Local Author And Educator Inspires Hope For Future With Sci-Fi Storybook And Novel
by James Coulter
In the future, two children and their mother emigrate from earth to a farming planet seeking a better life. There they learn they are the only people on the planet who can read. So they use their literacy skills to help the native population improve their way of life.
This is the synopsis of the new children’s book, “Caleb’s Crop,” written and published by local author and educator Evelyn Rainey. The book also has a cover and illustrations by artist Susan Krupp, who has illustrated the cover for Evelyn’s other books, including “The Island Remains” and “Daisy and the Three Shoes.”
“Caleb’s Crop” is one of two books recently published by Evelyn. Her other book, “Troughton Company,” is a sci-fi novel set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, where aliens have invaded to scour the planet for all of its metal. The titular Jerry Troughton and his wife must team up with other survivors to stand against these alien invaders.
“Caleb’s Crop” is a children’s book, while “Troughton Company” is a young adult novel. Both sci-fi stories tell tales of bright young heroes who use their knowledge to adapt to their environment and overcome great obstacles. Evelyn herself was inspired to write the latter book during the pandemic, as it made her wonder how humanity would overcome such a dire crisis.
“I am into survival skills,” she said. “If the grid were to fall or fail, or we all got stuck at home with COVID, or the world as we knew right now changed, how would we survive? We would survive through friendship or survive by adapting to a new way of life.”
Evelyn Rainey is a local author and educator. She recently retired after 38 years in the public school system, where she has taught every grade level from kindergarten to adult education. She has degrees in early childhood, elementary, integrated middle school, ESOL, gifted education, and journalism. She is currently working on her master’s in Biblical studies.
She also serves as an author and publisher. She has written and published up to nine books, some of them through her former publishing company. She has written everything from fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. She owes her versatility to reading as much as she writes.
“I read constantly,” Evelyn said. “I love to learn, and the more you learn, the more you can write because the more you learn, you have to write what you know. It is a spiral. I love to learn, and I love to write about what I learn.”
Her first book, “Minna Pegeen,” was a fantasy epic inspired by her love of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks. The story posits the question of what would happen to a fantasy world if the fabled “Chosen One” was not the chosen one.
Many of her other books are inspired by both the works she reads and her personal experience. “Perky’s Books And Gifts” is a paranormal fantasy about a magic bookstore based on her own experience working at Books-A-Million.
Another book, “The Island Remains,” is about a fictional island set in WW2 and based on her study of the war. She wanted to show how many Germans during that period were not sympathetic with the Nazi regime and did not support what their country was doing.
In all of her stories, Evelyn reveals the universality of the human experience. Through her study of fiction and non-fiction, she has learned that people are more similar than they are different, and she wants to reveal this truth through her writing.
“I think a story is a story, no matter if it is set in the past or Roman times or in the future on a far different planet: people are still people,” she said. “Love doesn’t change where you set it. Anger doesn’t change. How to deal with a bully doesn’t change, wherever you set the story.”
Evelyn loves to learn, and as an educator, she loved to share what she learns. She shared her knowledge as an educator, and she continues to do so through her writing. She hopes that the more people know, the more prepared they are for the future, which is a theme especially present in her latest books.
“I want to give people hope for the future,” she said. “Both books offer hope for the future based on always being a learner, being a lifelong learner…Don’t just sit and say you don’t know how to do it. Take charge and enjoy life and enjoy learning and go forward with that.”
Evelyn teaches Sunday School, and she serves as her mother’s full-time caregiver. She loves to crochet and garden, having recently taken up the latter hobby during the pandemic.
As an educator for nearly four decades, she has taught many students. Sometimes she even has the opportunity to run into them at the grocery store and hear about everything they have accomplished in life thanks to her education.
“To me, that is wonderful,” she said. “That is eternal life. That is immortality. That I made a difference in someone’s life, and I love that.”
Currently, she runs ShelteringTree.Earth, her blog where she pontificates upon her writing, her Bible studies, and her crocheting. She initially wanted to use her blog as a starting point for a brick-and-mortar crochet store to provide crochet lessons. However, the current pandemic halted her original plans, so she uses her blog to offer crochet tutorials and gives lessons at a local thrift store.
Her advice to aspiring writers is two-fold: first, write often. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect. Second, learn how to market. Writing and publishing your book is only the beginning. If you want to sell your book, you have to do your research.
“You can be the best writer in the world, but if your book does not sell, you will not feel successful, and in order for a book to sell, you have to market it,” she said. “I worked with a lot of people who think that the end of the journey is when they get their paperback in their hands. That is just the beginning.”
“Caleb’s Crop” and “Troughton Company” are both available on Amazon and other online retailers. To learn more, visit Evelyn’s website at: https://shelteringtree.earth