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Marcus and the Emperor’s Coin Interview and 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.

Interview with the Author

  1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I spent three different Novembers writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO). I did not labor alone. During these immersive experiences, I and a group of fellow writers met weekly to keep motivated and enthusiastic. Several of the manuscripts written by my fellow authors have since been published.

I have also attended a few formal Christian writers’ retreats. These pilgrimages have allowed time for faith-based reflection. I was also found time to write and interact with other writers. I came away with valuable insights about myself and my writing.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I remember a professor recommending Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo. He told me the author, Irving Stone, actually spent a day lying on his back on a scaffold to prepare to write the scenes where Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Early in my writing career, I relied on a book with a comprehensive list of name meanings. I remember wanting a name for an independent main character, so I chose the name “Indy.”  Although I never finished my story, I vividly remember within a few years seeing the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones. He was called Indy. More recently, I pick names popular during the time periods of each book. Marcus, for example, was a very popular name in ancient Rome at the time of Christ.


  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Marcus and Father go to a mint where coins are made. To prepare to write the scene when Marcus himself makes a coin, I read several books about early Roman coin production, including sections of a Ph.D. dissertation. I wanted to include as much detail as possible but not slow down the story. I created a character who explained the process in simple language to Marcus. Marcus hits his thumb, but eventually makes a coin.

  1. What is your favorite childhood book?

Image sitting on the floor in the middle of a circle of standing book pages.  Grandfather’s Farm Panorama: Ten Feet Long is a board book by Platt and Munk, Co., Inc. The view of the farm animals includes cows; a turkey; a rooster, a hen, and her chicks; ducks; rabbits and small bunnies; a nanny goat and her kid; and a mare and her foal. My parents grew up in rural Kansas, so the book allowed me to get the feel of what it was like to be on a farm. I still have the book.

  1. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

In high school, I was on the speech and debate team. My debate partner researched and wrote our debate case (a speech advocating change to improve the present system). I would have rather collaborated with my partner to get the first-hand experience of writing.

  1. What comes first, the plot or characters?

I usually start with the plot. To tell the story well, I then need to create a cast of characters. After that I write dialogue to make the story come to life and hopefully make the characters believable.

  1. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

Michelle Medlock Adams is an amazing children’s book author. She has many award-winning children’s books.

  1. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

My wife, Diane, and I have been married thirty-four years this June. In October 2019, Diane fell, had a brain bleed, and brain surgery. She now has dementia. I have been her caregiver until recently when her condition worsened. She is now living in a senior community with memory care. I see her every day. I also like to go for walks by our local lake and take part in water aerobics.

  1. If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

I would invite Jesus Christ. I would prepare tilapia, cooked with lemon and butter, fresh bread, salad, and ice cream (His choice of flavors).

Blog Stops

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Vicky Sluiter, May 10

Texas Book-aholic, May 11

Beauty in the Binding, May 12 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

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.