I’m happy to introduce Ellen Fannon as my guest today on Jubilee Writer. She is an author who fits my description of a Jubilee Writer. I hope you are encouraged by her story.
My writing journey has been long. I have always had an interest in writing, although life got in the way and my writing was put on hold for a long time. About forty years ago, I wrote my first novel, sent it to every publisher I could find and was summarily rejected by each one. So I put it aside. Then, in 1993, I developed the idea for a pet care column for our local newspaper, The Northwest Florida Daily News, which I pitched to the editor. He liked the idea, and I wrote the column, Pet Peeves, for six years before taking an oversea assignment with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. While on the field, among other things, I wrote news releases and newsletters. About five years ago, I pulled out my novel, completely revised it into a Christian novel, and attempted to get it published again, and again, with no success. Meanwhile, I was starting on my second novel, Other People’s Children. Then four years ago, I attended a writer’s conference in Blue Lake, Alabama. At that conference, I learned so much about writing, publishing, and marketing. I also met James Watkins (an editor and editorial director, author, and writing teacher) who was the first person to give me encouragement on my second novel. I sent it to every Christian publisher I could find, and finally, eLectio, a small traditional publisher offered me a contract. I also learned about Word Weavers from Eva Marie Everson and became a member of the Destin Word Weavers group. From that group, I learned even more, including writing opportunities. Since then I have been published in One Christian Voice, Divine Moments, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and contracted for a series of ten devotionals for the fall Open Windows 2020. I have also won two writing awards.
My latest published project was in Divine Moments, Remembering Christmas, which came out in November.
Ellen, tell us about your novel.
Other People’s Children is based largely (although highly fictionalized) on my husband’s and my ten years’ experience as foster parents. My research was living the experience. Lol.
Several things inspired me to write Other People’s Children. First, I felt it was a timely book with a story which needed to be told. With a child entering foster care every 120 seconds in this country, the numbers of children in the system just keep growing. This is largely due to an increase in substance abuse by parents. Sadly, as the number of children in foster care grows, the number of available foster homes is decreasing. I highly recommend that anyone considering becoming foster parents read this book.
Second, I have not seen another book written from the perspective of a foster parent. Most books, movies, etc. portray foster parents in a negative light, which gives those who are truly trying to make a difference in a child’s life a bad name.
Third, I wrote it for entertainment. Other People’s Children is the humorous look at a very imperfect woman whose concepts of how things should be and how things actually often collide.
Fourth, I wrote it to present Christ. Although not “preachy,” I wanted the message to come across that the main character, although often falling short, tries her best to be a good Christian wife and mother, who will not compromise her beliefs for anything, including political correctness.
What a great concept and so relevant. When did you feel called to write?
I guess my calling came quite early, although I didn’t realize it. From the age of three, I drew pictures and “told myself the story” aloud (since I didn’t know how to write) as I went along. At the age of six, I wrote a book about John Glenn’s first space flight. I was always making up stories throughout school, and in high school, I was the editor of the yearbook and the literary magazine.
Definitely have the writing gene. What verse inspires you?
I have so many favorite verses it is impossible to pick one. But I especially like Rev. 7:9 “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne . . .” There is nothing more beautiful to me than to hear someone praising God in another language; and to know that people from all over the world are my brothers and sisters and will be in Heaven all together is beyond imaginable.
Thanks for sharing that. I love to ask my guests what they would tell their younger writing self.
Wow, that’s hard. I suppose I would tell myself to start taking my writing seriously, earlier. It is much easier to get published if you are already published, which makes breaking into the writing arena a vicious cycle. If I already had an established name as a writer, I wouldn’t be working so hard in my old age! But I had other priorities when I was younger, so I don’t know that I would have had the time.
God had his perfect timing for you. Still like the idea of not putting it off as advice for young writers.
Who is your best writing support?
My Destin Word Weavers group is my best support system. These amazing people give me encouragement, honest critique, and a fount of helpful information. Moreover, in a field where competitiveness is the norm, this group of people is always willing to celebrate every individual’s victory or commiserate each person’s struggles, whether they be professional or personal. I have learned so much from these talented, godly people, and not just about writing. Every time I am with this group I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I read a lot of contemporary fiction. My favorite is light, clean humor, like Kristen Billerbeck’s novels. But I also love medical and legal thrillers, suspense, and just about anything with a good story.
Where’s your favorite place to write?
My favorite (only) place to write is at my computer in my bedroom.
Back Cover of her five-star review novel: Other People’s Children
A journey about becoming the mother to more than forty children!
As a mid-thirties childless woman, Robin has all the answers on proper parenting. It doesn’t take long, however, for Robin to realize that her perfect parenting ideas and reality often collide – the result being an amusing journey of finding out that God, indeed, has a sense of humor. As she deals with the baggage, idiosyncrasies, unique personalities, and special gifts of each child that crosses her path, she finds that there is no “one-size fits all” to parenting. However, in spite of the challenges she and her husband face, they are determined to become the children’s strongest advocates in a flawed system that often fails the very victims it is designed to protect. The journey is often heartbreaking and frustrating, but these foster parents are firmly resolved that for whatever time they have children in their care, the children will know they are safe, protected, and loved by God, as well as by their foster parents.
More about Ellen Fannon
Award-winning author, Ellen Fannon, is a practicing veterinarian, former missionary, and church pianist/organist. She originated and wrote the Pet Peeves column for the Northwest Florida Daily News before taking a two-year assignment with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. She and her husband have also been foster parents to more than 40 children, and the adoptive parents of two sons. Her first novel, Other People’s Children, the humorous account of the life of a foster parent, was released November 2017and is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the trunk of her car. She lives in Valparaiso with her husband, son, and assorted pets.
Please visit my website and sign up to follow my blog at: ellenfannonauthor.com/
The Northwest Florida Daily News, nwfdailynews.com also posts my additional blogs online. Please follow them there.
Other People’s Children can be ordered on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Other-Peoples-Children-Ellen-Fannon/dp/1632134462.