Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing multi-published author and popular speaker Pam Farrel! With fifty-five books under her belt, Pam has lots of interesting stories to share with us today—and a fascinating new book.
Welcome Pam! Please tell us about your book, Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience.
Take a journey to discover all God has planned since before the foundation of the earth. You’ll never grow tired of studying Scripture with this innovative and immersive Bible study experience. Through compelling instruction, creative activities and motivational devotions, it reveals God’s redemptive plan from the beginning of creation into life today.
What a great concept! What inspired you to write this book?
Discovering Jesus in the Old Testamentwas birthed from the desire of all three of us co-authors, editors and the Harvest House team, to create a book to really help readers gain a solid theological foundation, a renewed relationship with Jesus and an appreciation of the Old Testament and its power and ability to speak practical wisdom and insight into our lives today. All the Discovering the Bible series have a goal to equip readers to read, study, understand, and apply God’s truths to their own lives. We also added in creative and devotional elements so readers look forward to time spent with God by engaging with the Word and with God in a personal and profound way.
That sound like a wonderful combination. What was it like to write this book? Any surprises?
This is our third Bible study in the series, and three of us team to create it: Jean E. Jones does the deep dive into the scripture; Karla Dornacher is the artist and she teaches readers to express their own creativity, and I add in the devotional and practical, “apply-this-to-your-life-TODAY” element and I also serve as the marketing director. Being a team project, I am continually delighted by how God uses project after project to deepen each of our own walks—and also our friendships. We each have very unique gifts and personalities, and because we completely trust each other and appreciate each of our unique distinctives, talents and strengths, we are becoming a well-oiled machine. Harvest House has also given us a fabulous editor in Hope Lyda, who is also a best-selling author in her own right.
The other surprise is how Jean took a full wall of color-coded sticky notes and turned it into a story board that tracks all the main eras of the Bible: Genesis, Moses, Abraham, David, Major Prophets, and Christ. The sheer volume of material would have overwhelmed most authors but Jean has an AMAZING mind when it comes to the Bible! And Karla continues to create one amazing illustration after another for every chapter we tackle. It is a delight to be surprised in delightful ways by your talented co-authors.
It sounds like an amazing team. Has God used the message of your book in your own life?
One of my devotionals highlights Jesus as our Emmanual, “God with us” and I draw from the names of the Messiah shared in Isaiah 9:6: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The study was released just before Covid, so in preparation for teaching the study, I always DO the study complete with all the coloring pages and Creative Bible Art. Like many authors and speakers at the onset of the pandemic, in two days, two years of my speaking was cancelled or postponed yet I didn’t panic because I have a history with Christ and His miraculous provision, but also this study was like a personal Divine hand of comfort on my shoulder as we navigated the challenges and created a “pandemic pivot” in our life, marriage and ministry.
I love that! What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
This is a very fun question to answer because what I THINK should be the best or favorite place to write and what is REALLY where I produce the most writing are very different. When I first began my book writing life, I pictured traveling to beautiful and exotic places and being inspired by scenic vistas and comfortable lodging.
In reality, most of my books have been written from 9 pm-midnight while my children slept and my busy husband (who most of our marriage was also a pastor) was either writing too or shepherding his flock. For many years, I had an office in the garage! As the children launched, we did move to a larger home and for several years, I had a beautiful and large office with an expansive desk, but we were so busy traveling to speak during those years that some of my best writing was done from an airplane seat!
Then we downsized and sold our home and moved on to a live-aboard boat where the views were grand, but the vessel was always moving and swaying with the lapping of the water. In the pandemic, Bill’s 90-year-old parents needed safe and reliable care, so we moved inland to help them and we currently live in a 300 square foot RV so we can be near to help them!
In my book Get It Done, Girl: Maximize Your Moments Action Planner, I encourage people to do a self-study on what boosts their productivity. I write best if it is 66-70 degrees in temperature, and I have plenty of protein and caffeine in me, with instrumental praise music playing in the background, and with my feet higher than my waist! My sweet husband bought a recliner off Craig’s List (one for the boat and he picked up a free one for the RV), so in my tiny house, I write with my feet up. We also set up an outside office under the shade of a tree and I enjoy writing from nature!
A true love of writing must drive you, right? So why do you love writing?
I am addicted to changed lives!
Books have encouraged, equipped, educated and inspired me—and I love to see how God can use the words He gives through my mind and fingers to positively impact and influence others.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
I come from a dysfunctional home where domestic violence was common due to my father’s drinking. The library was a place of peace and solace. In addition, I would check out the maximum number of books, then one at a time, I would take a book up a tree to spend the afternoon reading, or I would spread out a blanket in a pasture on my family farm and spend the days writing. By grade two, I had penned my first picture book, The Tale of Princess Pam.
In high school and college, I served on my school’s newspaper staff and I discovered I loved telling other people’s stories, especially stories of overcoming obstacles and true tales of God-inspired and empowered victories over hardships.
During college, I rededicated my life to Christ and felt a call into full-time ministry. I first thought that it might include a career as a TV journalist, but I had a very bad case of acne. (I joke that I have the perfect face for radio). God used what could be seen as a failing or weakness to direct my path to the written word. Eventually, God healed my skin and He also moved me into speaking and media opportunities—but from a strong and powerful foundation in the Word of God and writing skills to share His message of hope, help and healing.
I love how God works! Now, what is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
It might interest readers to know that God can empower ANYONE to write. I am ADD/ADHD so writing to me is a miracle of God each time I sit down. For me, writing is a bit like strapping myself into a jet pilot’s seat and HE makes the words fly! I have written 55 books, so each is a sacrifice of love on my part and a miracle on God’s part!
Tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.
One fun experience that repeats over and over is we get baby pictures and thank you notes from the readers of our book, Red Hot Monogamy!(Reproduction of children is a great outcome from that book about God’s view on intimacy!)
Your writing is definitely leaving a . . . legacy! With all you’ve done, do you have an unfulfilled dream?
Yes, before I enter heaven, I want to write an epic children’s picture book with an “I love you” or “bedtime” theme. I started by writing for children and I may end my career in the future writing for children.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
During the years that our three sons were in high school and college, my plate was very full: pastor’s wife, women’s ministry director, community leader, mom of three multi-sport athletes, and I wrote two to three books a year (or co-authored them). I spent way too much time in the seated position so I put on extra weight and in my early 40s discovered I had health issues I needed to address. I joined First Place 4 Health ministry and over the course of a year, I lost 50 pounds! God has helped me go on to lose a total of 70 pounds and I have kept it off for more than a decade. (I like to say I lost the equivalent of a fourth-grader!) First Place 4 Health is a Biblical wellness program and the leaders have reached out to many authors and speakers and have kept many alive to write more books! I am so grateful that I have been a virtual leader of a First Place 4 Health wellness small group for almost a decade now.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I am an active woman. I bike, hike, dance, swim, paddle board, kayak, do HIIT workouts and enjoy stretching at sunset on the bow of my boat.
And still you make time to write! So what’s next for you? Please tell us about your next project.
I always have many plates spinning! I am working on a children’s book inspired by my granddaughter, a marriage book co-authored with my husband, Bill, and our next in the creative Discovering the Bible series: Discovering Good News in John is due to release in 2022.