Crystal Bowman is the best selling author of more than sixty books for kids, as well as three books for women. She is a former preschool teacher, having studied early childhood development at the University of Michigan. Crystal often speaks at schools, churches, and writer’s conferences. She and her husband, Bob, have three children and one grandchild and reside in Florida.

As Crystal’s daughter, Teri McKinley grew up in the world of publishing. Her love for writing grew in college, while attending Baylor University. Teri and her husband live in Longview, Texas. She currently works as a student advisor for East Texas Baptist University.

Today’s interview features both Crystal and Teri.


What sparked your writing journey together?

[Teri] Growing up, I had an imaginative hunger for writing. I must have gotten it from my published mother. I was always writing stories on the computer and making up plots with my dolls. As I went through my education and gained more writing experience, my mom began asking me to proof read her manuscripts during the editing process. She continually commented on my “eye” for writing. About two years ago during one of our many mother-daughter chats we started talking about ideas for books and decided to pursue something together. God took the reins from there!

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

[Crystal] Oh my yes! I was a math major in college and wanted to teach Algebra. My first teaching job was in a preschool—certainly not what I had in mind. But it didn’t take long for me to see that God wanted me there, and I soon fell in love with teaching preschoolers. Because of that, I went to grad school and studied early childhood education. When I had my first interview with a children’s editor twenty years later, the first question he asked me was, “Do you have any experience in early childhood education?” It was then that I fully realized God’s clear direction in my life.

How does your faith play into your work?

[Crystal] I cannot separate my faith from my writing. My heart’s desire is to teach little ones about God—to help them understand how much He loves them, and also to teach them how to love and obey God and others. Writing allows me to express my faith to children in language they can understand.

Let’s talk about your new book, My Mama & Me: Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child (Tyndale House Publishers, September 2013). Please tell us about it.

[Crystal] It is a sequel to My Grandma and Me which was released in the fall of 2012. I wrote that book after becoming a grandma. The response to that book was so positive that the editors at Tyndale had the idea for My Mama and Me. When I told them that Teri had helped me a lot with My Grandma and Me they loved the idea of having us write My Mama and Me as a mother-daughter team. The devotions in the book revolve around four main questions: Can you tell me about God? Can you tell me about Jesus? What does God think about me? How can I show God I love him? When moms share this book with their children, they will have many opportunities for some meaningful spiritual discussions, but it is also a fun book.  Each includes a fun activity—which was Teri’s idea. She knows how to make everything fun and creative.

What did you learn about each other in the process of writing My Mama & Me?

We learned we are a very good writing team and that our strengths complement each other. Crystal is the rhyming expert and can create magic with words, while Teri is the creative “ideas” girl who could make the concepts applicable to the readers. It was an exceptionally fun writing process as we giggled through some of the writing and brainstorming.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

We both LOVE ice cream! It’s a great way to celebrate a successful deadline or serve as a tasty break when our brains get numb from hours of work. Crystal’s favorite flavor is praline pecan, and Teri adores rocky road.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

[Crystal] My first writing opportunity came in 1990 when I was offered a contract to write lyrics for children’s piano music. I am still writing lyrics after all these years. Many of them can be found in the Piano Adventure Series by Faber and Faber.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

[Teri] I would be a light, peppy melody with fluttering instruments like the flute. People usually comment on how spunky and happy I am, like the opening tune in the first scene of a romantic comedy.

[Crystal] A praise song.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

[Teri] I am the girl next door. My friends usually describe me as silly, encouraging, sweet, and hard-working. I enjoy the everyday activities that most of our readers do: spending time with family, shopping, staying active, and having a girls’ night out. Living in a small town reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life.

[Crystal] I am also the girl next door. But now that I am a “mature” woman, I love being a mentor to younger women as well as being with women my own age.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

[Crystal] I had both a dog and a cat growing up, but my husband and I did not have pets when we were raising our children because we traveled a lot. We had goldfish for a while, but they didn’t last too long. The super market where I got groceries had an aisle with birds, fish, and hamsters. So whenever we were at the store I would take my kids to see the store pets. We could look at them and talk to them, but I never had to feed them or clean the cages or bowls. That worked for me!!

Thanks, ladies! It’s been fun having you as guests at DivineDetour.

~ ~ ~

For more information about Crystal and Teri, visit Crystal’s website.

To purchase My Mama & Me, logon to: