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Friday, April 04, 2008

Spotlight on Michelle Cox, John Perrodin and Simple Little Words

Today, I am veering just a smidgeon off-course from featuring a fiction book. However, as my tagline is "Touching Hearts; Inspiring Lives" I figured this book would fit right in line with that. It's all about how the simple little words you speak can touch a life in ways you never imagined.


Michelle Cox is a speaker, co-author (with John Perrodin) of Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, and the author of Mothers Who Made a Difference. She writes frequently for various publications at Focus on the Family, has written greeting card text, and recently taped a part of a DVD small group curriculum on parenting and marriage for Focus on the Family. She and her husband, Paul, live near Asheville, North Carolina.

John Perrodin is Senior Editor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. He has written three YA novels with Jerry in the Renegade Spirit series. For 12-plus years, he worked at Focus on the Family and served as Special Assistant to Dr. James C. Dobson. He and his wife, Sue, live in Colorado Springs.

by Michelle Cox & John Perrodin
Published by David C. Cook


Words can inspire, encourage, and convey love. They can poke and prod and compel to action. Or they can wound, discourage, and criticize. And what is said or not said in the most mundane moment can alter the course of a life...forever.

Buy Your Copy Today!


1. You've compiled a collection of stories from a wide variety of authors and known names in the industry for this book. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

JP: Michelle Cox and I have been friends for years. When I saw some stunning samples of her article writing I knew it would be great to work on a book project together. So we did some brainstorming and pitched and pitched and pitched. Simple Little Words was Michelle's brainchild and appropriately leads off with her sharing a touching personal story. I think both of us try to share encouragement whenever we can – and we were thrilled to have the chance to put some of the exciting results of those "simple little words" in this special compilation.

MC: A special moment from my childhood was the inspiration for Simple Little Words. As a child from a dysfunctional home situation, I had no self-esteem and no self-confidence. On a class field trip one day, a classmate’s mom said, "You have the most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen." To her they were ten simple little words, but to a child who needed to hear there was something of beauty about her, they were life changing. This book is a beautiful reminder that our words are powerful tools.

2. Tell us one thing about this book that might not be obvious from reading it, or something special from the time it took to put it together.

JP: This project helped me to realize how everything – even a book – must be placed completely in God's hand. From the cover selection to the order of chapters, I had to let go and trust. And that was as fun as it was hard. Ultimately, it was exciting to see things shaped differently than I expected and yet clearly along the lines God had in mind. Both Michelle and I experienced email problems and computer "issues" and learned that "in everything we must give thanks." Maybe that's part of the reason we were so pleased to turn over the creation of the website,, to my teen son, Jace.

MC: John lives in Colorado and I live in North Carolina. I'm still amazed at how well our writing partnership works despite the distance. Writing with John is a joy and I know without a doubt that God put this team together. I think the thing that really surprised us as we worked on this book was that God’s vision for Simple Little Words was so much bigger than ours had been. We were awed by the heart-tugging stories He sent us. John and I split the submissions for editing so neither of us had read the entire manuscript from start to finish until several weeks before our deadline. When I read the complete book for the first time, the powerful stories God provided blew me away. I cry every time I read them.

3. What themes exist in Simple Little Words that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

JP: I hope the reader sees that our time on this spinning orb is short. We don't know how many more opportunities we'll have to look a loved one in the eye and say "I'm sorry." That's the beauty of Simple Little Words. We're not asking anyone to make fancy speeches or write eloquent tomes. All we're asking is that they take the time to speak life, hope, and love to those around them.

MC: I think one of the most important themes is that people need to say those simple little words to their loved ones while there's time. None of us has the guarantee of tomorrow. We all need to hear that we're special to someone or that we're loved. Children need to hear that they are of value to their parents—and they need to hear it often. I hope our readers will realize that the words they say today might be remembered for a lifetime.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

JP: The hardest part of the job was making sure we were staying true to the heart of the each storyteller. Especially with the "as told to" chapters we wanted to allow the voice of the person to come through loud and clear. My favorite part of the process was waiting to see what stories God would send our way. That was sheer delight – to see Him deliver us the words He wanted us to share.

MC: One of our challenges was that we had a rather tight deadline to compile Simple Little Words. The publisher originally wanted the book in six weeks—and we only had two stories! Our first thought was panic and then we prayed. Two days later, I called John and said, "If God sent us the contract, He will send us the stories." We were amazed at how the stories came to us.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

JP: I have two books coming out: Uncover Me and Surviving Me, the first two (of four) books in the Trio Plus series for teen girls. These Thomas Nelson releases will be available August 2008. Uncover Me and Surviving Me are co-authored with Susie Shellenberger, editor of Focus on the Family's Brio magazine.

MC: I just finished a 360-page cookbook as a gift to welcome my son's new bride to our family. John and I will begin working soon on a study guide/workbook about prayer for a large evangelistic ministry. We don't have a release date yet. We also have several projects under consideration at various publishing houses.

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Thank you, Michelle and John, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Simple Little Words.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed this spotlight with Michelle and John.
Please enter me to win a copy of SIMPLE LITTLE WORDS.

windycindy said...

What they write about is so true! I have hopefully taught my sons to think about what they say to a person before they say it. I grew up with a large birthmark on the left side of my face and the unkind words still stay with me! Some were on purpose, other were not. Please enter me in your drawing for this delightful book! Thanks,Cindi

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the spotlight. Please enter me in the drawing.

Grateful Gramma said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!


John Perrodin, Christian Writers Guild said...

Dear Tiff,

THANKS so much for hosting our interview about Simple Little Words. We were honored and delighted to be invited. Please don't enter me in the drawing (although I do LOVE the book!:0) but I wish those seeking a copy all the best.

You truly will be touched by the stories included and the simple little reminders that our words can impact others for eternity.

Keep in mind, though, that this collection contains touching gems -- and a Kleenex or two might be required. (Check out our "Tissue Endorsements" at and you'll see what I mean!)

Blessings to you...

Carole said...

I would love to read this book and share it with my family. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carolynn said...

I've read some great reviews and interviews about this book. I look forward to reading it!

tetewa said...

Please include me!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner for this FREE book, and that is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so John and Michelle can mail out your book to you.

Readers, there are 5 other winners announced today, so check out the other spotlights from the past 3 weeks to see if you've won.

Thanks for your continued support.