Check out the interview with Joe Moreland, the Page Turner Winner, here.

Nola Passmore is an Aussie writer and encourager who has had more than 150 things published – and now, her historical novel in progress, Shattered, was chosen as Page Turner Fiction Runner Up. Read on to learn more about Nola, her work in progress, and her passions.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on being the fiction runner up in the Page Turner contest! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

NOLA PASSMORE: Thank you, Joanne. It was a wonderful surprise. Due to the time difference in Australia, I somehow got the days confused and didn’t realize the announcement had been made. I logged on to my computer that afternoon, and saw that I had emails and Facebook messages congratulating me.  I was thrilled to find I was one of the runners-up. It’s still sinking in.

JOANNE: So cool :D. When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

NOLA: I’ve been a creative person ever since I was a preschooler, with my first love being music. I didn’t write my first short story until sixth grade, but it was a 700-word blockbuster. The Crook Caper ended with the classic line, ‘But what was in the package? I guess we’ll never know.’ Not exactly a satisfying conclusion for readers, but it was action-packed and had the word ‘suddenly’ in almost every paragraph. Now I think of it, maybe that should have been my Page Turner entry!

AfNola, A Christian free to use article writerter leaving school I wrote a lot of songs and poetry, but didn’t return to fiction until I did some graduate work in creative writing in my 40s. I suddenly (that word again) discovered I had a lot of ideas in me just waiting to burst out. I’ve had ten short stories published, I’m currently working on two novels, and I have ideas for at least two more.

JOANNE: I love that you have so much you are working on writing-wise. Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else?

NOLA: I’d love it to be my career. I was a university academic for twenty-five years, but left that job at the end of 2013 so I could concentrate more on my creative pursuits. My husband and I are semi-retired and run a freelance writing and editing business from home, called The Write Flourish, but I would love the writing to take over.

JOANNE: Share a bit about Scattered. Where did you get the idea for it? What is the genre? What is the story about? How far along in it are you?

NOLA: Scattered is inspirational historical fiction, with mystery and romance elements, and I’ve finished about 90% of the first draft. I got the idea after holidaying in eastern Canada in 2012. While visiting Avonlea Village on Prince Edward Island, I saw a memorial to a man named John Willoughby who had helped reunite the descendants of Home Children with their families. The Home Children were child migrants sent from England to Canada in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Then when we were in Halifax, we learned that Sable Island was known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic because there had been more than 500 shipwrecks there. The colony of wild horses on the island also fascinated me.

When I returned to Australia, I decided to combine all of those elements into a story. My heroine, 19-year-old Maggie, sets out for Halifax in 1882 to find her young brother and sister who were mistakenly sent to Canada as Home Children while she was working abroad. She’s shipwrecked on Sable Island and forms a unique relationship with one of the wild horses. By the time she arrives in Halifax, the trail has gone cold, and her faith is tested as she battles a ruthless industrialist intent on keeping her family apart. There are a few twists and turns, some mysteries to solve, and a love interest in the form of dashing newspaper reporter Nash Halliwell who helps Maggie in her quest.  Throughout the writing process, God has dropped little seeds of ideas into my mind about the plot and characters. I’ll credit all the good bits to him and I’ll take responsibility for the hundreds of things I have to fix.

JOANNE: Sounds fascinating – I love how you weave all the different elements together into one story. How did you find FaithWriters and what made you stick around?

NOLA: I first heard about FaithWriters through Deb Porter. We met at a Christian writers’ conference, and our paths kept crossing because we’re also members of a few other online Christian writers groups in Australia (i.e. Omega Writers, Christian Writers Downunder, and Australasian Christian Writers). I’ve been a member of FaithWriters for a few years, and have entered the Writing Challenge. I’m hoping to be more involved in the coming year, as I think it’s a great way to interact with other Christian writers, showcase your work, and give and receive feedback.

JOANNE: Deb is great, isn’t she? What kinds of books or genres do you prefer to read and/or write?

NOLA: My reading and writing tastes are fairly eclectic. Although Scattered is historical fiction, I’ve recently had two science-fiction stories published. I also write contemporary fiction, creative nonfiction, devotions, poetry and songs. My published work ranges from serious pieces on topics like prejudice, grief and the plight of refugees to quirky poems like Sanguine Penguin and Big Top Pomeranians.  Something for everyone! The variety helps keep me motivated. My favourite genre to read is mystery/suspense, with a dash of romance. I also love humour, quirky characters, and the occasional sci-fi/fantasy story.

JOANNE: Diverse indeed! Tell us about your family.

NOLA: I’ve been married to my wonderful husband Tim for nineteen years. We met at the Christian staff group at the university where we both worked. We live in Toowoomba, which is a large regional town situated on an escarpment in southeast Queensland, Australia. We share our lives with our beautiful fur kids – Holly and Molly the cavoodles.

JOANNE: What are your other passions besides writing?

NOLA: I love teaching and mentoring people in their own writing. Many years ago, I felt God saying that he wanted me to write, but that I was also to encourage others to write. I’ve tried to make that my aim, though my writing group might tell you that I have a ‘nagging’ ministry at times rather than one of encouragement. I’m also passionate about children’s literacy, and I volunteer with an organization that helps foster children with their reading and other learning activities. When I’m not writing, I love walking, swimming, cycling, playing the guitar, watching Canadian sci-fi, playing with my dogs, and deluding myself that I will one day have the time and talent to upcycle furniture.

JOANNE: Sounds like a full, rewarding life J Where can people find you online?

NOLA: I have a regular writing-tips blog on our website (www.thewriteflourish.com.au). You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheWriteFlourish) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NolaPassmore).

JOANNE: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

NOLA: I’d love to congratulate the winner, Joe Moreland, and the nonfiction runner-up, Phillip Cimei. I’d also like to thank the fabulous Deb Porter and the other judges for giving me this opportunity. I truly appreciate everything you’ve done.  Finally, I’d like to encourage other writers. If God has given you a dream, don’t be afraid to pursue it. If you follow his leading, work hard and have a teachable attitude, your dreams can become realities.

JOANNE: Great advice. Thanks so much for sharing your story – and congratulations again!

Watch for an interview with Phillip Cimei, the non-fiction Page Turner runner-up, on the blog soon.

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