Monday, 15 August 2011

Interview with Barbara Coyle-author of Ned

I’m really excited that Barbara Coyle has allowed me to interview her for Delivering Grace.

Barbara is the author of Ned, the fictional story of a poor boy in Victorian London who was taken, somewhat against his will, into a Barnardo home.
I loved Ned and so have my children. One of them described it as the best book we have read aloud.

 It is always difficult to judge age suitability but competent readers of eight could manage it alone and younger children would appreciate it read aloud.

Barbara lives in Eire and has four adopted children from different parts of the world, a lovely rainbow family. She home educates her children and is also busy with her responsibilities as the wife of a church planter.

Hello Barbara,

Thank you for agreeing to let me ask you some questions.

Can you tell me how you came to write "Ned"?

I’d had it in mind for a while to write a historical fiction book for children, and I thought that I could create a unit study to go along with it. When I read a biography of Dr. Barnardo, I thought that the story of a ‘Barnardo’s boy’ would make a very interesting novel.

I think  you have written another book. Can you tell me about that?

Sure. It’s a devotional book called Wisdom from Proverbs: Devotions for Homeschooling Moms. It was the fruit of my own study of the book of Proverbs; I realized how much of the wisdom there applied to mothers, and especially homeschooling mothers, in ways I hadn’t realized before. There are fifty devotionals in the book; each is based on a different verse from Proverbs and has other scriptures on the same topic listed for further reading and study.

You are from the US? How is it that you are living in Eire?

Yes, I am American. I married an Irishman in 1996 and followed him across the pond. We were in England for about five years, and have been in Ireland since 2002.

What were the greatest differences, for you, from living in the US?

I think three things stand out:
1. the weather, most especially since I come from Southern California J 
2. the far, far slower pace of life here (more so in the west of Ireland even than the UK) and
 3. the very small population of Christians (the west of Ireland has fewer evangelical Christians per capita than any other place in Europe—a fraction of 1%. ) Having been raised at a church of about 8,000 people, that has been quite an adjustment! But then again, that’s why we’re here. J

Do you have any other books planned? Can you tell us a bit about them?

I have several ideas swirling around in my head for another children’s book, but nothing definite yet. I’ve been teaching online writing classes for homeschoolers (I taught literature and writing at the college level before I was married) so my writing time is necessarily limited.

How do you manage to be a missionary wife, a mother, home educate and write? What is your top tip for getting everything done?

I think what I’ve learned is that you really can’t do it all—something has to give. If I’m going to be what I ought to be as a missionary wife, mother, and home educator, there isn’t going to be much time left over for writing. I’ve learned to be content with very limited output in terms of writing. There have been times when I put homeschooling and housekeeping on hold for a short period of time in order to get a project completed, and I think that’s ok. But generally I need to stick to my God-given priorities and be content with all my other little projects going very slowly.

Finally, many of us love books. Can you tell us your favourites?

I think I’ll probably have to give you authors rather than books; For fiction I like Jane Austen, Dickens, Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, P.G. Wodehouse, and Elizabeth Gaskell; for poetry I like George Herbert and Christina Rosetti and Shakespeare. I also like biographies, particularly of missionaries or other heroes of the faith—A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot about Amy Carmichael is a favourite.

Thank you very much.

Both books are available in the UK: Ned from the Metropolitan Tabernacle bookshop and Wisdom from Proverbs from Amazon


  1. That's so neat that you've got to meet her! Great interview. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Funny thing is that whilst Barbara and I have been talking on line for several years, we've never met in real life. Keep hoping that she will pop over to London!