Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday Spotlight - Nola Passmore

Each Monday and Thursday, Christian Writers Downunder's faithful and talented blog team contribute blogposts to inspire and inform aspiring and established writers. In 2017 we will be adding Tuesday Spotlights - posts that spotlight both writers and organisations that contribute to the writing scene Downunder. I think it's only fitting that the first Tuesday Spotlight will be on the one and only Nola Passmore.

Nola took on co-ordination of Christian Writers Downunder towards the end of 2013, when Lee Franklin was no longer able to continue in the role. She built up the admin team, kept the blog and Facebook group flourishing & helped facilitate stronger links between CWD and other wonderful groups such as Australasian Christian Writers (ACW), Omega Writers (OW) and Faith Writers (FW). At the end of last year, Nola handed the responsibility of co-ordination to Jeanette O'Hagan, and at the end of this year, she has decided to leave the administration team so she can focus on the Omega Writers Annual Retreat and the Toowoomba chapter group in Toowoomba, writing her novel, and the Write Flourish, among other things. 

The Admin team (Anusha, Paula and Jenny) are grateful for Nola's wise leadership as coordinator and her input during the transitional period this year. Thank you, Nola.

Three-quarters of the CWD Admin team: Nola, Anusha & Jenny


Nola is a writer, a poet and editor at The Write Flourish. She has a quirky sense of humour and has an inspired ministry of 'nagging' (encouraging writers to write). I managed to pin Nola down to ask a few questions.

Jeanette: How long have you been a writer and what inspired you to follow this calling?

Nola: I’ve been writing since primary school, though my first loves were songwriting and poetry.  I detoured through more formal academic writing during Uni and my former life as a psychology lecturer, but a key event happened in the early 2000s that set me on my current path.  Dr John Ashton asked if I would contribute to a book called the God Factor: 50 Scientists and Academics Explain Why they Believe in God. I was intending to write an academic piece, but God had other ideas.  He prompted me to write a more personal story about my experiences as an adoptee. A couple of years later, someone contacted me from the Australian Stories/Aussie Stories franchise to ask if they could repackage that article as two stories in one of their upcoming volumes.  Up until then, I thought you had to write a complete book in order to be able to share what God had done in your life.  I started sending short pieces off and have had success in a wide variety of genres.  Since then, God has confirmed to me that he has called me to write, but also called me to encourage others to write and use the creative gifts He has given them.  (As Jenny said, it’s sort of like spiritual ‘nagging’.).

Jeanette: You've had an impressive number of short pieces published over the years. What writing projects have you got on the go at the moment? What joys and challenges do they provide?

Nola: I still love writing short pieces, and usually have some of those on the go (e.g. short fiction, creative non-fiction, devotional pieces and poetry).  However, I’ve cut back on those at the moment so that I can concentrate on whipping my debut novel into shape.  It’s an historical novel set in Nova Scotia, Canada from 1881 to 1917, and has a social justice theme.  I’ve finished the first draft, but am still wrangling the plot.  There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m hopeful of completing it in 2017.  I always imagined I’d write a novel one day, but it’s been a lot harder than I thought.  I now have a greater appreciation of the incredible work that goes into every book we see in a bookstore.  My biggest challenge is that I’m trying to write a story with a broad historical sweep set in another country.  What was I thinking?

Jeanette: I’m looking forward to reading your novel and, I agree, novel-writing is a lot harder than it looks.

Which famous writer (past or present) would you like to meet? What would you like to ask them and why?

Nola: I’d like to meet King David and get him to play the psalms on his harp so I could hear the original music. 

Jeanette: I love your sense of humour. Has it ever got you into strife or, alternatively, won you accolades. How important is humour to writing? 

Nola: It probably has gotten me into strife, though I can’t think of a particular example.  There will always be someone who takes offense, even if you have the best intentions.  I fully believe that God had a tremendous sense of humour or He wouldn’t have created us, so the ability to laugh at ourselves is crucial.  Humour can also lift people’s spirits and bring about positive physical changes.  Even if we don’t exclusively write humour, the odd lighter touch can give readers a breathing space in more serious works.  From a personal perspective, I find that writing humour is like an elixir.  When I left my academic job, people were more concerned about who would write the Christmas skits than they were about any academic skills I might have had.  I was quite pleased about that.

Jeanette: You and your husband Tim left the security of University careers to start the Write Flourish. Can you tell as a little about this business and what it can offer writers?

Nola:  The Write Flourish is a freelance writing and editing business.  Tim and I both have a desire to help others develop their manuscripts so that they can present the best work possible.  We do manuscript assessments, structural editing, copyediting, and proofreading.  Tim mainly focuses on non-fiction, including technical, academic, inspirational and scientific writing.  I focus more on fiction, creative non-fiction, inspirational writing and poetry.  I’m also available for workshops and one-on-one mentoring.

Jeanette: Finally, we've greatly appreciated your involvement in Christian Writers Downunder. What do you think CWD has to offer writers? And will you continue to be involved?

Nola: First, let me say that I was thrilled when Jeanette (Jenny) agreed to take over the reins.  I’d enjoyed my time as coordinator, but I felt led to put more time into other endeavours.  Anusha Atukorala and Paula Vince have also been amazing team members.  I’ve really valued everyone’s wise counsel, care, concern, encouragement and prayers.    I will definitely still be involved, but mainly as a regular participant rather than committee member. 

I think the strength of CWD has been in the information, encouragement and support that it provides to Christian writers, readers and those in related fields (e.g. editors, publishers and illustrators).  We’ve worked hard to develop an atmosphere where diverse views can be discussed within a supportive environment, and I know that will continue under the leadership of Jenny, Anusha and Paula.  I also really value the links we’ve developed with the other Christian writing groups.  We may have some different emphases, but we are all looking for ways of glorifying God through our writing.  I’ve been very blessed by the love and encouragement I’ve received.  May God continue to bless CWD and the other Christian writing groups abundantly as we seek to share His love in a hurting world.

Jeanette: Thanks Nola both for your contribution to CWD and for taking time to talk to us. Wishing you all the best in what God has for you and Tim and your fur babies.

Bio & Photo. 

Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 140 short pieces published, including devotionals, true stories, magazine articles, academic papers, poetry and short fiction.  She loves sharing what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same.  She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  You can find her writing tips blog at their website:  http://www.thewriteflourish.com.au  


  1. Thanks for sharing about your writing and editing endeavours, Nola :)

    1. And thank you too Jenny for steering the ship so expertly. Some of those questions really got my grey matter buzzing :)

  2. What a lovely interview Jenny and Nola and an interesting peek into Nola's writing life . I pricked up my ears when you said you would like to hear King David's original music. You see, I've been reading lately about someone who claims he's tapped into the very thing. Have a look at this: https://wholetones.com/ltr/15 I came across it in a fibromyalgia help website and was wondering if music therapy could and would bring me the healing I longed for. :) Interested to hear your views - looks a bit new agey - but many strong Christians have written great reviews! You can even have a listen to several samples of his music. So your dream may just be realised! :)

    Well done on completing the first draft of your novel Nola. That's a huge job. And I look forward to reading it in the near future.

    Thanks so much for all you have done for us at CWD - we will miss you in our Admin team but are assured that God has aweseome plans to continue use your nagging and writing skills for His kingdom! :)

    All the best to Tim and you for your work through 'The Write Flourish' - may 2017 be a fruitful productive year for you both.

    1. Thanks for that Anusha. I'll have to check out that site. I have all of Sons of Korah's albums and they've set new music to the psalms. But I always wondered what the originals sounded like.

      Thanks for everything you've done on the team too, Anusha. You stepped up when I was floundering in those early days and I really appreciated your support. I'm looking forward to putting some more effort into our local Omega group. We keep meeting more writers who want to get together, so we'll be kicking off some more activities soon.

      I know God will continue to bless CWD and the admin team beyond measure. Thanks for being such an important part of it :)

  3. Really appreciated this background info to CWD (I came in about the time Nola took the reins and at the time the change-over was somewhat confusing to me) and also the cameos from Nola's career/s. All blessings, Nola, for 2017 & beyond.

    1. LOL Rhonda - It was confusing to me too :) There was only about 20 mins between the time I was asked to take over until the time an announcement was made on the forum, so it all happened very suddenly. But everyone was so supportive. Thanks for your good wishes Rhonda. God Bless :)

  4. Hi Nola and Jenny,
    That was a really fun interview to read. I am looking forward to reading your novel, and also enjoy your shorts, and encouragement to others to develop our writing in all genres. I like the idea of a ministry of nagging. Everyone needs it at some time. I also like your teamwork on The Write Flourish, and how each of you can focus on your strengths.
    Now I'm off to listen to King David's harp music from Anusha's link above :)

    1. Glad to hear you were hoping to listen to the King David's music Paula. Hope you enjoyed it . I would be interested to hear your views on it. I can't decide if it's by a genuine Christian or new agey stuff! :)

    2. Thanks Paula. Nagging definitely should be a ministry - LOL Some people have even given me permission to nag them about writing! Thanks for your encouragement too and your fabulous work on the admin team. Maybe I can work out a way to get that harp music into my novel. Mmmm.