Welcome, Dr. Pagels, or as I have been privileged to call you, Carrie :D
Q: coffee, tea, soft drink, water, or home juiced vegetables?
Until recently it was coffee at breakfast, water all day long, and hot tea in the afternoon. But I am off coffee now and drink water, tea, and juice throughout the day.
Q: When did you first know you were a writer?
When I was a little girl and finished reading Anne of Green Gables and I wrote an epilogue in the back of my book!
Q: How do your roles of mother, wife, professional, daughter of Christ, resident of Virginia etc. play into your writing?
“Overcoming Through Time—With God’s Help” (www.carriefancettpagels.com) is my blog address. A little over a year ago I began to invite others to join me there. And I have been so blessed to now share this blog ministry with two wonderful American reviewers and two international reviewers! We are trying to reach people who are dealing with some of life’s difficult blows but with Christ’s help are overcoming—and who enjoy reading Christian fiction as part of that process. We love sharing writers’/authors’ interviews in which they share their own journeys and difficulties. We are in the process of renaming our blog because my tagline for my fiction writing is Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help and we need to use that for my brand spanking new website, which I am very excited about!
Recently I realized that I was no longer anyone’s daughter (anyone living) but that I am God’s daughter. That was a weird feeling to know I no longer have that role. A sad feeling. As a resident
Shirley Plantation, and other great sites! I was raised in upper Michigan and am a former Yooper, which has greatly impacted my life. But I was raised by a Kentucky-born mother. And although my father was Yooper born and bred (and you’d be surprised to know that most are NOT the rednecks they are sometimes portrayed as being) my father’s maternal side was from Kentucky, within a short distance of where my mother’s people lived but they didn’t know that until after they wed.
During some genealogical research, which I did because my mother’s side of the family wasn’t well documented, I found out I had ancestors whose nine sons participated in the American Revolution. Between that and living in the colonial triangle of Virginia, that got me started on writing a fictionalized account of these ancestors’ journey to colonial America. That manuscript and three book proposal is out on submission. As the administrator and contributor for the group blog “Colonial Quills” (http://colonialquills.blogspot.com) I love seeing us get out more information about this era and promoting this subgenre in Christian fiction!
Q: You love history, as do I. If you could sit down and interview any figure from any time, real or fictional, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?
I would want to ask my ancestor, Johan Rousch, who I wrote about. I’d like to hear why he left Germany to come to the colonies and how he felt about it. Can I cheat and also ask to meet Susanne, his wife? I find it horribly unfair that he was recognized by the SAR but I don’t believe anything was done by the DAR for her. And she birthed the nine sons who fought in the American Revolution!
Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?
I had AMAZING English teachers growing up in my hometown. The high school teachers, in particular, were so good. I took the CLEPP exam and was allowed to exempt college English (at age 17.) However, I ended up enrolled in a freshman English class. Day one when I arrived at class I was met by the frail and elderly professor and when he heard my name he took me aside. Told me that my essay was the best he had read, ever, at the college. I think I blinked at him. I hope I thanked him! That has never left me. God must have prompted him to say something. Within about six weeks he had passed away. It was rather surreal. When he had asked me my major and I told him psychology he’d seem so disappointed and had encouraged me to write.
I met my agent, Joyce Hart, at the Philadelphia conference Write His Word, four years ago. She gave me some of the best advice about my writing that I ever could have received. She took me on as a client in 2011 and I consider her a mentor.
Laura Frantz is someone I consider a mentor although she might scoff at that. I met her via Rachel Hauck’s directive in an ACFW online class that we track down comparable books to our own MSes. I found Laura’s “The Frontiersman’s Daughter” for pre-order online. At first I was like—oh nooooo—someone has something similar to what I am doing. Is it too similar? Then I got in touch with Laura and we began an email correspondence. I have learned a lot about the everyday life of a published author from her, especially like what it is like to transition over from a non-published writer to author.
Lena Nelson Dooley gave me a paid critique at the ACFW conference in 2010 and I won a critique with her and did that in 2011. She was the first person to offer me endorsement, which I will never forget. She also spent a lot of time with me at conference last year and is such an encouraging person.
As far as my writing, both Vickie McCollum and Lynn Squire as the leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Writers critique group were the first people to say to me “You are ready to be published.” Their mentorship was critical in getting me to the next big steps I needed to make from a writer with a ton of unfinished manuscripts to someone who had clarity and purpose and finally moved forward to begin the process of preparing those for publication.
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from their time and investment in your books and blogs?
Overcoming With God blog--I hope readers will feel like they had just spent a visit with friends and shared words of encouragement as well as their love of Christian fiction!
In my MSes, which Lord willing will be published, I hope that readers will feel, really feel, what my characters are going through and see how God could deliver the characters and themselves.
Q: Since your blog is about overcoming, can you share with us here what is the biggest thing you have had to overcome and how?
Kathy, what I deal with daily is overcoming, one day at a time, the effects of multiple forms of arthritis. Only with God’s grace do I literally put one foot in front of the other each day. I don’t know why He hasn’t (yet!) removed this difficulty from me, but I trust Him. We also have a child with different issues, but he is doing great—literally overcoming with God’s help, through time! The hardest thing was when our little guy was in the throes of full blown autism and having meltdown and other unsavory issues and life was a daily horrendous battle. And no one seemed to understand. You are isolated and dealing with severe issues that others might have no clue about. I thank God we are past the most severe stage and that He has enabled us to receive multiple treatments and that He has brought about much healing.
Kathy, you and others ask how I do so many things—I am the ACFW MidAtlantic zone director, have the two blogs, and a special needs child. We also travel and I go to historical sites frequently for research. And I have been completing manuscripts at the rate of about one every seven or eight months, which is getting faster for me. But because of my physical limitations I am not as mobile as other people. God has limited my span of activities and so my butt in the chair time is likely much higher than other writers’.
And I want to give a praise here. Since I started writing this interview only three weeks ago (as of OCTOBER), I have gone through some things that are resulting in improvement in my arthritis symptoms, praise God! Although some has been really difficult to go through, I am seeing results from where God has taken me and moved me to. A lot of this is in dealing with food and medication allergies. And I am on very little medication for my Rheumatoid arthritis right now, thank you Jesus! And my mobility is greatly improving!!!
Kathy, you are such a sweetheart. Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Many blessings!
Carrie, you are a delight and an inspiration to me, and to many! Thank you for being so gracious with your time.
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., writes “romantic historical fiction.” Represented by Joyce Hart, “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” is Carrie’s first fiction release. Carrie contributed to “God’s Provision in Tough Times” releasing May, 2013. Previously a psychologist, Carrie lives in Virginia with her family. Carrie blogs at “Colonial Quills” and “Overcoming With God.” She has served in ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) leadership positions as Zone Director, Area Coordinator, and continues as co-chairman of a local group. Member ACFW, Romance Writers of America, Faith-Hope-Love RWA affiliate group and FaithWriters. Columnist/Board Member of The Book Club Network ezine. Loves God, history, and romance!