Irish Beth Maddock is helping organizations raise money with her children’s book The Great Carp Escape. Photo courtesy of Irish Beth Maddock

God plants the idea, author writes about it

  • May 16, 2015

Irish Beth Maddock says she gets a lot of calls from God late at night or early in the morning. It is during these quiet hours of the night she “downloads” the ideas God plants in her mind.

It was 2 a.m. when Maddock got the idea for her first children’s book, The Great Carp Escape. It was a childhood memory that suddenly spoke to her in a different way.

“It kind of became an allegory of how Jesus brings us from dead water to living water and we are the carp in that sense.

The story just started to tie into God speaking about how He works in our lives,” said Maddock.

In the 1980s, Maddock and her family lived in Vernon, B.C., near Okanagan Lake. One spring, the lake flooded into the pasture near their home. A marsh filled with carp followed the water inland and as the water receded, the fish were trapped in a pond.

“There were just scores of these fat, scaly, ugly carp in the pond and as the sun got hotter, the pond began to dry up,” she said.

Maddock said she was squeamish about seeing the carp, but her younger brother, Liam, and his friend decided to dig a long trench to herd the fish back to the lake.

Once the idea for the story was planted in her mind, she couldn’t leave it. She immediately got out of bed and began to write. She wrote the manuscript in an hour and a half.

Maddock said the process of writing and publishing the story had become a process of healing for her.

“Back in the 1970s, our birth mom chose to leave us. I was four and my brother was a year old,” she said. “My dad came home and we were alone. So as a four year old, I learned very quickly how to parent my one-year-old baby brother.”

Maddock said she didn’t find her Christian faith until the age of 27. It was only then that she truly understood God had been with her, even during her trials. One message in the book is based on Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”

“What I didn’t realize, until I was much older when I became a follower of Christ, is that Jesus was always with my brother and I in our loneliness,” said Maddock. “The dad in the story is actually Jesus and the brother and sister in the story are myself and my brother.”

For three years, Maddock did nothing with the manuscript. The only thing she knew was that she wanted to work with a Canadian Christian book publishing company.

Maddock’s work has been published in local newspapers and Reader’s Digest Canada. but for her book, “Most of all, I wanted this to be God’s book. So, striving to allow God to be the one to direct the path of where this book is going to go... that has been the learning thing for me in this.”

Maddock has used a unique marketing strategy, offering her book as a fundraising opportunity to help others. One of her first book signing events took place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Hillsburgh, Ont. Her father-in-law, Rev. R. Wayne Maddock, was a former minister at the church. He passed away last year.

“Irish wanted the profits to go to (the Benevolent Fund) because not only does it help church people, but also the community,” said Dianne Knibb, one of 12 community elders at St. Andrew’s Church.

The Benevolent Fund helps community members struggling with their finances. The church sets aside money to provide support for everyday needs, medical bills and anything that someone in the community might need.

Knibb said the fund is fed by individual donations. Maddock’s book signing event on April 12 was the first time the church organized a fundraising campaign for it.

 “We just had the greatest buzz going on in our church after she shared how she came to God,” she said.

Each book cost $13 of which $5 went toward the Benevolent Fund. The church sold 80 books and raised $400. A generous parishioner who was inspired by Maddock’s testimony donated $600 the same day to raise the total to $1,000.

Knibb said this started a ripple effect within the community. She sold her last 20 books within a few weeks after the event.

With the continued buzz in the community, she is hoping to get a new shipment of books within the next few weeks.

“As the other churches in our community and people talk about it, then we get these phone calls of ‘Oh, do you have any books left,’ ” said Knibb. “People can buy this book at Chapters, but I think people like to know that (some of) the profits are going to something that will help others.”

Maddock also held a book reading event at her daughter’s school, St. Brigid Catholic School in Calgary. The $475 raised during that event went towards the purchase of new books and other supplies for the school’s library.

Moving forward, Maddock hopes these charity events will be stepping stones for more fundraising opportunities in more communities in Canada. She has opened up her web site,, for communities to connect with her.

“It was a comfortable place to start,” said Maddock. “The funding that they need for what they’re looking to get money for is near and dear to my heart, so I have a passion for trying to get them the money that might help.”

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