it has come this far.

Who have you written this book for?

Older children. Probably girls, though of course anyone may read it.

This book gently introduces young people to Jesus, and you show how he can make a difference to our lives. Why was is important to show this practical application of the gospel story?

I think sometimes we can forget that Jesus is not just ‘way up there’ but is ever-present. Including him in every aspect of our lives helps us draw closer to him, and knowing him helping us on life’s journey.

You include many themes throughout the book, including bullying, self-esteem and disability. What do you hope tweens get from reading about these issues?

Acceptance, of themselves and of others. Understanding that God is with them all the time, and cares about them, no matter what they go through. Nothing will make him walk away from them.

At the end of the book you include an ‘Izzy and Me’ section. Can tell us a little more about this and what it adds to the book?

‘Izzy and Me’ is a little like a diary, I guess. Izzy recalls different aspects of her day, and readers are encouraged to do the same.

What was the most challenging element of writing the book?

Remembering the names of various teachers! Teachers don’t feature a lot, but they are mentioned. In the first draft, the maths teacher inadvertently underwent a name change. I hope I’ve got the names correct now, but I can’t guarantee it!

Writing about the character with facial disfigurement was both challenging and not challenging, because I have facial disfigurement myself. So I know about it but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

And what was the most rewarding element of writing this book?

I asked my (then) ten-year-old niece to read the book and feedback. One thing she said was that, in one scene, she couldn’t quite picture where Izzy was. She knew it was a playing field, but perhaps the text should say ‘long grass’ or something like that. I smile at that passage now, which does indeed include more description.

Have you learnt anything new/ been reminded afresh about God/ your faith while writing this book?

I’ve been reminded that God really is with us every second, sharing in our ups and downs and in-betweens.

You are passionate about identity and who we are in Christ – what would you say to any young person who, for whatever reason, feels a little bit different from their peers?

My goddaughter, when she was very young, said something to me that has stuck with me: “It doesn’t matter that you can’t hear; you’re still special.” Different should not mean devalued.  I think I’d say to them that they are special, that they matter to others around them and that they are special and matter to Jesus.

What do you hope readers will most get out of reading this book?

Friendship with Jesus.

In one sentence, how would you describe Izzy’s Unexpected Week?

Welcoming Jesus into every day.

Is there anything we can pray for you?

Thank you. Please pray that my writing and speaking – indeed my living – will glorify God and point to him.

Authentic Media

Authentic Media is a UK Christian publishing house committed to delivering quality Christian books, music and film to help people on their journey of faith. They are based in Milton Keynes.

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Hope Valley High Book 1: Izzy's Unexpected Week (Paper Back)
Emily Owen
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