I'm so excited to share my interview with Natalia Sepúlveda with you all! I absolutely love her book Kai the Missionary Sea Turtle and was lucky enough to be on her launch team. Natalia is a wonderful Christian children's book author!
Hi Natalia! Can you introduce yourself?
I’m a wife and stay at home mom raising two Christian bilingual children. I love languages, sea turtles, and serving Jesus. I really enjoy meeting new people and working on projects. When I’m not working, I love doing sensory activities with the kids and exploring the world around us.
What inspired and motivated you to write your first book and how long did it take from the initial idea to publishing?
As a Christian bilingual mom, I noticed the scarcity of Christian Bilingual (English - Spanish) resources for children, which led me to creating my own. It took me almost two years to publish.
Wow! I love that you are combining your passions together to create the book!
What are some of the challenges you have encountered on your author and self-publishing journey? How did you overcome them?
I had started with one storyline and it quickly became a chapter book. I decided to step away from the storyline and start fresh with a character I would love and develop into a picture book, and that was KAI the Missionary Sea Turtle.
I had the same challenge with my first book too!
What has been the most rewarding experience since publishing your first book?
The most rewarding experience has been to see the reaction of children with my book and how they want to share the Love of Jesus with everyone. KAI has been chosen for a school book report presentations, home schooling lessons, and has made it to so many places around the world.
It's so wonderful to be able to reach children all over the world with your book and spread this beautiful message!
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from self-publishing?
You need to take the “Self” out of “Self-Publishing,” It has been nice to publish my book with everything I wanted, but I did not do this on my own. I have worked with various professionals, such as Alejandra Lopez my illustrator, Travis Peterson my book designer, editors and proof-readers, mentors, and had an amazing launch team.
You are absolutely right! We really can't do this on our own!
Have you had any negative experiences or disappointing moments throughout your publishing journey? How did you handle them?
So far, I have not and I am grateful to see that others have liked my book and the people I have worked with have been very professional. It has been an amazing experience so far, even non-believers have enjoyed the book, and I value their feedback.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers or authors?
Everyone is in their own timeline, you know your priorities, and there is no need to feel like you must do what everyone else is doing. Be unique, be creative, be kind, and collaborate with others when you can. It’s amazing to see creatives come together for a common goal. Sometimes, I tell myself I don’t need to post today, and that is ok. You need a balance in your life, but all your efforts are worth it, especially when you see children learning through your books and resources.
That's great advice! I've been feeling so swamped lately trying to get new stuff out, but the only pressure we have is the pressure we give ourselves.
What was your favorite book growing up? Why?
Don Quixote of La Mancha, I pick this one because it’s very dear in my life. I did not grow up with access to a lot of books and I became a Spanish Literature major. I loved Don Quixote so much I published a Thesis about “The Importance of Education from a Global perspective: Teaching Don Quixote in the 21st Century.” This book meant so much to me, because it teaches to dream and to have a balance in life while serving God first.
What is a good book you have read recently which you would recommend to others?
One book that I always recommend is Unicorn Jazz by Lisa Caprelli. It teaches children to be unique and be kind. I love her series, and they have made such a big impact in both my children’s lives.
Oh, her series is really wonderful!
Ok, let's have a little game. Can you finish the following statements: If I had never published my book(s), I would / would not… be teaching. If I could only read one book for the rest of my life, it would be … the Bible. If I could only write one more book, it would be … the second book in the Kai series.
What are you working on now? What’s your next book about?
I am working on my editing and translation projects, as well as, some new videos for our media company and family ministry Panem Project (panemproject.com), where we support missionaries around the world. My next book will be the next in the Kai series.
I can't wait to read it!
What’s the best thing someone has said about your book? Or something they said that made you really happy.
A 6-year-old loved my book so much that he chose it to present it to his class for his book report. That was the first child besides my own children that loved KAI. That meant so much to me!
Can you tell us a bit more about your book, Kai The Missionary Sea Turtle?
(Kai la tortuga marina misionera) Illustrated by Alejandra Lopez
A bilingual underwater adventure to learn about missions from the perspective of Kai the missionary sea turtle.
Follow Yan and Ari, young sea turtle siblings, as they go to Sunday School and meet Kai the missionary sea turtle! Kai teaches them what it means to be a missionary and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The text is bilingual English-Spanish with visuals of the colors, names of sea animals and instruments, and Bible verses. This book includes hidden jellyfish throughout the story.
The bonus section includes a Christian parenting guide, a bilingual world map, and facts about missionaries.
Check out my website for free printable coloring and activity pages.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey and book with us! We look forward to reading more of your books in the future!
Check out the video below to get a glimpse of Kai the Missionary Sea Turtle!
Check out the links to Natalia's pages and social media and give her a follow!
I hope you've enjoyed reading this author interview! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think! If you are a children's author and are interested in participating in my author interview blog series, feel free to get in touch!