Monday, July 23, 2012

Debut Author, Paula Mowery, on Getting it Written Despite Life

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and homeschool mom. She's always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing nonfiction, creating Bible studies. She crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut novella is published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER. 

Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on

Writing is a journey. How did your journey to publication begin? 

I have always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. My mother worked for a Christian bookstore keeping me in fresh supply of books to read as well as blank journals to write in. I became an English teacher and always saw it as my personal goal each year to get my students into reading and writing – not seeing it as a chore. When I quit teaching in public school to focus on homeschooling my daughter, I continued to write “on the side.” I began to allow some friends to read my stories. One in particular said: “Why don’t you try to get published?” I didn’t really have an answer except for: Why didn’t I? I began to seek out courses and joined ACFW. I’ve learned so much from all of the wonderful Christian authors I had the privilege to interact with online. Every time I finished a book, God would push me on to another one until I had over 15 manuscripts stacked under my desk.  

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey? 

Two summers ago I decided to put out my fleece to God. I prayed asking Him to give me a sign as to whether I was to try to publish my stories or if they were only for private use. The next morning I got an email from a national magazine accepting an article I had submitted. I felt like God was saying: “Yes, I want you to pursue publishing your stories because I gave them to you.” So, I prepared THE BLESSING SEER for submission and as my finger hovered over the send button, I prayed: “Lord, if this is where you want this story, let it touch someone there.” I received an email back from the editor and the first line of the email said: “I was so touched by this story.” I smiled at God. 

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities? 

I’m a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. I also often provide childcare in my home for babies and toddlers from our church whose parents must both work. I’m like any other Mom – it’s a balancing act. I’ve been known to write a scene in a spiral notebook while stirring supper on the stove. You’ll normally find me toting my latest writing project around in my backpack so I can write in the car. The key for me at this stage in life is to take advantage of every snippet of time. It is a challenge when I’m itching to write and can’t stop to do it. I do get frustrated with that situation sometimes. Normally, I’ll jot down some notes so I don’t forget.
How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling? 

In my case this writing thing is a calling from God. It’s amazing to me how I can write out a scene and look back and think: “How did that spiritual truth get in there?” I tend to write with lots of emotion and faith mixed in. This comes naturally I think from all of my experiences being a pastor’s wife. The point of everything I write is to touch the reader in some way for Christ either toward a relationship with Him or encouraging a deeper bond with Him. 

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

As already mentioned, I’ve been told that my stories are emotion-packed. I draw from the church members we have been able to walk with and through crisis and joy. I draw from those emotions to make my characters real. 

Finish this sentence. The best piece of advice I can give to a new author is. . .

Hone your craft by joining a writing group and taking a course. 

Cubby Hole, corner of the couch, or office, where do you write?

I do finally have my little corner with my small student desk, but I have writing notebooks, will travel. My dream would be an L-shaped desk where I could have the computer on one area and a writing surface on the other. Maybe someday.
What writing tool, (Flip Dictionary, workshop, index cards, etc.), have you found to enrich your writing?

I always have a dictionary on hand. But, I’m very old-school in that I write first drafts in spiral notebooks with a pencil. When I transfer the stories to the computer, I then print out the pages and put them in a three-ring notebook where I begin revisions. 
What’s next for you?

I am working on two projects with two groups of authors that I am very excited about. These will be a collection of novellas with similar themes. I also am working to revise those other 15 manuscripts that God had me to stack under my desk. You might see a sequel to THE BLESSING SEER. 

Any parting words? 

I so appreciate the opportunity to appear on Novel Rocket. This blog has been the greatest classroom for me. I never miss it. So much good information for writers at every stage. 

The Blessing Seer

When God sends Addy a special messenger who challenges her to step from her comfort zone, she isn’t sure she’s up to the job. She feels inadequate to take on the task of encouraging others, and when she starts seeing visions, she worries she’s losing her mind.
Yet, Addy wants only to be used by God, even if that means seeing visions and risking relationship with family and friends. By stepping out on a limb, can Addy really accomplish something significant for God? What affect will her surrender to His will have on those around her? And, what affect will it have on her own life?

Published by Pelican Book Group – Harbourlight Imprint


MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

It's so good to meet you, Paula, and to read your post on Novel Rocket. Congratulations on your debut novella. I look forward to reading it.

I too am a debut author with Harbourlight Books of the Pelican Book Group. So we are colleagues in that sense as well. :) Best of all, we are sisters in Jesus Christ! Glory to Him for His goodness toward you!


MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Harbourlight Books-December 2012

Ane Mulligan said...

Congratulations, Paula. This sounds a book I need to add to my TBR pile. :)

Gina Holmes said...

Paula, thanks for being with us. Love your can-do, no excuse spirit. I've had seasons of my life like that too and they reaped the biggest rewards. Being faithful with a little (time?), gives us more in the future I think. Congratulations!

Paula Mowery said...

Thanks, MaryAnn. Happy to "meet" another member of the PBG family.

Hey Ane! Let me know what you think. Reviewers have found it different yet a boost to their faith - how can I ask for more than that?

Hi Gina! You're exactly right - I think sometimes the pressure brings out some of my best work. When I have the time, I end up forcing it. Thanks for the opportunity.

Brooksie said...

Paula is an awesome lady and I am so thankful that God lead us to be friends. Her book "The Blessed Seer" is also awesome. It made me do some soul searching myself. She truly has a heart for doing God's work.