For the Love of Literacy
Lacy Williams is an Edmond mom, wife, teacher, community volunteer and published author. She is passionate about promoting literacy and shares her love for books with children and adults alike.
On the first Tuesday of each month, Williams and her red-haired Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Mr. Bingley, visit the Edmond Library. They participate in the local Kids Reading to Dogs program that helps children overcome shyness and fear of reading aloud. “A kid needs to know how to read and even if they don’t grow up to be somebody who makes a bunch of public speeches,” said Williams, “learning the confidence of being able to speak or read aloud in front of a dog or in front of me, who is not going to judge you, is really important.”
Mr. Bingley is named after one of the characters from the book and 2005 movie “Pride and Prejudice,” who also has red hair. He is a trained therapy dog and doesn’t mind listening to familiar stories over and over. “He loves the library, he loves being with the kids,” said Williams. “There are several kids that know him by name and actually come right up to him when they see him.” Williams said some of the children whisper the story to Mr. Bingley, while others just have their hand on his back while reading. “You can see that it relaxes them,” she said.
Williams loved reading books as a child and dreamed of becoming a writer. When she was 10, her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas. “My parents always encouraged my dream and always encouraged me to dream big,” she said. “I definitely think building on a childhood like that has got me where I am today.”
Williams grew up on her grandparents’ farm near Calumet. She remembers the cows, horses and fishing pond. It was the perfect setting to expand her imagination. What inspired her from the books that she was reading was the message of hope. “That’s the part that I love —the moment of sacrifice that leads to the happy ending.” She decided that her motto as a writer is “happily-ever-after, guaranteed.”
Last year, Williams published her first book, “Marrying Miss Marshal.” The widow of the town’s marshal “tries to keep justice in her town and guard her heart.” In 2009, Williams won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis Award for the novel. “This award was how my editor learned about the book and requested to see the whole manuscript,” said Williams.
In 2012, Williams will release two more books. “The Homesteader’s Sweetheart,” which will be published this month, is a story about a poor homesteader who falls in love with a rich socialite and they have to work out their differences. “Counterfeit Cowboy” will be published in December. A con man pretending to be a cowboy falls in love with a woman who changes his life. The novels will be available as paperback and e-books. Williams is also working on a compilation of short stories.
Before immersing herself in the world of writing and motherhood, Williams worked as an accountant and auditor. She had the chance to meet clients in different settings and got many story ideas from her own experiences. But after her daughter was born, Williams decided to leave the corporate world. “When you have a little crying baby, they are in charge,” she joked. Williams said watching her two children grow has been a huge blessing. She said she loves spending time with them reading books together. “My daughter actually started memorizing some of the books, so she reads it with you which I think is really cool for a 2-year-old.”
When Williams felt she was ready to start working on a book, she needed some professional guidance. “I knew nothing other than that I loved to write.” Williams joined the American Christian Fiction Writers group. She participated in seminars, received feedback from other writers and found a mentor. “It really made a big difference in my life,” she said. “I wanted to turn around and be that person, that mentor for other people.”
Williams helped start a local chapter of the group where new writers can find resources and be matched with a mentor. In addition, she teaches part-time writing classes at Francis Tuttle and classes on how to use e-readers at the Belle Isle Library in Oklahoma City.
For more information about Williams, her books and resources for aspiring writers, go to www.lacyjwilliams.com.