Monica Parker, Actor, Writer, and Producer
By Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief
Monica Parker is an actor, writer, and producer in theatre, television, and film, most notably All Dogs Go to Heaven. She was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland until the age of thirteen when she immigrated with her parents to Toronto, Canada. She began as a dress designer and then received a part in a feature film that was using her dresses. She went on to write, star and produce her own television series. For the next twelve years she worked non-stop as an actress and writer in theater, film and television. She co-starred in five other series until she moved on to write for The Helen Reddy Show and An Evening at the Improv. In Los Angeles Monica flourished writing and acting in television and film. In 1988 she wrote the very successful All Dogs Go to Heaven. In 1994 she started her own production company “Write Side Up Productions.” In 1996 she produced her first television movie for NBC and has co-starred in several TV movies. Her feature film work includes several films including Nancy Drew starring Emma Roberts. She has also produced a film for Lifetime Television and produced a TV movie that was nominated for a Prism Award. She has several television series in development. Monica has just completed two features already under option, and has a recurring role on SciFy’s Defiance.
Monica Parker recently released a book called OMG! How Children See God that shows how kids think and feel about God. With so many different religions and beliefs, Ms. Parker asked all kinds of kids what they think and found some surprising and insightful answers. Amazing Kids! Magazine recommends reading this book with a parent to open some interesting discussions. This book compiles their hilarious and thought-provoking answers alongside some wonderful drawings and is available through HCI Books.
AK: What inspired you to write this book?
MP: When our son Remy was born, my husband, a French-Canadian Catholic, and me, a mutt born of a High Church of England father and an Austro/Hungarian Jewish mother, knew that we wanted to provide him with a sense of spirituality and Godliness despite our religious differences. To that end, we always told him that God lives inside every living thing, including trees, dogs, spiders and all human beings and although we can’t always see God, God is always there. When Remy was seven years old, he told us that he knew someone who had seen God. “When Doctor Sally opened up Grandpa’s stomach to get the bad stuff out, she could see God right there inside him.” He said that all doctors could see God whenever they did operations. I was smitten with the imagery and I kept thinking about how he had taken what we had said and it had become real for him. I was also thrilled we were talking about God. That conversation has never stopped.
AK: In general, how does an idea for a book come to you ~ does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
MP: Ideas just seem to float around in my head. Sometimes they move to the front of the line – usually at 3:00 AM. Sometimes shadows from current events lodge in our heads. I don’t like to question inspiration. It just makes me grateful when it shows up.
AK: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from this book?
MP: I love the uncensored minds of children. They naturally respond to questions without concern as to what anyone thinks, therefore their answers are pure – sometimes sad, often funny and even more often – insightful.
AK: Why does this story matter?
MP: In most cultures, parents want the same things for their children, regardless of their religious differences. I was curious to hear what children of different nationalities, faiths and social strata from around the globe thought about God. The answers I have received to date have educated, illuminated and enchanted me and on occasion have had me laughing out loud.
AK: Can you give an example of something one of the children has said that made you laugh out loud?
MP: When I asked a 4-year-old boy if there was anything God couldn’t do, he answered without missing a beat; “God can’t stack chairs!” I did not know that!
AK: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book that you may not have expected?
MP: I discovered that regardless of any one child’s interpretation of God, I felt happy to know that my thoughts were so often in sync with theirs. Godliness has come to mean goodness and that feels like something I can be one-hundred-percent committed to.
AK: What has been one of your biggest struggles and/or successes (professional/personal) and what have you learned from it?
MP: One of my greatest struggles has been how to deal with people who are unfair or intolerant of others. I have come to understand that I can’t always change people’s minds but I can close that door and walk away. One of my greatest successes comes from having so many people in my life who are caring, kind and loving.
AK: What was the best advice you’ve ever received—do you follow it?
MP: I have been given lots of great advice but the two pieces that jump out are; to admit when I don’t know something, and then ask whom or where I can get the answers. The second one is to trust my gut. I call it the bells and buzzer syndrome. If someone gives me advice or a suggestion – If a bell goes off in my head – listen to it but if I get a buzzer sounding in my gut – Don’t listen.
AK: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” and share with us a bit of your personal life—Outside of writing, what’s important to you?
MP: Other than my husband, son and our family both chosen and given, the things that really resonate with me, in no particular order; trees, I’m obsessed with their majesty, beauty and cycle of life properties – the power and influence of nature, I love people who add to the energy of a conversation and have a sense of humor, along with generosity of spirit. Reading, listening to great music and eating delicious food.
If you’d like to get in touch with Monica Parker, you can reach her through her website.