Author Smith visits hometown
of Canaan, Ind., to promote book
She visited with students and families
to tell of her travels
(June 2018) – On May 11 Canaan Community Academy busily prepared for guests. It was Pastries With Parents Day plus a special guest was returning to visit and share her story. Aspiring author Kamra Lee Smith visited with parents, grandparents and members of the community early that morning. Suzie Buchanan attended the Pastries with Parents that morning and returned later that afternoon to hear more from the special guest, Kamra Lee Smith, 25, of New Albany, Ind.
“I was so impressed with her enthusiasm and how well she related to the kids,” Buchanan said. “I was delighted to know a Canaan student has done something so exciting. She impressed upon the kids going to a small school that you too can pursue any career.”
Kamra Lee Smith
Smith met with eager students who listened to her adventures from her days attending school in Canaan to travels to Nepal and Liberia. Smith was asked what she wanted to be when she was attending Canaan.
“I write because I love it,” Smith said. “I get to be a different person. I get to be many people and sometimes not a person at all! When I write I get to teleport to another place and time. Most importantly, I get to use these writings to send a message into the world that will remain when I’m gone. This message is: You are important; you are loved; there is meaning.”
“When I was in elementary school, I don’t remember thinking about careers as much as kids seem to now,” she replied. “I just always thought I was supposed to grow up, farm, serve God and be a mom. Growing up in Canaan was the only world I knew. I knew nothing else but of farming and going to church.”
She said her mother didn’t start working until she was a senior in high school. The men in my family were pastors for generations back. It wasn’t until her junior high that she had a word for what she wanted to be: a missionary.
Going into high school, her world view started to expand. It was then that she knew she wanted to be a traveling missionary, possibly living overseas. A world outside of Canaan existed.
It was mind blowing to her. In college she studied Biblical Literature and Youth Ministry to prepare herself for missionary living. She studied abroad at the Hunger Education and Resource Training of Florida, where she lived in a simulated third world country studying sustainable agriculture. She also studied abroad in Nepal, where she worked with Tiny Hands International (now known as Love Justice International) to learn and fight again sex trafficking.
Smith didn’t know it at the time, but attending the small community school of Canaan prepared her for this lifestyle. She was able to see firsthand how one-on-one care looked from her teachers, aides and even the principal who would play rag ball with her at recess. It showed her what tentative care was. At Canaan she learned more than how to read and write; she learned how to be a good person from good people. She looked up to the authority figures and knew “I want to be like you when I grow up; not a teacher, so to speak, but an adult who cares for others.”
Today, her goal is the same. It is not that she suddenly knew that she wanted to be an author. Smith’s mission has always been to care for others. She discovered that she can do that through her writing. She shares encouraging words, inspirational stories and hope to cultivate imagination or aspirations for a better world.
Smith’s inspiration comes from her imagination. Suddenly, she has an idea that takes off running in her head. Then she has to put it down because it excites her.
Smith’s second book wasn’t her idea at all. Her dad had a dream in 2016 that completely jolted him.
He woke up and had to tell others about it. He asked her to put it in book form for him.
It is called “Miracles in Masonville.” It has an inspiring message that is no doubt why her dad was so moved. The reader will meet the main character, “Phil Oliver” (known as “Ollie”), an orphan in a small town of Masonville, Ind. Yet, his life of hardship does not determine his destiny. He is a Division I worthy basketball athlete who takes his otherwise unknown high school Mustangs team to the nationals.
The town is transformed by one kind act after another by Ollie’s presence. People begin to change, even the beautiful Brandi Bollinger who finds herself falling in love with the orphan Ollie. Small miracles start to take place in this unexpected town, but most expectant event will be the try of murder against Ollie’s life.
She hopes it serves as inspiration to communities – that one person doing one small act of kindness can spur a makeover of miracles. “Miracles in Masonville” is due out this summer.
Smith has already started writing a third book, “An Alien’s Front Porch.” She shared a preview of the plot with Canaan Community Academy students. The students were most excited about this book out of the three.
“I’m very excited for this one, too, because so far it has taken my largest stretch of imagination,” she said. “I haven’t read anything like it. I believe this book will hit a lot of hearts as it tackles one of life’s most devastating woes. What this is? You’ll just have to wait and find out.”
This aspiring author who embodies and shares what true communities are – people helping one another – will be at the Jefferson County Public Library at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, hosting a question-and-answer session. It is a time for our community to welcome her home and support her works.
Following the question and answer session the G.H. Coffee shop will play host to a book signing for her recently released book “Becoming Peace.” The book will also be available for purchase.
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