Rev. Dr. Gerald Croswell is a former K-12 school-teacher who started his career as an after-school counselor, then rose to the ranks of coordinator/ director of several youth programs. He loved reading-time as he read children’s books to children. The children loved to hear him read. He got the idea to begin writing children’s books when his car engine blew-up and he had to ride the city bus to work for several months, while his car was being fixed. Gerald got a kick out of riding the city bus, as he saw how funny human beings were and stated how their behavior would make great children’s book. He found riding the city bus entertaining and…the idea of writing children’s books was formed… and the rest is history. Gerald has written 11 children’s books, with aspirations of completing 4 more children’s books by the end of the summer, 2019. You can see his passion with Stence Poe, a story based on true events of his own life. This of the first of 15 books coming to the children’s book market.
From this interview, Gerald shares his perspective as a writer and his view about life.
Q. How different was your life before writing your first book?
My life was different before writing my first book, in that I was a school teacher and was working with high school students, when my life changed forever! I was fired from my local high school due to a state law technicality (my fingerprint card was not on file within the deadline). This was when things started to go south as I was out of work and searching for a job. I ended up getting a job with Wells Fargo as a personal banker and loved it! Unfortunately, during this time-period my car broke down as the engine blew up. I was really upset and thought to myself how could this have happened at such a time, as I had to ride the city bus to get to work, some 13 miles away. This was a very long ride each day, so I made the best of it. During that time-period, of riding the bus, I really enjoyed talking too people on the bus, and found the people quite entertaining, and at some point, said to one of the passengers, how some of the people on the bus would make great children’s stories and books! That customer agreed and we laughed. This thought stayed with me for quite some time, and I eventually acted upon it. So…I eventually bought a personal computer and began writing down ideas! That is when it dawned on me that God had put me on the city bus and allowed my creative juices to flow! At some point, I wrote my first children’s book just for the fun of it. And the rest is history!
Q. What’s the farthest you have become?
This question has many angles to which one can answer. The creative juices flowed like never before as I continued to write children’s books over the next five years or so, just for the fun of it. I wrote a total of 11 books, using the Phoenix City bus and my own personal life as the bases for writing. This all just started out as a creative, fun hobby, and for the fun. I did not want people to ever think that having to ride the city bus is all bad! God placing me on the city bus, has transformed my life forever as I realized how creative I am. This creativity has led to me writing a total of 15 children’s books. I sat on these books for years, until one of my friends said that she had a daughter that knew how to draw and would love to take on the project of illustrating one of many books! We are now in the process of letting the world see our collaborative creativity through God’s placement in tough situations!
Q. Aside from writing, what job do you think you’d be good at?
At this time, I am an associate minster at my local church, there is no greater job, than preaching the gospel, however, I am only an associate minister at this time. I am really good at it, when those opportunities arise. My day job or actual employment: I am a social media manager, and I am really good at it. In fact, I consider myself, my best when at work. This job allows me to assist customers with their challenging experiences of booking and travel. I was also really good as a personal banker and had plans to cross over to a corporate banker, however, things did not pan out as planned. I became an author of children’s books instead, which I consider me at my very best! We resolve approximately 95% of issue(s) that arise. That is an astounding number!
Q. If there is anything that you’d like to change to the young writer you once was, what would it be?
I would have started writing in high school, or brushed up on more English classes and vocabulary. Over the years, I have picked up a lot of vocabulary words, however, if I’d focused more on reading and writing, I’d have a much better grasp of the English language.
Q. Why did you choose this type of genre?
I chose the children’s books genre because I used to be a counselor for after-school programs and summer camps. We always had a section called reading time, and I was always the reader! I enjoyed so much and the children loved it as well. When I got to Phoenix, Arizona 1999 and lost my job at the local high school due to a technicality, that is when I had to ride the city bus to work. I made the comment to the other passenger about bus riders would make great children’s books, is when this whole idea stayed with me. I did not consider myself a writer of children’s books, however, I then asked myself, why not? I have the experience of reading those children’s books, so why not continue and write! It was only for fun and a hobby at first, however, it has turned into a possible long-term career and legacy!
Q. What was the greatest you learned upon writing this book?
Stence Poe is the first book I put out for the public, however, it was book number seven in my first 11 books written! I learned that the written words, look so much better with pictures and it really does bring the story to life. We have had nothing but great responses from the children and parents who have read the book. In fact, those parents that have read the book have somewhat agreed that this story should be world wide and is truly a children’s book. The other books are all different as just as fun!
Q. What was the worse and best scene in the book?
The best scene of the book is undoubtedly Jimmy Lee apologizing to Stence Poe in front of her parents and family, as his sincere apology takes everyone by storm! The scene shows that we all have made mistakes and have had to simply apologize for something we really did not mean to do.
The worse scene of course is when Jimmy Lee runs into Stence Poe. All the other children got out of the way, however, his best friend Stence Poe was not able to get out of the way, he accidently ran over his very best friend and hurt her badly!
Q. Do you have conflicts with your beliefs and perspective when it comes to writing?
My personal beliefs reflect in all of the writings, which can be summed up in a few simple words! God, help us all to choose to do the right thing!
Each of these books will run parallel to this mission statement –
Q. If your life was a book, what would it’s title be?
The title of my book would be: “I Rode the Back of the Bus.” LOL
Q. What bridges do you not regret burning?
I am ok with cutting ties with public schools! I feel that I was their best teacher and they simply let me go! I had so much to offer public schools and yet, they did not look out for me at the time I needed them most. I look back now and see that that too was the hand of God, pushing me toward a much bigger slice of the pie. I was asked on multiple occasions, including within the last 12 month period, to return to public schools, and I declined. I said that it was best if I moved on!
Q. How do you define morals and virtue?
God gives us all a set of morals and values and virtue.
There is a right and there is a wrong and those standards have been set for all generations!
Q. What was a piece of advice that changed your whole view of life?