Meet My Latest Answer to Prayer
Just last week, I was discussing with my Virtual Assistant, Joanne Reese, our need for someone to help with my social media. Joanne assists me with a ton of other things, and we both felt it was important to look for an additional helper who had a solid knowledge (and enjoyment!) of social media. Neither of us had any idea who to ask. But we both committed to pray about it.
That evening, my dear friend Lori Freeland flew out to visit me from Texas, along with her daughter, Maddy. The first thing Lori wanted to do here was have lunch with Kelly Harrel, who was on faculty for a local writers’ conference that I directed last spring. They’d met at the conference and bonded right away, and they’d kept in touch and wanted to get together in person while Lori was here.
During our get-together, Kelly asked what was new in my life, and as I told her about everything I have going on, I just happened to mention that I’ve been looking for a social media assistant—for myself, for the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference, and for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Kelly’s eyes lit up! Minutes later, we were jumping up and down (literally!) with excitement at how God had put us together to answer both of our prayers.
I asked Kelly to share a little bit about herself with my followers.
Kelly, tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
I’ve always loved to write, but considered it my hobby more than a profession for years. I have an elementary teaching credential as well as a school counselor credential. This is my nineteenth year working as a teacher and tenth year homeschooling my children. The year I began homeschooling, I decided it was time to begin using my gift of writing for the Lord. I started blogging and three years later published my first novel. I feel blessed to have the support of my two kiddos, Noah and Becca, and my loving husband, Jeff. They are without a doubt my biggest fans.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m in the wonderful stage of life right now of having teenagers. This means LOTS of driving, which is okay because it gives me time to talk with them about all kinds of issues. I also enjoy being a spectator at my son’s soccer games, my daughter’s dance performances, and their Bible Quiz meets. Our “family dates” on my hubby’s day off are always a blast, whether we go on a field trip, bowling, or to the movies. My years with my kids are numbered, so I’m definitely planning to enjoy every minute.
What ministries are you passionate about and involved in?
I was six years old the first time I struggled with depression. For over twenty years I was silent about the seasonal depression I endured. Shame prevented me from talking about it, which kept me from dealing with it. I now love to speak to women and teens about depression, anxiety, and other hard issues, sharing the truth of God’s Word with them because I knew it’s only when we admit what we are going through that we truly seek healing in the Lord. Remaining silent through our struggles doesn’t make us strong—it can actually destroy us. I also love writing Bible study blogs. It gives me the opportunity to connect with ladies all over the US and share God’s Word with them in a way that is personal to draws them into a deeper relationship with Him.
When do you have your devotional time with the Lord, and what do you do during that time?
I enjoy a sweet time of fellowship with the Lord before I get out of bed each morning. Right now I’m reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I’m also reading through the book of Luke, as my kids are studying that for their Bible Quiz this year. Some mornings when God reveals Himself to me, I’ll create a verse picture and devotion of what He’s teaching me and post it on social media.
Briefly share one of your favorite memories.
On December 13, 1996 (it was Friday the 13th), I opened the front door of my parents’ house to a very handsome young man. The moment I saw him, God whispered to my heart, “He’s the one.” Twenty years later, I’m still madly in love with him. Best blind date ever.
What books have you written?
I have written two Christian inspirational novels, Freedom in His Love and Running in Such a Way. Angel Discovered and Angel Defined, books one and two of my four-book Christian romance series, are scheduled for release December 10.
What do you love most about writing?
I love the surprise as the story unfolds. I pray, “Lord, give it to me,” before I start each book. At times, when I’m writing dialogue, the conversation suddenly goes a different way or one event leads to another that I didn’t foresee. Each novel is an exciting journey into the lives of the characters.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
I will never forget a Facebook message I received from a teen after publishing my first book. It was filled with exclamation points and her excitement over my character’s determination to follow God. She said it was better than the Twilight series, and she wanted to stay pure until marriage like my character. That was confirmation that I was doing what God called me to.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition, and why?
The first thing my family does on Christmas morning is put candles in our cinnamon rolls (or muffins), light them, and sing happy birthday to Jesus. It blesses me that although the kids are now teens, they want to honor the Lord on His birthday by doing that first. It’s the perfect way to start the day, focused on our Savior rather than the stuff under the tree.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
When I was twenty-one I had the privilege of meeting Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, and Christian Slater at a screening of their movie An Interview with a Vampire. The next day I sat in my college class wondering if a relationship between a Christian schoolteacher and a movie star could work. Christian Slater was my heartthrob, so I have always pictured him as Tyler Stevens in the Lauren Drake series.
Thanks so much for sharing with my followers, Kelly. And for agreeing to work with me on all my various social media projects! I’m really excited about our collaboration as well as deepening our friendship.
Kelly Harrel lives in Southern California with her adoring husband and two remarkable children. As well as writing Christian romance and inspirational fiction, she leads online Bible studies and speaks to women and teens on various topics.
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