I'm happy to welcome Sharlene MacLaren back to the blog. We all enjoyed the first two books in this series. And I know I awaited Courting Emma with great anticipation. I have to tell you that, if possible, this book was better than the first two in the Little Hickman Creek series.
My greatest joy is to write about triumph through struggles, victory in the midst of heartache, and hope in the face of sorrow. All my stories involve some sort of tragic event, which puts my characters on a quest for truth, healing, and wholeness. I love weaving scripture passages throughout in the hopes it will prompt my readers to open their Bibles and find answers for their own struggles.
And you do that really well. What other books of yours are coming out soon?
After Courting Emma, I will be releasing a contemporary novel titled Long Journey Home. This book will release in September ’08. Then beginning in January ’09, I’m launching my next 3-book historical series – The Daughters of Jacob Kane.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I think I’d have to say Beth Moore. I love her Bible studies. She is a dynamic individual with a huge heart for women. I have learned so much from her wonderful studies.
I've been in the studio audience when an interview with her and husband was recorded by James Robison. She has a powerful presence. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
I’ve always enjoyed writing—but I didn’t actually write my first novel until the ripe age of 52! I was a couple of years away from retirement and already fretting about what I was going to do with myself. I pled with God to give me a new direction for my life, something that would fulfill me – as my teaching career had done. It started with a dream. I know that sounds “cliché-ish”, but it’s true. I dreamt I’d written a book. I thought the dream was odd, but after dreaming it three more times, I sat up, took notice, and thought, hmm, is God trying to tell me something? (Slow learner!) So, with much trepidation and an idea for a story floating around in my head, I sat at my computer one fine summer day in the year 2000 and started writing, and I’ve been at it ever since.
It's a wonderful life for sure. What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Never allow those rejection letters to discourage you to the point of quitting. Okay, you can quit for a day or so, but then jump right back into it. If you have a strong urge to write, and you believe in your heart God gave you a passion for it, then chances are good you’ll publish someday. The trick is to keep plugging away. Honing your skill takes hours of hard work and study, not to mention attending conferences, reading in your genre, joining critique groups, and learning the industry. Pray, pray, pray. If God wants you published, it will happen, but bear in mind, it’s all about Him and His perfect timing.
That is so true. Now, Sharlene, tell us about the featured book.
Here’s a brief synopsis of my latest book, COURTING EMMA, third and final installment in The Little Hickman Creek Series: Twenty-eight-year old Emma Browning has experienced a good deal of life in her young age. Sole owner of Emma's Boardinghouse, she is "mother" to an array of beefy, unkempt, often rowdy characters. Though many men would like to get to know the steely, hard-edged, yet surprisingly lovely, proprietress, none has truly succeeded. That is, not until the town's new pastor, Jonathan Atkins, takes up residence in the boardinghouse, affecting not only her with his devout faith and strong convictions, but her clientele as well. Emma clings desperately to her stubborn ways, refusing to acknowledge God's love—until all of Little Hickman witnesses a real-life miracle! Only then will Emma begin to experience God's power at work.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Oh, do please come visit me. I will always reply to emails or comments on my website or blog. Here’s my contact information, and thanks for the opportunity you’ve given me to share. This has been wonderful fun. May God bless each of you with bountiful grace and joy!
Thank you for spending this time with us Sharlene.
Readers, do check her websites. She's just as gracious as she sounds.
You'll want to get a copy of Courting Emma. Leave a comment and you might win one.