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Interview with Jarm Del Boccio

In the mid-eighties, debut author Jarm Del Boccio found herself in a little cabin over eight thousand miles from home. She was accompanied by a water tank, a solar powered light, and had access to a short-wave radio. Because of her status as a single woman, she could only go on short walks.

This was her life for two years in the lovely wilds of Papua New Guinea. She knew she was directly in the path of God’s will, but it wasn’t exactly how she had planned her course. Through the years, Jarm (pronounced Yarm) has learned two things: to see the re-direction of her steps by God’s hand, and to trust those unexpected turns.

A Certain Path
“My mother had planted a love for missionaries in my heart,” Jarm explains. “I had this desire to go to Australia, and I was so convinced God wanted me to move to Australia to teach and live. I had been praying for an opportunity to go overseas and teach.”

When missionaries from her home church in Chicago—the Andersons—returned to the states on furlough from Papua New Guinea, they invited Jarm for dinner one night. The conversation casually turned to the education of the Anderson children while they were on the mission field. The children needed a teacher.

“Well, that went in one ear and out the other. Completely went by me until ten days later, I asked if they would mind if I came to teach their kids and they said, ‘Would we mind? We’ve been praying for that!’”

And just like that, Jarm stepped out in faith to a foreign land with the barest of essentials.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me because the Lord made me content,” she says. “When everything is stripped away and all you have is God, that’s all you need.”

She didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the repeating theme, not only in her life, but in her writing as well.

Jarm has always been enamored with reading and writing. She has pictures of herself as a small child, laid out on her stomach, devouring the books spread before her. She has poems and stories from third grade where her teachers gave her E’s for excellence and “nice, little comments” on the pages. Jarm ended up teaching at her alma mater, Midwestern Christian Academy, and spent seven years in one classroom or another—kindergarten, high school art, high school home economics, and even as school librarian.

In 2008, Jarm’s mother, Ana Brozek, passed away. She was just shy of her 100th birthday.

“I panicked thought, Oh my goodness, how am I going to remember my childhood and all these important things if my mother isn’t here?”

Jarm, an only child whose father passed when Jarm was four, had the sole responsibility of recording the story of her family. Her maternal grandparents were Slovakian immigrants. Her father was from the Czech Republic. After DNA testing with 23andMe, Jarm discovered there was more to her background than she had previously known.

“I’m a Heinz 57 – British, Polish, a little bit of Russian besides Czechoslovakian, and German and Irish, too!” she says. “So I’m from everywhere, which I love.”

Feeling certain she was called to preserve the story of her family, Jarm began work on her memoirs. Then came another re-direction of her steps.

A Certain Turn
“I got connected with the PiBoldMo Picture Book Idea Month. One thing led to another and I just started writing children’s stories,” she explains.

From there, her writing experienced what she calls “a long metamorphosis”. She participated in a 12x12 challenge where she wrote twelve picture books in twelve months.

“I was too heavy on descriptions for a picture book. An author friend suggested I move into middle grade and then I could take all the words I wanted to describe things,” Jarm says. “So I tried it and it became so natural for me. I thought that was what the Lord wanted for me.”

Jarm explains that middle grade in the book world is not the same as middle grade in the school world. In book world, middle grade is typically fourth through sixth grades. The content, even in the secular market, is geared toward more innocent minds and hearts. There is no swearing, no sex, no violence. Some of the books written for the older children in middle grade get edgier, Jarm says, but she writes for the younger side of middle grade.

That was her intention when she wrote a 50,000-word novel for National Novel Writing Month in 2016 about the World Columbian Exposition.

“It’s just straight historical fiction. It’s written from a biblical world view, but it mentions very little about God. I’ve been trying to market that for a long time, but evidently unless you have fantasy in it, or a little bit of mystery or adventure…” She trails off and pauses, then continues. “I had been heavily into the secular world as far as writing and author groups, so I know what’s out there and I know what is expected, but I think the Lord was doing that on purpose.”

Jarm’s initial desire was to publish a historical fiction middle grade novel in the secular world, and then have the platform and the right to be able to speak and to be a good testimony there. She was told over and over again that whatever she published first, that’s what she would be known for. Jarm knew, through maintaining that crossover balance between the Christian and the secular worlds of writing, that the next move would determine much about her future.

She put one more foot on the path of faith and threw out pitch after pitch after pitch. Eventually, Ambassador International snagged one of her story ideas. Jarm’s writing was about to take another turn.

A Certain Kind of Heart
Jarm’s mission, like her tagline, reads like this: My passion is to breathe new life into the pages of history: Illuminating the past. Making sense of the present. Offering Hope for the Future.

She gleans her inspiration from obscure stories of often unnamed characters in the Bible.

“I had been sympathetic to kids in scripture for the last eight to ten years. They have no name, they have no back-story, and yet they’ve made a huge impact in the lives of people. They deserve a story to bring them to life,” Jarm says. “I write for children and they want to know about other children.”

Jarm picked up the narrative of the little boy who brought his lunch to Jesus.

“I thought, How in the world did he get to the feet of Jesus with five thousand people in that audience? I developed a whole story of who he was and how he came there and what happened as a result of his encounter with Jesus when he went home. It’s called A Pouch Full of Miracles,” Jarm says.

She figured she had a story for boys, now how about a story for girls?

A nameless slave girl from 2 Kings 5 begged for her attention. In this story, Army Commander Naaman is cleansed from leprosy after he follows the bizarre orders of the prophet Elisha. It’s a miracle to be certain, but Jarm’s writing eye caught more than the miraculous.

“This story is huge. [The servant girl] was pulled from her family, pulled to a foreign country, foreign language, foreign everything. So, how did she feel? How did she get to the point where she connected Elisha with Naaman and changed his life, too?” Jarm asks. “Lives changed.”

For this nameless girl, everything in her life was stripped away. The story resonated with Jarm, bringing her own journey of trust full circle. It’s the journey that Jarm captures within the pages of her debut novel, The Heart Changer.

Originally written in 2014, The Heart Changer caught the attention of the editors at Ambassador International, a Christian publishing company out of Greenville, South Carolina. Jarm signed the contract with Ambassador International in April 2018 and has spent the last year going through rounds of revisions, selecting a cover design, and implementing the marketing plan. The Heart Changer is scheduled for an April 26th release date.

Even though this publishing path is not the one Jarm had initially envisioned, it is the one that God has directed. Every step of the way. Like the little slave girl, whom she has named Miriam, Jarm has allowed God to strip away her preconceived notions of writing and publishing. In their stead, she has been left with contentment and a path so much finer than she could imagined.

“I have this total peace because I could be so worried about things. I have felt convinced, and it’s true, that the Lord will bring just the right things into my path at the right time,” she says. “It’s really His book. Yes, I wrote it, but it’s His book. I just put my fingers obediently to the keys.”


Kristy Horine is a Kentucky writer: freelance journalist by trade, creative by God’s grace. Kristy writes a little bit of everything including poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Her professional and creative work has been published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies in Kentucky and beyond. She founded 3rd Letter Christian Writers in Lexington, Kentucky in 2015, serves as Publicity Chair for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference since 2016, is the Communications Coordinator for the Women’s Ministry at her church, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Read more of her work at

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