Ben Cooper is a husband, father, author, speaker, educator, and beekeeper. He grew up on a family farm in western Pennsylvania and went on to get an Agricultural Science degree from Penn State University. Ben retired after working as an Agricultural Specialist for the state of Maryland. He teaches Beekeeping courses at Allegany College of Maryland and mentors new beekeepers.
Ben and his wife live in southern Pennsylvania, where they homeschooled and raised their five children. He is the author of All Nature Sings: A Devotional Guide to Animals in the Bible and the children’s picture book series that includes Created Critters with Wings and Created Critters with Fur. He is also a contributing author for All God’s Creatures, an annual devotional from Guideposts. He used his second cancer diagnosis as a means to launch his writing journey. Ben speaks at churches, youth groups, and camping ministries about God’s wonderful creations and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can buy All Nature Sings here.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I can trace back to my high school English Composition teacher as my first influencer for writing. She presented writing as both a discipline and a form of art. I set a goal early in life to obtain a copyright, but I didn’t have a subject in mind.
As one raised with animals, I eventually wanted to write a book to be used for our five children whom we homeschooled. The desire was to join together science, personal experience with varying types of animals, and include animals referenced in the Bible.
I would come up with an idea and write it on a scrap of paper and stow it away for later. Then at the age of forty, I was diagnosed with cancer and my priorities transitioned to survival and hitting my five-year cancer-free mark. A struggle began when I was told my surgery was three and a half months away. That is an eternity of waiting. So, three days after the diagnosis, I exchanged worry with writing. I used my writing as therapy to focus on something positive. I didn’t want cancer to define me. Instead, it refined me. That decision got me through the waiting and recovery time and eventually, All Nature Sings was published. The book idea wasn’t born out of adversity, but the completion of it was. Little did I know that would launch my writing journey.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
My degree from college was in agriculture and I worked thirty-two years for the state of Maryland as an Agricultural Specialist. I had the opportunity to write newsletter articles, promotional advertisements, and of course a plethora of reports.
A fun fact about me is that I’ve been a beekeeper since before I was old enough to drive. I started working with honeybees through 4-H and have been teaching beekeeping courses at a local college for thirteen years. Writing became part of that teaching because I had to develop the class curriculum.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
All Nature Sings comes from a phrase from an old English hymn entitled, “This is My Father’s World” written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock. It came fairly easily since it matched the idea that studying animals and nature points to a creator. The verse states:
“This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears; all nature sings and round me rings, the beauty of the spheres.”
It just seemed a perfect title. I researched other books with the same title, but they didn’t cover the same topic.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
I was blown away right at first, more because I could feel the excitement of getting closer to seeing the actual book published. But I asked my artist friend for his thoughts. He said the positioning wasn’t quite right and told me what needed to be done to correct it. I would have never thought about it until his trained artist eye picked it up. I suggested the desired corrections to my publisher, and they made the changes.
Unboxing and experiencing that first “book-baby” moment was priceless.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
I could easily hear soft instrumental music playing the old hymn, “This is My Father’s World.”
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
When the reader gains deeper insight that shows how all things were designed and wonderfully created.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Each of the five literary awards the book earned was amazing for a first-time author. But the most meaningful are the times a reader makes the effort to connect with me and share how much they loved the book and thank me for writing it. That is a treasure that can’t be measured.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
All Nature Sings was supposed to be a one-and-done book. Out of it came the Created Critters children’s rhyming picture book series. Created Critters with Wings was written for the four- to eight-year-old ages. In the idea of the Where’s Waldo books, I talked my beekeeping illustrator into including a hidden bee for the children to search for as an adult reads to them. Likewise, Created Critters with Fur has a hidden mouse to locate. I hope to write a few more books in that series.
I auditioned to be a devotional writer for one of the Guideposts Publishing imprints called All God’s Creatures. It is published annually with 365 devotionals. I was invited to write for them and have been included in the 2023, 2024, and upcoming 2025 releases.
When I am not writing or beekeeping, I do school programs, speaking, and outdoor learning events at summer camps. I also am involved three times each year in running a log cabin trading post that my dad, brother, and I restored on the grounds of an antique tractor and steam engine association…
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.