An Interview with Del Riemer

Magpies, Motorcycles, & Muckluks - Curious Tales of Adventure and Grace

On June 10, 2020 I sat down (physically distanced, of course) with Del Riemer to ask him about his new book, “Magpies, Motorcycles, & Muckluks – Curious Tales of Adventure & Grace”. The following is the result of our discussion.

Luke: Hi Del, thank you for taking the time to give us this exclusive chance to interview you on your new book. With that I will lead right into the six questions I have prepared for you.

Luke: What made you write this book? Did you see a need, or was this purely a passion project?

Del: In Joshua 3 & 4, the heads of each Israelite tribe are told to take up a ‘memorial’ stone out of the Jordan river which were to be set up as a monument of lasting reminders to the next generation of all that God had done, so that future generations did not forget the heritage of their parents and grandparents. Initially, I just wanted to write stories from my life that I could read and discuss with my grandkids which functioned like those ‘memorial stones’. The stories I wrote are mostly ones of my own weakness, failures and mistakes that God has used to teach me life lessons and form me into who I am. I planned to just record a few of those stories and events, so that they would know the heritage they came from, and the timeless truths of God. (also, since many of those stories included their dads as well.) Once I got started, the kids loved hearing the stories and kept asking for more, so I decided to keep writing and include more stories and lessons. From time to time, I would read one of those stories to our SBC seniors’ group, and they too asked for more.

Finally, I decided to see if there were many ‘Bedtime Story’ books that included true stories accompanied by spiritual lessons and perhaps a prayer at the end. I check with Focus on the Family, Christianbook.com and other sources, and couldn’t find even ONE book like I described. Sure, there were Bible Story books, Fictional and ‘Fairy Tale’ bedtime story books, but none that included both true adventures and true lessons of faith. After realizing this vacuum existed in both secular and Christian literature, I decided to go a step further and consider publishing 2-3 volumes of stories to address the need in my own family, as well as to encourage other parents and grandparents to use these stories to engage their kids in discussion about relevant life issues. In addition, I have had many reports that adults simply enjoyed the stories because they related to experiences they have had and the lessons they too have learned. So, really it has turned out that they have found a much wider audience than I expected.

Luke: Who is the target audience you’re trying to reach with this project?

Del: I guess the actual audience has moved beyond my original intent of being mostly just children, to any child or adult that enjoys stories of adventure, but also ones that desire to grow and mature into people that represent the character and qualities of Jesus. To make the book more appealing to both children and also to adults and Seniors, I published the book with large print and more spacious margins so that it is comfortable and easy to work through. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter help to give the reader a visual image and key component of the story.

Luke: How long has this book been in the works?

Del: I began writing the first stories about 3 years ago and have just continued to write and add to the collection over the following years. This first book is a collection of 25 stories, and I have another 40 in process which will fill 2 more volumes to be published in the next couple years.

Luke: Who do you have to thank for making this book a reality?

Del: Although I have a pretty creative and adventurous mind, I lack some of the language and grammar skills to produce a quality literary piece. Once I decided to go beyond a few typed out stories, I realized that I’d need some help to get them into a format that was fit for public consumption. Brenda Timmer and Dianne Holland from our church had the skills and background I required, so I asked them if they would assist me in the editing process. This is not an easy process, as I write from my heart and often those thoughts are either grammatically incorrect, or they are too verbose or not understandable. These women corrected, edited, re-edited, offered suggestions, more descriptive words and phrases, or they cut and slashed redundant sections that detracted from the narrative. (Very painful, but very necessary!!!).

Then came the need for some ‘visual’ assistance! Because these stories took place over six decades of my life, they needed some visual context and some engaging illustrations. Enter my old friend Dustin Heigh (who will soon be starting as our new Youth Pastor here at SBC), who is a gifted artist and graphic designer. I asked him if I could hire him to format the book with fonts and illustrations and to also design the front and back cover. I told Dustin that I was looking for simple pen sketch illustrations that would fit into a vintage ‘Norman Rockwell’ style feel. Dustin has done a masterful job in giving the book the nostalgic feel I was going for.

The final assistance I got in completing the book was from my 6 grandkids. Of course, they have listened to the stories as I have been completing each one, and when I was looking for some ‘testimonials’ to include on the back cover of the book, they gave me the most valuable comments I could ask for. On the back cover, it says: ‘What They’re Saying’…. followed by a short quote from each of my 6 grandkids. What a treasure they are!

So, truly, I could not have made it through this process without these 9 people who assisted me, in completing my first book.

Luke: If there are one or two takeaways a person should leave with after reading the book, what are they?

Del: I would say that mainly, there are two important takeaways I would like each person who reads the book to consider that:

1. Our lives are a collection of experiences and lessons which form us, and they need to be intentionally considered and passed on to those who come after us. I hope that through people reading this book (especially adults), they will realize that they too have stories and lessons that need to be passed on to their kids and grandkids. That was the whole point of those ‘Memorial Stones’.

2. We usually tell our kids and other people about our successes and achievements and often avoid sharing our mistakes and foibles. God knows our weaknesses & failures, and when we are honest and surrender these to Him in repentance, He turns them into life lessons. which form us further into ‘His Image’. The Christian life is simply the process of recognizing and acknowledging our natural tendencies as imperfect people, and then submitting them to Jesus who transforms us by his indwelling life, so that ‘His’ character would be seen in and through our lives. By reading this book, I hope that both kids and adults will surrender their imperfections to God who wants to use each one of us as ‘raw materials’ to reveal His resurrection life to the world.

It is also important to note that due to the lesson/application and the prayer at the end of each chapter, the book can be used as a personal devotional or a small group discussion started.

Luke: Where can I purchase this book and for what cost?

Del: The paperback book is currently available on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com under the name: Magpies, Motorcycles & Mukluks – Curious Tales of Adventure and Grace. The cost is either $12.50 USD or $17.79 CDN. It is also available through Amazon as an E-Book downloadable for $3.02 USD or $4.22 CDN (If purchasing from Amazon, please leave a comment on your feelings about the book.) Or you may follow THIS LINK to see the product directly.

Or, the book is available from me personally (or the SBC church office) for $15.00. Or via email at: riemerdel@gmail.com or call the church at 250-494-3881.

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