In 2017, I had the opportunity to interview author Bill Myers about his walk with the Lord and the journey the Lord has taken him on as a writer and filmmaker. This author profile is based on that interview and is written for children.
Bill Myers: I Just Keep Saying “Yes”
What if God told you He had big plans for you, but they involved doing something you really hated, or weren’t very good at? That’s what happened to Christian author and film-maker Bill Myers, who once dreamed of being a dentist. Bill didn’t just dislike writing, he could barely do it! He had a learning disability that made language-related activities extremely challenging. But just like God called Moses, despite his speech impediment (check out Exodus 4:10-12), God wanted to use Bill, even in his weakest area.
Bill Myers grew up in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, “about ten miles from some big hotshot star.” Bill was a Christian, but he got “kind of bored with God” in high-school. Then his friend told him something that Bill still remembers today: “one of the reasons I was bored was because I hadn’t given Christ my whole life.” That was when Bill decided to commit himself to Jesus, “one hundred percent.” He promised God that he would do “anything but write, because of [his] learning disability.”
Nothing happened, at first. But when Bill headed off to college to begin his studies to become a dentist, God soon made it clear that He had something different in mind. One night, Bill went to see a movie with some friends. It was only the fourth movie Bill had ever seen, and it was shockingly violent. Bill watched in horror as the audience applauded the bloodshed on the screen. “I told God He needed to raise people up in making motion pictures,” Bill says. “But as I told God what He needed to do, it bounced back at me.” Bill knew that God was asking him to make good motion pictures.
Lights, Camera… in Rome!
Bill began applying to film schools, but was only accepted to a program in Rome, Italy! “That’s when it dawned on me that life with Jesus is anything but boring,” he says. Bill didn’t know any Italian at the time. In fact, due to his learning disability, he learned only one phrase during his year in the program: “Where’s the bathroom?”
Bill returned to the United States to study stage directing. While in college, he also directed and produced a series of radio dramas for the blind. Bill had plans to become a rich and famous film director, but “discovered that they had plenty of rich and famous film directors, and didn’t need any more.” Once again, God had a different idea for Bill’s future.
When a television producer called to ask Bill to work on a new show, Bill was more than a little reluctant. But, he accepted the position, even though he had his doubts about working for the program. “I’m a crybaby and a moron,” he says, “but I just keep saying yes.”
My Life as a…Reluctant Writer
When it comes to writing books, Bill follows a simple pattern. “I hang out with the Lord for half an hour to an hour every morning,” he says, “and ideas bubble up throughout the day.” Bill writes 2,000 words a day, “looking for a fresh way to tell spiritual truths in a way that doesn’t seem ‘religious.’” Bill’s books consistently point readers back to “the persistence of God’s affection for us.”
As Bill became more involved in the film industry, he continued saying “yes” to God, even when that meant doing what was hardest for him: writing. Bill wrote and produced the McGee and Me film series for Focus on the Family, and wrote and acted in Adventures in Odyssey. (He introduced the “Magnificent Mulligans,” and is the voice of Mike Mulligan.) Bill also went on to write dozens of books, including The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle.
Each of the Wally titles begin with the phrase “My Life as…” Bill and his family brainstormed title ideas while on trips to unique locations like Disneyland and Solvang (a Danish community in Southern California.) “My sweetest, prettiest daughter came up with My Life as a Walrus Whoopie Cushion,” Bill recalls. Once he had a title, Bill would work backwards, creating a plotline to fit the title.
One “Yes” at a Time
In his downtime, Bill loves hanging out with the Lord in his backyard. “I have some friends who hear from God audibly,” Bill says. But that’s not really Bill’s experience. “What happens with me,” he says, “is that as I get really still, I have a vague idea what to do. I’m like a toddler who doesn’t really know how to walk. My whole life is toddling forward, and then feeling a little nudge.” Bill’s day-to-day life is about saying “yes” to God, and relying on Him, completely. “For the most part,” Bill says, “it’s just walking and trusting that He will direct my feet wherever He wants me to go, as long as I stay malleable and pliable in His hands.”
Bill Myers is the author of many books for children and adults, including the Secret Agent Dingledorf series, which was recently adapted into a feature film. Growing up, I was most captivated by his allegorical Imager Chronicles (originally published as Journeys to Fayrah). As an adult, I’ve enjoyed his Harbingers books, in collaboration with Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky, as well as his recent novel, Rendezvous with God.
- Bill published some of his earliest works of fiction in conjunction with the McGee and Me! TV series. You can watch McGee and Me! on PureFlix.
- Bill’s favorite Bible verses are Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4 and 1 Thess. 5:16-18. “When I put those three verses together, they really are pretty powerful,” Bill says.
- Bill’s birthday is September 9th (9/9) and his first and last name totals nine letters. That’s worth a mention on Stephanie’s Ninth Suitcase!
Follow Bill on social media!