Greetings from Marti Pieper in Seneca, South Carolina, where we’re enjoying the gorgeous colors of fall. And I know you’ll enjoy today’s interview with author PeggySue Wells, who has an intriguing new book I’ve already heard a lot about. I haven’t yet met her in person, but her co-author, Pam Farrel (also a CAN member!), is a dear friend to both of us, so I’m counting PeggySue as a new friend, too!
Welcome to the CAN blog, PeggySue. Would you please tell us about your book?
No matter how you became a single mom, you can parent with courage, confidence, clarity. With humor and sage advice, Pam Farrel (child of a single mother) and PeggySue Wells (single parent of seven) show you how to:
—create a nurturing home
—embrace your happily-ever-after
What inspired you to write this book?
One in four homes is single-parent led. Pam Farrel and I come alongside these solo parents and their families to remind these precious ones they are not alone, and they are valued and beloved by God. We assure them they can be successful.
And how has God used the message of your book in your own life?
I fought doing this project because I don’t want single mom to be my identity. Several people reminded me that being a solo parent for twenty years gave me a lot of experience that could prove useful to others beginning the journey. The process of writing The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make showed me that single is a relationship status, and that can change. Mom is a season of life, yet that connection with our children is sacred.
Writing with Pam Farrel was an unparalleled privilege. As a co-author, Pam is highly experienced, loves the Lord, and is the epitome of a cheerleader. For our readers, Pam and Bill Farrel are hope personified, because they have nurtured a bonded marriage and strong family. Pam’s mom was a single parent, and Pam’s life shines as an example that single mom is an experience and a building block, not an address.
I love the way you describe both aspects: relationship statues and season (and of course I agree about Pam). What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Hope and love are the themes I return to again and again. My faith impacts my writing; I could not separate the two. Through the craft of writing, I explore the tenets of belief and discover more about God.
Amen! Now, what would be your ideal writing place? And … what’s your actual writing place like?
When the children were young, after homeschooling, I wrote in the middle of the busiest area of the house surrounded by the comforting sounds of family and life fully lived. I took my laptop (MacBeth) to the stands at horseshows, the sidelines during soccer practice, while sitting through orchestra practice. Once, I took a college writing course, and the question on a test was, “What is the one thing every writer must have for success?”
I quickly wrote, “Passion.”
The question came back marked wrong. After class I asked the professor about the correct answer.
“Solitude,” he replied. “Every writer must have solitude.”
I snorted. As the mom of seven children on a small ranch in the country, if I waited for solitude, I’d never write. My kids gave me a keyboard protector because I have the most dust-covered computer on the planet—have laptop, will travel and write anywhere. Now that the children are grown, occasionally I take MacBeth to busy hubs like noisy restaurants and write amidst the beautiful noise.
Currently, I rise early, journal, read Scripture, pray, read for 30 minutes and write for 90 minutes. Next, I work on business items, then write and work until dinner. Exercise in the evening and write before going to sleep.
I was a homeschooling mom for 21 years (although of only five children) and the “solitude” thing makes me laugh as well. So why do you love writing?
I love writing because I can’t do math. Writing is the one thing I want to do all the time. It is what I do for work and for fun. I’m thankful for the friendships I have with people I admire. Teaching others to write, bringing someone’s message to the world, and creating works that will outlive me are great joys. What freedom to be able to write/work anywhere and that all experiences, observations, and travel are material for my writing. My heart is full to see two of my children thriving as professional writers. Though my adult children live in different states, they started a book club where we read books together and talk about what we read over a soul-nourishing Zoom call.
I love it (and I also hate math). And when did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
In college, I blew out my knees as a dancer and shifted to the other subject that made my eyes light up—journalism. After being the editor of the college newspaper and magazine, I went to work as a news reporter and magazine editor. While raising my children, I wrote freelance, and my first book was published in 1995. Presently I have 29 published titles, and many books I ghosted. Most of those are traditionally published.
What an interesting career! And why do you write Christian living books?
I’m a generalist, which means I’m not niche enough to be well known, but I can write pretty much anything. I won’t write horror because it’s too scary for me, or erotica because I won’t write something I would be embarrassed to have my kids or grands read. Writing permits me to possibly be the wind under the wings of another who is weary, disheartened, and disillusioned. I enjoy both the challenges and victories of the craft because it satisfies my spirit. I write because writing is an essential. Through writing I give voice to others, champion integrity, bring humor, entertain, and share stories. For the one in four homes currently single-parent led, my hope is that The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make will serve as tangible tips and practical hope to help their families succeed.
That sounds like a great prayer as well. So what is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Excellent authors make writing look easy. Non-writers are surprised to learn that this is a craft to continually practice and become better. Also, that the industry has trends just like fashion and that authors must keep up to date on what is in and what is not.
So true! Tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.
The first day of a writers conference, two of my daughters and I crowded onto the elevator with several other conferees making their way to the morning session. Fifteen-year-old Holly and seventeen-year-old Leilani were the only teen attendees that year.
“I just love to see expiring new writers,” spoke up an elderly lady. She nodded and smiled at my daughters. Of course she meant to say aspiring. Not expiring.
Holly smiled back, and without missing a beat, quickly replied, “You must mean my mom.”
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I would write the novels that have been in my brain for thirty years immediately, rather than putting them off while chasing projects that “paid.” Imagine where I’d be now as an author if I’d not been hesitant or afraid?!
Now, as they say, you’ve quit preaching and gone to meddling! What do you read for pleasure? And what are you reading right now?
I just finished Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. My all-time favorite authors include John Erickson (Hank the Cowdog is brilliant), Clive Cussler, Jan Karon, and Richard Paul Evans who just released his 41st New York Times bestseller and kindly endorsed my three most recent titles, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make.
Impressive! Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Because I have kids, I’ve had pets including Nubian goats, pigs, and a pet goose stolen from the zoo. (That’s a great story.) Presently, Classie and Carly are our paint horses. My daughter rodeos, so I’ve regularly trailered horses across the nation including yearly to the World Barrel Racing Competition. Whiskey is our golden retriever, whose name is fodder for misunderstanding. Twix is our calico cat because cats have valuable skills for those living in the country. If your dog or horse doesn’t like someone, pay attention. Dogs and horses don’t lie.
What ministry are you involved with?
I’m launching a resource-rich website community titled Single Mom Circle as a companion to The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make.
Sounds great! What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
A history buff, I want to know what people did and why. I explore tropical islands, parasail, skydive, snorkel, scuba, garden around my heavily wooded property and have taken but not passed pilot training (because of the math). Every place I explore, experience I have, fascinating facts I learn make my writing richer and multi-dimensional. Israel became a major part of The Patent and several other titles after I traveled there. St. Croix with its mile-deep underwater wall, poisonous manchineel trees, and Mocko Jumbies is the setting for Chasing Sunrise. Learning that human trafficking enslaves more people today than when slavery was legal in the United States was a sad shock when I wrote The Slave Across the Street and Slavery in the Land of the Free.
You’re an amazing woman. Now, please tell us about your next project.
In The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, I wrote about improving any relationship immediately by avoiding the 5 Rs. This chapter, possibly more than any other, resonates with everyone who hears the concept. Those steps for improving relationships are worth the price of the book. I’m writing a book expanding on avoiding the 5 Rs: rejection, resentment, resistance, revenge, repeat. Additionally, I’m halfway through the sequel to The Patent, titled The Embolus, and nearly complete with a deep and funny novel about a single mom tentatively titled Choice. Look for The Patent and Choice as serial reads on the website, Single Mom Circle.
Thanks so much, PeggySue, for sharing your passion for words and especially for single moms. Blessings as you pursue God’s next steps!
To learn more about PeggySue Wells, connect with her on PeggySue’s website.
For His Glory,