Sharon and I are co-hosts with two other woman on the Gate Beautiful blog radio show. Welcome, Sharon. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters?
As much as possible. My debut novel, Lady and the Sea, is based on a true story, so I wrote my heart and soul into those characters. The protagonist, Rosie Atkisson, has my fine qualities, but after a few months of writing, she began taking on her own unique personality. Ellen, the antagonist, is a young woman who says what she thinks. Now, that is how I would like to be but I know Ellen’s words would get me into way too much trouble, and I would regret saying them.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oh my, do I have to narrow it down to one? I met my husband on the phone, so when we decided to meet face-to-face, he asked, “How will I recognize you?” I hesitated, then I answered in an oh-so-sultry voice, “Well, for one thing, I’m a knockout!” Of course I was joking, but Rob told me later that he had second thoughts about meeting me because suddenly I sounded quite stuck-up. But he also admitted, “You’re right,
Sharon … you ARE a
knockout.” Rob and I were married a
year later and we’re celebrating our twenty-fourth anniversary this month.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In sixth grade my mother gave me a diary with its very own key for Christmas. I’ve been writing ever since.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Biographies, autobiographies, adventure--anything that takes me on someone’s personal journey. I love going to a bookstore and picking up a book (I don’t have to know the author), looking at the front cover, reading the back, then taking it home and experiencing their journey. The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran was such a book. I’m an avid fan of Bodie Thoene, author of historical fiction. When I was a volunteer for fourteen months on the World War II ship MS Restoration, I read the Zion Covenant series while sailing the seven seas.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
At my wonderfully savvy age of sixty-six, I’ve learned to pace myself. I prioritize: God, family, writing, eating, reading, drinking, watching my favorite movies over and over.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I choose character’s names from family and friends, although several of my characters in Lady and the Sea were names that had an attitude, like Prissy.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am proud that I completed a ½ marathon and lived to tell about it. Oh, I almost forgot … I’m proud that I received a degree in Theology at the age of sixty. And of course, I am most proud of my recently published debut novel, Lady and the Sea, proving that it is never too late for dreams to come true.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If I could be any animal, I would be a horse. When I was a little girl I pretended to be a horse, bucking and whinnying (not whining!) all around the house. I played with my brother’s plastic horses, Roy Roger’s horse Trigger and the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver. Why? Because they run wild and are magnificent creatures to behold. I guess I’m just a wild and free woman at heart! (smile)
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is bread. Hot, warm, cold, soft, hard; doesn’t matter. With lots of melted butter. With or without jam; doesn’t matter. Yes, bread is my favorite weakness.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock to writing is watching my favorite movies—over and over. If I could take back all the hours I spent watching my favorite movies I would have finished Lady and the Sea in half the time, plus another book or two. I still can’t get enough of Out of Africa and Return to Me. How did I overcome it? I threw them out with a loaf of stale bread.
Tell us about the featured book.
Lady and the Sea is a story about faith and forgiveness, sprinkled with adventure and romance on the high seas and at home. After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie Atkisson struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with her husband, Jesse, in
California. But the settled
rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she
encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS
A special mission to transport Russian Jews from
Sochi, Russia, to , means an adventure of a
lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her
thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life? In spite of her fear of water and the unknown
condition of the ship, Rosie says yes to that inner Voice that is saying GO! Haifa, Israel
After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship - from a hurricane to symptoms of a heart attack, from miracles to the M word—menopause—and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor – Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One ~ July 1995
Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the
harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II
vessel. As two soldiers aimed their
deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through
The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”
Rosie grabbed the rail. “Do they think we’re terrorists?”
Jesse touched her arm. “Rosie, calm down.”
“Do they think we’re pirates?
“Just calm down” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.
“Will they make us jump overboard? I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke, fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.
“Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”
Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who’d brought her on this unpredictable journey. Jesse’s right. What’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom. She didn’t dare leave his side.
The ship, her fellow crew members, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination. No more troubled waters. No more hurricanes. No more delays. On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.
Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck. “Isn’t this ironic? We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”
“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.
Within seconds, they were dead in the water.
Rosie’s stomach churned. She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip. After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm. She’d heard stories about people who’d experienced close calls. Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the
Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me on my website at www.sharonleaf.com. I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonleafwrites and I also have a Lady and the Sea Facebook page. My blog is www.sharonleafblogspot.com
It was my great pleasure to welcome you here, Sharon.
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Lady And The Sea: A Novel Based On A True Story - paperback
Lady and the Sea: A Novel Based on a True Story - Kindle
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