Macey Warren came up with the words, and Gustavo Acevedo brought them to life with illustrations.
The Seymour natives now have their names on the front cover of a book for the first time.
“Fruit of Our Love” was released as an e-book two weeks before the soft cover option became available Oct. 4.
A new baby is on the way, but just what is happening while it grows inside Mommy? This love song from a mother to her preborn baby takes children and parents on a fun-filled — and factual — journey through pregnancy, the book’s description reads.
Using comparisons to fruits and vegetables, “Fruit of Our Love” traces a baby’s development from barely-there poppyseed to watermelon ready to meet the world. Cheerful rhyme describes how the baby grows eyelashes and eyebrows, blinks in the dark and bounces to the beat of Daddy’s singing.
As the 40-week journey draws to its exciting end, young children anticipating a new sibling will be gently reminded of how they came into the world amid the same love and joy, reassured of their place in their expanding family.
Warren, 25, who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently returned to her hometown to share her book with local students.
It was a special occasion Oct. 3 when she visited St. Ambrose Catholic School in Seymour, where she attended from preschool to fifth grade. Acevedo also is a St. Ambrose alumnus.
“This really shaped who I was as a person, and so I really wanted to make sure that I came back and was able to just talk to the students, show them this is what’s possible and you can absolutely do this,” Warren said.
Warren attended Seymour Middle School from sixth through eighth grades and then went to Seymour High School, where she graduated in 2015.
Four years later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and communications from Purdue University.
When she was in fifth grade, she was St. Ambrose’s winner of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education essay contest, so she has had an interest in writing from a young age. Plus, she remembers going to a reading mobile with her class to have a book read to them.
“Something that I really loved about St. Ambrose was just the academic system,” she said. “I think it really set me up for success when I went to the middle school. It really instilled that you have these hours you need to do for your homework, for study time, then also just a good Christian attitude. I think that’s overall a really strong message at St. Ambrose, so just treating people with kindness, always showing up and being kind and generous.”
When she was in college, Warren recalled writing down her goals and dreams. One of them was to be an author.
“So I knew that was a long-term dream,” she said.
While working for a public relations agency during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, she was furloughed from her job because the firm represented the restaurant/hospitality industry, which was really impacted at that time.
That gave Warren time to begin turning her dream into a reality.
“I wrote the book in a day. I was so inspired,” she said.
Her cousin, who was pregnant at the time, was an inspiration for the story.
“She would call me after her doctor’s appointments and say, ‘My baby is the size of an avocado today,’ and so I thought that it was really interesting that I was able to visualize that when she would call me,” Warren said.
“I was like, ‘What if this could be something in a book?’ and I was seeing on Facebook that people were posting about the different stages of when they would go to the doctor and how big their baby was growing,” she said. “I thought it would be really cool if I wrote a book about that.”
Warren did research and talked to doctors to ensure her information was factual, and after completing the first draft, she began working with an editor.
“I essentially had to rewrite the book because there were so many things I didn’t even think about, like I knew I wanted it to rhyme, but I didn’t think about we have to go through this rhythmic pattern, there are all of these things that you need to go through,” she said.
For about five months, there were several brainstorming phone calls.
“It was just really interesting how over that first year in particular, the book just completely changed, and I had to keep in communication with Gustavo because the illustrations were changing,” Warren said. “It was just really interesting to finally learn about the process.”
Warren became connected to Acevedo through her mother, Jan Warren, tutoring at SHS. Jan asked art teacher Don Brown about a student taking on the illustrations as a senior project, and Acevedo agreed to do it.
“I shared the manuscript that I originally had, and then I would leave a note and say, ‘This is what I’m thinking for this illustration, but feel free to do what you think is best,’ so I gave him little tidbits and things,” Macey said.
The whole process, including working with the publisher, Redemption Press, took two years. About a month ago, Warren knew her book launch date.
She was excited to get a copy in her hands for the first time.
“When we were going through the process of ‘Can you send a copy to my house so I can see it?’ it was just kind of surreal because I was finally able to see all of that hard work put into a hard copy,” she said. “It was just really exciting and really fulfilling for me. It’s something to be proud of. It was a goal of mine, it has been a dream of mine to write a book and to finally see my name on this book, it’s really fulfilling.”
Her parents, Walt and Jan Warren, and sister, Payton Warren, are equally excited about the accomplishment.
“She was always a very creative writer. Both of our girls were, and they would always make books,” Jan said. “Any essay contest Macey would enter, she would win, so it’s kind of like, ‘You have some skills.’ She has a vivid imagination and was always really good with it.”
Despite the pandemic creating a lot of setbacks on the book, Walt said it was great to see his daughter keep pushing forward.
“It’s exciting because it has been a really long process,” he said. “We had no idea. She wrote the book so quickly and we thought, ‘OK, we’ll get it published.’ It was just change after change after change and delay after delay. I’m just glad to see it’s finally out there, and I know she has other books that she wants to do.”
Payton said she became emotional while watching her younger sister read to the St. Ambrose students.
“It’s really cool to see her blossom and grow and her fruits of her labor have turned into ‘Fruits of Our Love,’” she said.
“We’ve always known that Macey was going to do something,” Payton said. “Macey would write essays, and then in college, she would leave me little notes that were always sweet, and then I would get sent papers by people that Macey had written about me or my family. She has just always been very good at words. She has been able to move mountains with her words.”
Macey said she was fortunate to have her family on her side through it all.
“They were my No. 1 supporters through the whole process,” she said. “I’m really thankful for them. I really don’t know if I could have done it without them.”
She plans to use the proceeds from the book to fund her next book.
“I hope to keep writing,” she said. “That’s what’s next, so we’ll see. I don’t know how quickly it will be.”
At a glance
Macey Warren’s first book, “Fruit of Our Love,” is available online at amazon.com or redemptionpress.com.
Copies also may be purchased locally at the Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour.
For information about Warren, visit maceywrites.com.
Name: Macey Warren
Residence: Raleigh, North Carolina
Education: Seymour High School (2015); Purdue University (bachelor’s degree in public relations and communications, 2019)
Occupation: Public relations professional
Family: Parents, Walt and Jan Warren; sister, Payton Warren