Writing Advice for the Christian Children’s Market: Interview with Kathleen Muldoon

In Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market author Kathleen Muldoon shares her years of writing experience, offering advice for both seasoned and novice writers.

A retired journalist, Kathleen has authored sixteen books in the educational and Christian markets as well as numerous magazine articles and stories for children and adults. She’s also an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and various continuing education programs.

In addition, she finds time to pen a column for Action magazine and contribute as a regional writer for Guideposts. When not writing, she enjoys playing with her literary feline, Walter, and her uneducated but adorable parakeet, Abraham.

In the following interview, she discusses what drew her to Christian markets, gives tips to new writers, and talks about the rewards of Christian writing:

Why did you decide to write Sowing Seeds? 

Last year (2010), an editor from E & & Publishing approached me and asked if I’d be interested in writing a book for this niche market. I had submitted a manuscript to her which she could not use, but when she saw my publishing resume, she thought I might be the right person to write such a book and she invited me to submit a proposal. Fortunately, she accepted my proposal, and Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market, was born—and launched later that year.

What drew you to writing for Christian markets and specifically for children? How did you get your start?

I had written quite a bit for the adult Christian market. When I decided to write for the children’s market (in 1989—before some of you were born!), I was delighted to discover the world of Christian children’s literature. As I child, I once received a Christian children’s magazine subscription as a gift. I treasured every issue! It’s long since ceased publication, but as I got more into writing for children in general, I began sending for sample Christian children’s magazines so I could familiarize myself with just what these publishers looked for in the pieces they published. I made my first story sale to a wonderful little Catholic magazine, My Friend, in 1990. Sadly, this magazine, too, ceased publication in 2009. But, they still have a book publishing division (Pauline Books & Media), and I’ve authored two books for them and had one of my stories included in an anthology.

Any words of wisdom for beginning writers?

Perfect your craft, be persistent, know your audience (Christian children), and study the markets.

What Christian children’s magazines would you recommend for short-story writers and why?

I like Pockets—it is a themed magazine, meaning each issue revolves around a particular theme, so you’ve already got a “leg up” knowing what those themes will be in advance (the theme lists are available on the website); in addition, they have two stories per issue, one for younger readers and one for intermediate (9-12) year old readers. They also have an annual fiction competition.

What is the most rewarding aspect of writing for Christian markets?

I love the idea that I can share my faith, either through fiction or nonfiction, when writing for this market. I consider it a ministry, a way of giving back and sharing the gift of writing that the Lord has given me. I especially like targeting children, who have just begun their faith journeys and are most open to learning ways they can be like Jesus.

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