Welcome to Inspired Author Saturday! The premise is to feature a behind-the-quill story; how an author got their idea. We'll be highlighting our favorite classics, bestsellers, little-known treasures and modern wonders. This feature is open to guest post from authors and folks who have researched a book or interviewed an author. Please contact me if you're interested in posting, and we'll get you scheduled! I'm open to suggestions too, if you have a favorite book you'd like to learn more about.
This week's author, Suzanne Anderson, was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and then worked on Wall Street. She left the bright lights of the big city fifteen years ago and traveled the world. Suzanne now live in the mountains of Colorado, where she pursues her dream of writing novels. You can find her at her website, http://www.suzanneanderson.net and on Twitter @seakiev.
I spent a lovely morning reading and reviewing her book, God Loves You.-Chester Blue, about a bear who "accidentally" arrives in people's lives at just the right moment to encourage them. You might think you're too old for teddy bears, or you're not in the mood for sugar. From a rodeo to NYC, quilting to sailing, Chester Blue is here to convince you otherwise. And here is Suzanne's post on his story.
The Origins of Chester Blue
I have collected teddy bears for over twenty years. I love them! As I write this essay I glance over at the bookshelves that line one wall of my office, and I can see about ten different bears sitting stoically in between the books, watching me as I work. I've collected these bears from collectors clubs and antiques shops and random gifts shops. Some were created by teddy bear artists and are one of a kind, and others are as plentiful as a Pooh bear that I bought at Target.
I am all thumbs when it comes to crafting or sewing. But when, several years ago, I had the opportunity to take a bear-making course from a professional teddy bear artist, I jumped at the chance! I loved everything about the process, from choosing the fur, and then the style of bear, to the slow, tedious, steps entailed in sewing and stuffing and watching this wonderful bear come to life in my hands.
Chester Blue was the first bear I created.
Over the course of the class, I went on to create another three bears, but Chester Blue always held a special place in my heart because he was the first, and because quite honestly, he looked pretty funny!
His head wasn't perfectly round, and he didn't have the typical teddy bear 'look', but I loved him!
At the time, I was also beginning to write and like every writer, I found inspiration everywhere. So I suppose it is only natural that when I looked at this special bear, I saw the inspiration for a story. I wrote one short story and then another, and then put the stories away as I pursued a novel that I was working on.
And that was that until this past March, when I was going through copies of my old work and I came across these stories and decided that I wanted to finish what I started. I wanted to create a series of stories that took this special bear on an adventure. As I wrote the stories, I realized that I wanted Chester Blue to have a positive impact on others. As I wrote, I discovered that I wanted to show what a wonderful, diverse, country we lived in and I wanted to share the lives of these people who were old and young and rich and poor. That all of us at one time or another, could use a reminder of God's love for each and every one of us.
But I also realize that sometimes God's love can seem invisible and we wonder whether He's actually paying attention to our daily lives. So, I wanted to create a visible reminder. The idea of the note that reads: "God Loves You. -Chester Blue" came about because I am one of those people who believes in unexpected gifts from God that occur when we most need them, that He cares, and wants to walk with us daily.
The most surprising thing that has happened since the publication of God Loves You. -Chester Blue, is how many adults are reading it and feeling touched by its message. I have received several messages via Goodreads.com from readers who said that the book arrived just at the moment when they most needed to receive a reassuring message from God, of His love. As a writer, this brings me such joy, because I know in my own life, there have been many moments when a book or a Bible verse has filled that same purpose for me, and reminded me that I am not alone and that God loves each of us. I want to share that message of hope with as many people as possible.