https://ellenfannonauthor.com/Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing Ellen Fannon, a multi-published author, retired veterinarian, and former foster parent! Ellen’s here to share about her latest novel set, Honor Thy Father.
Welcome, Ellen! Please tell us about Honor Thy Father.
Honor Thy Father Episodes One and Two is the story of a family torn apart through a series of unfortunate events. The story follows each main character’s life through twenty-five years. When the patriarch of the family needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant, the family must come together and put aside misunderstandings and bitterness. It is a story of loss and redemption, and how God can turn tragedy into triumph.
That sounds touching! Why did you write this book?
Honor Thy Father Episodes One and Two has been a thirty-five- year journey, with multiple revisions through the years. I initially wrote the book because it was the kind of book I would like to read. Each character has to overcome a number of obstacles, but grows through the process. I like stories where the character overcomes obstacles and comes out stronger.
What is the primary focus of your book?
God can turn tragedy into triumph.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will, first of all, enjoy the story, which is told from the points of view of several characters. Each chapter follows one character, and the reader has to wait to find out what happens next to that character after reading about a different character (unless they cheat and skip ahead). The thread of the Gospel flows through the entire book, and I hope to reach readers who may not be Christian. Honor Thy Father incorporates the ideas of forgiveness, restoration, and salvation. It also illustrates how ideas or beliefs we have held our entire lives can be wrong. Honor Thy Father teaches there are always consequences to sin, which can affect other people, sometimes with tragic results. But ultimately, no matter how hopeless things appear, nothing is impossible with God.
A lot of factual material is presented in Honor Thy Father. For example, research and development of new drugs within the pharmaceutical industry, the medical aspect of the main character’s illness, the world of classical music and music festivals, and sailing have been thoroughly researched and written in an interesting, accurate manner. Anyone with a background or interest in these areas will enjoy the book.
It’s amazing the things authors have to (get to) research for novels! But research isn’t the only difficult thing about writing—sometimes the scenes can be difficult too. Which were the most difficult for you to write?
The scenes where tragedies occurred.
On the flip side, what’s your favorite scene in this book?
My favorite scenes are the ending scenes, but I don’t want to spoil the ending.
We thank you for that! Do you have any themes you return to again and again in your writing?
Salvation. I believe every book I write should present the plan of salvation in a non-preachy way in the hope that an unsaved person may come to know Jesus.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
I’m borrowing a line from a fellow Word Weaver in using my writing as a “paper missionary.”
I love that! And as a “paper missionary,” what would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
My ideal writing place would be my own office, where I could have everything the way I want it. My actual writing place is in my bedroom where my husband and I share the computer and I have to constantly clear his stuff out of the way. And no interruptions would be great!
Speaking of interruptions, are there any other writing challenges you wish non-writers knew about?
I wish non-writers knew how difficult writing is, not only the actual writing, but the expense, the marketing, having to have social media presence, etc. Contrary to what we see on TV with Castle and Murder She Wrote, few of us are overnight successes and independently wealthy.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am heavily involved in Operation Christmas Child, an outreach of Samaritan’s Purse that distributes simple shoebox gifts to needy children around the world in an effort to show the love of Jesus. I am also involved in Compassion, an organization in which people “adopt” a needy child and provide monetary support and encouragement. I have a passion for needy children because my husband and I spent two years on the mission field in a third world country where we saw first-hand the tremendous needs. While on the field, we worked with street children, providing them with a place to live, school, medical care, and food, while teaching them about the love of Jesus. When we returned to the states, we spent ten years as foster parents.
That’s fantastic! Now, besides writing, do you have any other talents?
I have been a church pianist/organist for the past forty years.
What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I generally read fiction. I am currently reading your book, Sarah, The Sound of Light.
Honestly, folks. This wasn’t planted. And thank you, Ellen. I love hearing about writers’ day jobs—remember, we don’t make much money writing. Ellen, please tell us about your day job and how it influences your writing?
I just retired after forty-two years as a veterinarian. I have animals in all my books, and my third novel, Don’t Bite the Doctor, is a humorous reflection of the life of a young woman veterinarian. I have also contributed to Guideposts All God’s Creatures Daily Devotions for the past several years. Each devotion features a lesson learned from an animal.
Congratulations on condensing down to only one job! Now that you have so much free time (that’s sarcasm you hear), what are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a book for Love Inspired. This is a genre completely out of my comfort zone, but I was inspired to try this deviation from my norm after taking a class by Lenora Worth at a Christian writing conference.
What a fun challenge! We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of that! Thanks for sharing with us, Ellen!
Writing for Him,
Sarah’s website: https://www.sarahsundin.com/