Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin Author Interview & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin

Author: Dennis Conrad

Genre: Christian Children’s Picture Book

Release date: October 30, 2023

Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin is an exciting adventure in the Ancient Roman Empire at the time of Christ. Eight-year-old Marcus and his father are on a mission for the Emperor and visit a mine and a mint where coins are made. Marcus himself makes a denarius, a coin with the emperor’s image.

Marcus goes to Jerusalem where he sees Jesus hold a denarius saying, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” What will seeing Jesus mean for Marcus, and will he ever be the same again?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

A former coin collector for over fifty years, Dennis combines his love for the Bible, children’s literature, and sharing stories about the history behind coins.

Dennis retired as a professor of speech communications from Barstow Community College. He and his wife served as English and public speaking teachers ten summers overseas.

Dennis became a sustaining member of the Numismatic Association of Southern California in 1979. He is also a life member of the American Numismatic Association.

Dennis is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a Fellow of the National Writing Project.

More from Dennis

How to Turn a Penny into a Teachable Moment

Dennis Conrad

Connect with your child or grandchild by starting a coin collection.

Start with the penny, also known as the Lincoln Head Cent. The coins were first minted in 1909 because it was the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

Use the coin to help your child make the connections with who Lincoln was, what he did, and when he lived. Reasons why Abraham Lincoln is featured on a coin include the following:

  1. Lincoln is often at the top of the list of America’s greatest presidents.
  2. He helped to preserve the Union during the American Civil War.
  3. His Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves.
  4. The Gettysburg Address ranks as one of the best speeches of all time.

Now, Look On the Back (the Reverse)

Go through change to find the different images on the backs of pennies.

There are wheat ears (1909-1958) and the Lincoln Memorial (1959-2008).

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, the U.S. Mint issued coins with four different images on the back. The Lincoln Bicentennial (2009) coins include a log cabin, Lincoln sitting on a log, Lincoln standing in front of the state capitol of Illinois, and an unfinished U.S. Capitol Building (the way it was when he was president.) For the past several years, there has is a shield on the back representing the preserved union (2010-Present).

Add one of each reverse to the child’s collection.

Don’t forget to mention the words, the date, and the mintmark.

The words include “One Cent,” “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” “The United States of America,” and “E Pluribus Unum” which means “Out of many, one.”

Also, look for and find the year minted and the mintmark.

Find and add a coin from the child’s birth year to the child’s collection.

Look at the mintmark. It is a letter on the front of the coin under the date. The “D” is for Denver, the “S” for San Francisco, and the absence of a mintmark means the coin was minted in Philadelphia.

Add coins with the different mintmarks to the child’s collection.

Keep the collection safe in a small box or a Ziploc bag. Have fun. Add to the collection as time goes by.

Free Resources

Want to encourage the child in your life to learn more about coins? Sign up at so your child can become a Junior Coin Collector. Receive free, monthly activity sheets like a crossword puzzle. There is a Coin Hunt section where children can search for and find coins in change for their collection, and a Vocabulary Builder section with coin collecting terms.

Author Interview

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Professional coin collectors, called numismatists, have studied and written extensively about ancient coins. I was surprised to discover so many credible resources about ancient Roman coins and their mints.

  • Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Several people I did not know joined my book launch team. The unsolicited feedback I received was very positive. Many commented on the illustrations. Several loved the ending.

Also, I submitted Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin to a contest. I must have found favor with the judges because the book won Carolina Christian Writers Conference, First Place Children’s Book Category, Kudos Awards.

  • How do you overcome writer’s block? Do you have any advice for others in finding their process to overcome it?

Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the Left Behind Series and has sold over 60 million books, does not believe in writer’s block. He says no other profession tolerates the excuse of saying I am having worker’s block. This being said, here is the advice I would give for those who are struggling:

  • Build in time for procrastination. Know that your mind is subconsciously working to solve problems with your story, nonfiction article, or book.
  • Join a critique group. Friends are often biased and will say they like anything you write. Find others who will tell you the truth about your writing, so you can improve.
  • Get a good editor. After finishing an article or book, it takes a professional to get a manuscript ready for publication. Even the best writers work closely with their editors in order to rise to a professional standard of excellence.
  • When I am up against a deadline, I have to stay focused and write. Believe me, I don’t always produce my best writing all the time, but I have learned to invest the time, remain professional, and know that sticky plot points, character dialogue, and cliffhangers will come into focus if I keep writing and don’t give up.
  • Do you read the genre you write? Why or why not?

Absolutely! I just finished reading several children’s and young adult books set in 300-325 A.D. for my next book. For example, I read nonfiction accounts about Constantine the Great and what life was like in ancient Rome. I also read a story written for middle graders about a boy living during this time.

  • How did you come up with the title for your book?

Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin in named after my main character and his interactions with different coins with the emperor’s image.

  • What’s your favorite writing snack, drink, and/or music?

I like to visit a local restaurant or coffee shop to write. Many of my early drafts are written on a yellow legal pad. I enjoy sweet tea at McDonalds and Chick-fil-A. My coffee drink of choice is a decaf café latte.

I often work in my home office without music. When I want something playing in the background to inspire me, I listen to “In the Father’s Presence, Great God,” a CD by Campus Crusade for Christ.

  • What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Over the years, I have been given a lot of advice. These three work together:

“If you want to be an author, you have to write.”

“Learn the craft of writing by studying books about craft and reading in your genre.”

“Think deeply: Know why you write, and you will have a better chance of persisting in the face of setbacks and disappointment.”

  • Do you participate in writing challenges on social media? Why or why not?

In a way, yes. November is National Novel Writing Month (better known as NANOWRIMO). I have taken part for three different years in this writing challenge to write a book in a month. Each time, I reached my goal of writing 50,000 words for the month (just over 1,660 words a day). Interested? There are online and in-person support groups to keep you working toward your goal.

  • How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

My first book, The Two-Cent Piece, is about the first coins with the words “In God We Trust” minted in 1864. I realized my weakness. Telling my story was insufficient. I learned to show what was happening through active verbs, dialogue, and by removing dialogue tags. All of these kept my readers engaged and wanting more.

  • Is your writing space pristine or organized chaos?

My desk’s organization ebbs and flows. Right now, the area below my computer screen is organized chaos. From where I sit, I can see my open calendar, a copy of Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin, and a list of contests I need to enter later tonight.  Not long ago, the area was free of clutter. On the bright side, just reading this question motivates me to get the area organized.

  • Do you have any resources readers would find helpful?

Readers can visit

Children can become Junior Coin Collectors and get free Activity Sheets (like a crossword puzzle) each month. There is also a “Coin Hunt” section that encourages young people to search for and find coins in change, and a “Vocabulary Builder” that teaches words related to coin collecting.

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Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 14

Hannahbandanarama, May 15

Guild Master, May 16 (Author Interview)

Lights in a Dark World, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 19 (Author Interview)

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 20

Labor Not in Vain, May 21


To celebrate his tour, Dennis is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon gift card and a signed hardback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.