Glenn Sparrow is persistent, immovable, and not afraid to be firm. Worse than that, he’s loving, kind – even fun – and he has Chris, Moe, and Katie completely won over.
But Jessie is determined that she won’t be won over, or give up her “freedom” without a fight. She knows what she wants, and it isn’t what they’ve got.
Or is it?
Discover the answer when you read The Sparrow Found A House, a fast-paced, often humorous look into the lives of the four Rivera siblings, their parents, and their friends. As outward changes transform the family, the kids come face-to-face with the changes needed in their own individual hearts and lives.
Through it all, the reader is not only entertained, but enriched by biblical truths expressed in the lives of believable characters.
This is a realistic, contemporary story intended for young adults and up, but entirely suitable for all ages. It is a particularly good choice for home-educated readers, as homeschooling plays a major role in the story.
Thanks for the invitation, Lauren. I’m 27 years old and single, living in rural Missouri with siblings and other family. We have a family business – a book in itself to describe – that takes up most of my time. The balance of my schedule is divided between ministry and shared activities with family and friends. I have many interests, but except for reading and writing, I don’t like to do things by myself.
How did you get started into writing?
I’ve been taking stabs at writing for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, but I rarely finished anything (related to writing or otherwise) until my later teen years. I completed my first full-length novel, The Sparrow Found a House, mostly because we were starting Elisha Press with my mom’s work. An actual readership, however small, tends to boost motivation.
What inspired The Sparrow Found a House?
The Lord, I hope! But of course, the jury’s out on that till eternity. The Sparrow Found a House started out with a totally different scenario: A modern family has to get rid of their technology due their mother having extreme chemical sensitivities. That isn’t as unrealistic as you might think – it was inspired by the real experience of someone I met – but the allergy thing quickly vanished as the story evolved. I worked out the basic characters in a couple of hours, then wrote the first draft in about thirty days.
What is the question you get asked the most in regards to being an author?
Probably “What kind of books do you write?” or “What ages are they for?” Both of those are tricky to answer. Technically I write contemporary Christian fiction, but that in itself doesn’t tell you much. We’re still looking for a term that sets our books apart from the unrealistic and unedifying, without sounding conceited or defining ourselves by what we’re not. I’m taking ideas – especially from people who have read my book!
The age question is tricky too. I know an eight-year-old who has read The Sparrow Found a House, and I know many adults who have also read and loved it. It’s really adult fiction that’s also suitable for children – another concept I’m trying to make catchier for purposes of the elevator pitch.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Before you decide to publish anything, think about the purpose for which you’re doing it. Writing for your own pleasure, and that of a few friends, is great. But if you’re hoping to support yourself financially as a fiction author, I would caution you to be very conservative with your expectations. It takes a lot of readers to pay the bills for one writer, and getting new people to read your stuff is extremely difficult. There are some independent Christian fiction authors who make a modest profit by their craft, but I’m not personally aware of any who make a living at it.
What type of marketing/advertising have you done that you felt was the most successful for you?
Giving away free Kindle books on our website has been a big success in terms of traffic. In terms of sales, not so much. We’re looking at switching to a new model where some titles will be free, and some won’t. I think giving away at least one title is something all independent authors should consider. Just make sure you get an email address from everyone who downloads your freebies. That email list is tremendously important. Value it, build it, and never ever spam it.
As many have said before me, reviews sell books – and in my experience, reviewers often become regular readers and friends. However, that’s no reason to waste money by sending out paper copies when you don’t have to. Always offer Kindle first, then paper if they ask for it and you think the opportunity is worth the cost.
Have you published any other books?
I’ve got a new book set for release later this summer. We’re not revealing the cover or title publicly yet, but I will say that it’s a somewhat longer sequel to The Sparrow Found a House. Join our email list to get the details as they come out.
Do you have any works in progress you'd like to share with us?
Not unless you count Elisha Press itself as a work in progress! Seriously, running even a tiny independent publishing label is ridiculously demanding of time and effort. This is especially true when you serve as your own web designer, list manager, strategist, publicist, editor, photographer, etc. There are about six Elisha Press related activities I should be working on right now, and none of them involves writing a book.
Where can people connect with you online?
Connections on my Goodreads page are much appreciated, as are email subscriptions through our soon-to-be-greatly-improved website. But if you just want to say ‘hi’ and have a conversation, the best idea is to email me directly (jason ‘at’ elisha press ‘dot’ com). I try really hard to answer all messages promptly.
Thanks for having me on the blog, Lauren. I hope your upcoming family trip goes well, and that we’ll hear all about it when you return.
Thanks for joining us, Jason! I'll have lots of stories and pictures to share along the way :)
I read The Sparrow Found a House last summer and really liked it. The characters are very real and believable. The book really shows faith in action, something that is difficult to achieve without sounding preachy or leaving too much out, but Jason captured it well.
I could really relate to Jessie and I had to smile at some of Katie's antics, but my favorite person was the Sergeant J
Overall, the book is just a great family read, appropriate for all ages and very well written. Jason has asked me to be on the launch team for the sequel and I am very excited about that! I started reading the first few chapters yesterday and am really liking it so far.