Copyright 2010 by Janet & Geoff Benge
All Rights Reserved
Hi, here’s a little about me: I was born in 1958 and I grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand, with four brothers (two older and two younger). Our dad was a high school teacher. I have loved books for as long as I can remember. I learned to write before I could read. I would copy out a page of a book and take it to my mother to “read” back to me. Of course, she had no idea what I had written, but I was very proud of my efforts—I spent hours sitting on an old oil barrel in the shed doing this. Finally, after a bit of a struggle—I later learned I was dyslexic—I could write AND read.
My written work was never tidy or spelled correctly, but I loved to put words on paper anyway. (The main comment I received on my papers from teachers was, “Good ideas Janet, spoiled by carelessness and poor presentation.”) I graduated high school and went on to teacher training college. I married Geoff and convinced him to go to university. I became an elementary school teacher for a couple of years. And then it was off to work in a convention center, have a baby, and sign up as an interdenominational missionary. What a wild ride that was—we lived on an Indian Reservation in the United States, a village in Tonga in the South Pacific, a slum in Manila, Philippines, and a ship in Hawaii. So many experiences; so much to write about!
In 1993 our oldest daughter, Shannon, informed us that she had attended 16 different elementary schools, it was true, and she would prefer to go through high school in one place. So we moved from the West Coast to the East Coast and settled in Florida. Soon afterwards, YWAM Publishing asked us to write a book for children and young adults about the missionary, Hudson Taylor. I was thrilled. I had read many dry, old books about missionaries, yet could see that they really lived amazing lives. It was time to retell their stories for a new generation. I loved writing Hudson Taylor and I got depressed thinking that it would be the only missionary story I would ever get to retell in a way that I thought was interesting and exciting. How wrong I was! Fourteen years later, Geoff and I have written the stories of 38 missionaries to date, not to mention the other 19 books in the Heroes of History series.
I still love hearing or reading an amazing story that has been “lost” and plotting out how to bring it back to life. And as for that recurring comment from my teachers, “Good ideas Janet, spoiled by carelessness and poor presentation,” I guess I have the last laugh. I have an editor who corrects my work without complaining, and a team of people turning the words into beautifully presented books!
I hope that the books we write inspire a new generation to imagine the past and learn lessons for the future.