Sharlene, Tell us about your salvation experience.
I grew up in a wonderful Christian home, but I didn’t make Christ my ‘own’ by inviting Him into my heart until I was about 16. Until then, I’d been floating along on my parents’ spiritual apron strings. Even though I never strayed or rebelled much as a teenager, I knew in my heart I was a sinner in need of a Savior. One night at a special meeting I stepped out of my pew and walked forward during an invitation, and I have never looked back. That was 43 years ago. Yep—do the math!
How did you and your husband meet?
Oh, my! Don’t get me started. Talk about romance! Okay, I’ll try to do the shortened version. I first met my husband when I was 12 and he was 8. My oldest brother married his oldest sister. So, in some ways we grew up acting like brother and sister. (I thought he was a cute little kid. Haha.) We continued being very close friends all the way through college and into adulthood, but I always had a boyfriend and he had girlfriends. In fact, he was engaged for a time while he was in the Air Force. After he broke off his engagement in the summer of 1975, I called him from my apartment to console him (haha, I was secretly thrilled to hear they’d broken up), and that began a string of phone conversations that went on for the next four to five weeks prior to his discharge from the AF. I was 27 and he had just turned 24, and for the first time in a long while, neither of us was ‘attached’. Whamo! We had our first “good look” at each other when he got off the plane that September of ’75. Guess what! We fell in love within a week and were married that December, just three months later. And it’s been 32 ½ GLORIOUS years!
We have so much in common. As I shared with you, James and I met three months and three days before we married. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Oh, my word! What a question! To tell you the truth, I don’t know many authors personally other than through email, the ACFW online loop, and the conferences we’ve attended together. I’m not even a member of a critique group. I know, hard to believe. Who doesn’t belong to a critique group, right? I may sound like a party-pooper here, but there are so many people I’d love to spend more time getting to know as authors and friends that I don’t think I could possibly narrow it down to just four.
I know you have a singing and speaking ministry. Tell us about that.
Well, since jumping headlong into a writing career, my music has, shall we say, moved to the backseat. I love to sing, though, and am still involved in the local worship team and choir, but I don’t sing the solos at weddings or perform at other churches as I once did. As for speaking, I do so when asked, but it’s not a regular occurrence for me.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
You mean I have to come up with just one? I’ll tell you what, everyone who knows me will say I don’t embarrass easily, and that’s the truth. My utter joy in life is to goof up and make people laugh. (And I do naughty things, too!) Just a couple of weeks ago at a church business meeting with a couple hundred in attendance, I pulled a McDonalds toy out of my purse and handed it to my best friend sitting next to me. (We were in the second row, by the way.)
“Here’s a present for you,” I whispered.
She looked at it and tossed it back on the pew.
“It makes noise,” I told her.
“Oh, that’s nice,” she said, even as she shook her head at me. Oh, I could read that ‘Don’t you dare’ look in her eyes. (People should never give me that look.)
“Wanna hear it?” I asked. “No!” she hissed back at me.
Now, my husband was on the platform delivering a very important end-of-the-year budget plan to the congregants, as he is our church administrator. Well, I personally thought the general ‘flavor’ of the evening was just too somber. I mean budgets, come on! B-O-R-I-N-G! So, in one fluid moment, I picked up that toy, pulled the string on it and away it went—singing a loud, happy tune with ugly, blaring instruments! (It was one of those American Idol toys that McDonalds was putting in their Happy Meals.)
My girlfriend nearly died of hysterics, her husband moved several feet away from us, and I fiddled with the toy trying to find its off button. Ha! The pew behind us cracked up and everyone else in the church just thought it was somebody’s cell phone with a very annoying ring tone. What did my husband have to say to me later? Not much. He’s used to me!
People are always telling me they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
In fact, someone said that very thing to me tonight at a funeral home. I know, crazy place for such a conversation. What I generally say is go for it! You will never know until you try. I didn’t write my first book until the year 2000 – 8 years ago. I always loved writing, but I’d never actually tried to write an entire book until I reached the ripe age of 51. Looking back, I am so glad God put the idea in my head to sit down at my computer that fine summer day. If I hadn’t taken the risk, just gone for it, I wouldn’t have a string of published books today. You have to at least try it!
Sounds like a book I want to read. How can readers find you on the Internet?