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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Terry Overton



Gordon: Where did you attend university and what degrees did you earn?


Terry: My undergraduate and graduate degrees in Special Education were from Texas Woman's University (B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D). I completed a post-doc in school psychology from the University of Virginia. Subsequently, I completed a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis on Educational Psychology from Walden University.


Gordon: You retired after serving in administrative positions such as Dean (University of Texas Brownsville), Department Chair (Pan American University), and Director of School Psychology (Stephen F. Austin University). Please share with our readers an overview of your responsibilities.


Terry: In each of these positions, my main responsibility was to mentor and motivate both students and faculty members to reach their untapped potential. These leadership experiences were meaningful in establishing my new responsibilities of mentoring and teaching children, parents, and all readers, in how to know and follow Christ.


Gordon: You are also a popular author. What impact has your faith had upon your writing?


Terry: My own faith has been a journey as it often is for many people. Although I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, I later strengthened my faith through my own life experiences including a near-death experience in which I was able to feel the peacefulness that comes when you know you are near Heaven. (Used as a basis for the experience in Legends of the Donut Shop). Later, I became angry with God after a family tragedy which took me years to resolve. After much prayer and study, and a "born again" experience, I returned to God with an even stronger faith. My life experiences with God have inspired all of my writing. My own experiences, bits and pieces, are included in each of my books.


Gordon: Please share with our readers the titles of the books you have written.


Terry: A list of my Christian Books includes the following:

Both Sides of the Border, The Newton Chronicles (a three book series for ages 6-12), The Oddball Ornaments (2 Christmas books, for early readers), Legends of the Donut Shop (a book for middle grade readers through adults, dedicated to my late parents), The Underground Book Readers (3 of these are out, this will be a 6 book series for teens and Young adults) Sabal Palms Series (3 out, one more coming-adult Christian fiction) America of We the People (Christian conservative Patriotic book-dedicated to the military and first responders),Benjamin Buys Time (a picture book about being thankful for important things in life), Devotional for Youths (in English and Spanish), Devotional for Those Coping with Tragedy: A Journey Back to God (for those who have experienced tragedy, in both English and Spanish), Devotional for Caregivers (English and Spanish, Tenacity and Spirit: The Story of Rebekah (co-authored with James K. Stewart)


Gordon: What interested you in writing children books?


Terry: I have always loved children's books and wanted to write for young ages since I was in college. Now that I am retired, I have time to write for all ages. Recently, the political environment we find ourselves in, has interfered with parent's rights to protect their children from being exposed to questionable content in library and school books. I am now writing and praying that Christian books will become more available and that parents, grandparents, Christian Schools, and homeschooling parents, will put these books into the hands of children. Children need books based on Christian values and Christian content. As a former teacher, I use every book to teach children and adults. In the children's books, I include information about world and U.S. history, information about Jerusalem and its importance in the world today, Scripture, and Bible stories. For example, in The Newton Chronicles Series, children follow three characters as they time travel through the Old and New Testaments and even travel to more recent events the Six-Day War and WW II.


Gordon: What inspired you to write Devotional for Those Coping with Tragedy?


Terry: I had a family tragedy and like many humans, I blamed God, became angry with God, and while I still believed in God, my faith was completely paralyzed. This took eighteen years for me to return to my faith. When I did, I was regretful but eventually became even closer to God. My hope is that those who read the book will know others go through this but we should not give up our faith and like many other trials, these experiences can be used to become closer to God.


Gordon: Thank you for a great interview, We will be reviewing several of your books in our journal.


I realized after I sent this, I forgot one other thing I wanted parents to know. Since my background is in education and special education, I like to include kids as characters that might be a little different. In one series there is a boy who is on the autism spectrum (The Underground Book Readers). In Newton Chronicles there are a couple of “geeky nerds” and a Messianic Jewish girl who is very smart. Another book not yet out includes a child who was adopted. Not sure if you want to include this information but wanted to share with you.


Thank you for this opportunity.


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