Interview with Tammy Fernando

A Prayer from the Heart on Amazon

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a wonderful children’s book author, Tammy Fernando. Born in Sri Lanka and currently residing in England, Fernando has a heart for children in more ways than one. Her debut book, A Prayer from the Heart reminds us all that the Holy Trinity protects and watches over us.  

Q: How did you get started writing stories for children? And what made you want to write A Prayer from the Heart?

A: The first story I wrote was “A Prayer from the Heart” and I wrote that late in life: at the age of 54 years. I don’t count the time when as a 14-year-old I tried to write a story. All that happened was I wrote one page of a Western and decided that it was rubbish. I felt I just didn’t have what it takes to put a story together! I didn’t enjoy the process of writing and I felt that I had nothing to write about. This all changed 40 years later when I felt God speak to me through a thought.

It was May of 2015. I was off sick from work, and I was watching a video about a Christian author and how she was ill in hospital, having been run over by a truck! Her Christian friends gathered around her and asked why she thought God had allowed this to happen? She said that it was to finish off the book that she had started. God had to get her to be still enough to listen to Him! Then a thought crossed my mind … ‘I wonder if God wants me to write a story?’ That evening I sat down and wrote most of the first draft of what is now called “A Prayer from the Heart”. The title then was just my brother and his wife’s names. So really, it was God who truly inspired me. I had had no interest in writing anything before.

I had watched this video many times before because this lady, who had a few similarities to me, gave me hope that one day, I too would meet the love of my life – as she seemed to have done! Even at an older age! But the whole thing about writing had never entered my mind … not, that is, until the day that I was off sick — which was yet another thing that we had in common — though of course I hadn’t been run over by a truck! My sickness was a less dramatic case of my back muscles having seized up and prevented me from walking properly.

I was a nursery teacher at the time, and naturally my story was aimed at that age.

Q: How long did it take you to get it published?

A: Once it is published in April 2023, it will have been 7 years and 11 months! It took that long for God to show me that I should be self-publishing. I spent a lot of time trying to get it traditionally published through Catholic and Christian publishers. It’s a journey that I just had to make.

Q: Why did you choose this illustrator? In other words, what do you like about her artwork?

A: I came across Kim Merritt on Facebook. I really liked the bright colours that I saw she used, and I also liked the way that she expressed sunlight. In addition to this, I liked the way that she drew people. It was more lifelike than you get in some picture books, and I wanted that for my characters. The characters in my story include my dearly departed brother Chris, his wife, and the three children he left behind. I really wanted it to be as true to Chris’s memory and to my family as it could be. 

Q: What do you hope children take away from your book, what themes or ideas?

A: My hope is that they will see how easy and natural it is to chat/pray to God and to try it for themselves. I hope that they will start to have a relationship with the living God.

Q: Do you think your book will help parents teach children about the Holy Trinity?

A: Oh I really hope so! A definition of the Holy Trinity is Three persons (Tri) in Union with each other (Unity). Tri-Unity…Trinity! You can see these Three persons easily in the illustrations. The Holy Trinity is there on every page…so parents could discuss the Holy Trinity’s omnipresence. They could also talk to their children about how The Holy Trinity are deeply interested in what their children are interested in, and will give them all the gifts that they want if it is also God’s desire for them. And that when it’s the right gift for them, God gives in abundance! This is what happens to Chris in the story.

Q: What do you want the readers to know about Jesus?

A: That He is one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, and that all the Persons always work together in harmony. I would also like them to realise that Jesus in the Holy Trinity is the same Jesus who was crucified at Calvary. In my story, Jesus has a red cross on the front of His white garment. So that should give them a clue!

Q: Are you working on any other book projects now, or do you plan to in the future? What subjects might those books cover?

A: Yes, I wrote drafts of five others in the first year that I started writing. Most, if not all, are based on events from Chris’s life. In the second book, Chris hears Jesus speak and Jesus leads him out of the wood in which he got lost.

Q: What other hobbies do you enjoy besides writing?

A: I like to cook new recipes and surprise my family and friends with cakes for special occasions like birthdays, engagements, and anniversaries.  I also like to sing and dance — I have sung in our staff school choir once so far. Sadly, the closest I get to dancing these days is dancing to a YouTube dance exercise class! I sometimes just dance to music that I like when no one can see me!

Thank you, Tammy. Your fascinating book is a must-read for little ones suffering from shyness, or in new situations like moving and making friends. Kimberly Merritt’s vibrant art really showcases the power of love between people, and the love of God for us. Families from all parts of the world will really enjoy this story, which even includes an adorable turtle! For more information on this author, you can find her here:

Facebook page: Tammy Fernando’s Catholic Children’s Stories/Stories Group

Website is

Published by eighthobbits

Catholic homeschooler, mom of many who loves to edit fantasy/sci-fi books. She also copyedits, writes, and blogs.

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