Welcome, Sharlene. I love your new picture. How did this book come about?
It is the third in a series, so while writing the first two, my mind had already spun the tale for the final book. That’s how a writer’s mind works I guess.
Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I love the cover, especially the bike parked outside the little house, as this is my main character’s primary source of transportation – even though she’s 7 months pregnant at the story’s onset. I have loved every cover the very talented graphics department from Whitaker House has designed, so I feel especially blessed.
I know what you mean. Charisma Media does such good covers for me, too. Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
This story takes place in 1930, just a year after the stock market crash, so The Great Depression has set in, and many in the story have fallen on hard times, my main character in particular. Her tale, of course, is fictional.
How much research did you have to do for this book?
There is always a good amount of research going into most every book I write, and this one was no exception. The difference was that since it is the third in my series, I had already done a lot of the “homework” ahead of time. It was more a matter of crafting the story.
What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
The basis of this story is about a young girl who is raped while under the influence of a sleeping drug. (She later becomes pregnant and, thus, shunned by many of the townsfolk for her unmarried state.) With my wonderful editor’s help, we discovered a number of drugs that were used in the 1930s to aid people (primarily women) in getting a good night’s sleep. These drugs were easily accessible then but would be considered barbiturates, not to mention illegal without a prescription, in this day. In the story, her attacker confiscates a specific drug from his mother’s “stash” when she is absent from the home, and mixes it with a drink to put his victim to sleep before attacking her.
What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
Grace! I was surprised by GRACE – specifically God’s! I was quite ill throughout the writing of most of this book, in and out of the hospital for numerous tests and three different rounds of fluid replacement; thus, I was weak and depleted. God carried me through and literally “wrote” this book for me while I sat at my computer in somewhat of a dazed state! My lovely, wonderfully talented editor also aided GREATLY in bringing it to its final stages so it could go to press. Thank goodness for her amazing abilities to spot the minutest details that I am prone to overlook. Phew!
What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
As always, my heartfelt desire is that my readers will come away from my books with a longing to seek out more of God. I want them to seek Him first above all else. My heart rejoices when I hear from readers who report that something I wrote challenged them in their faith or convicted them in a particular area of their life, maybe even caused them to go back to church or work on a broken relationship. That is why I write – so that God might see fit to use me as an avenue for pointing people to Him.
What is the next project you’re working on?
Currently, I’m working on a series titled Tennessee Dreams. It’s set in the late 1800s in the small (actual) town of Paris, Tennessee. I’m already well into the writing of the first book and having a blast getting acquainted with everybody in the town. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I often don’t know myself what’s going to happen from page-to-page, so I’m feeling like the reader here as more and more people wander into my story uninvited! (smiles)
What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
Gracious, that’s an easy question! I run to Facebook! Doesn’t everybody? (Seriously, I tell my friends at Facebook that they are my “teacher’s lounge”.) As a former teacher, I went to the lounge during recess breaks just to kick back for a few minutes and talk and laugh with my colleagues. However, there is much to do besides going to Facebook. When I need to get away from the business of writing I often catch up on laundry, visit my grandkids, make a grocery run, answer emails, take a brisk walk with my dog, or watch a little TV. Of course, I start my day with scripture and quiet time, but after that, it’s anybody’s guess what kind of interruptions I’ll encounter on any given day. By the way, I usually welcome interruptions! It’s that undiagnosed A.D.D.!
Please give us the first page of the book.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
The blazing sun ducked behind a cloud, granting a smidgeon of relief to Sofia Rogers as she compressed the pedal to stop her bike in front of Murphy’s Market and, in a most inelegant manner, slid off the seat, taking care not to catch the hem of her loose-fitting dress in the bicycle chain. She scanned the street in both directions, hoping not to run into anyone she knew, then parked the rusting yellow bike next to a Ford truck. These days, she dreaded coming into town, but she couldn’t very well put off the chore much longer if she wanted to keep food on the table.
Her younger brother, Andy, had won the race to their destination. His equally corroded bike leaned against the building, and he stood next to it, his arms crossed, a burlap sack slung across one shoulder. As she approached, a smug grin etched his freckled face. “Didn’t I t-tell you I’d b-beat you?”
“That’s because you had a full minute head start on me, you rascal.” Sofie might have added that her present condition did not permit the speed and agility she’d once had, but she wasn’t about to make that excuse. “Just you wait. I’ll win on the way back home.”
“N-not if I can help it.”
She pressed the back of her hand to her hot, damp face and stepped up to the sidewalk. “We’ll see about that, Mr. Know-It-All.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please join me at my website at: http://www.sharlenemaclaren.com, request my Facebook friendship at http://www.facebook.com/sharmaclaren, check out my blog at http://www.sharlenemaclaren.blogspot.net, or feel free to email me at: email@example.com I love hearing from my readers and promise to respond to each one as time allows. Thank you for this opportunity to engage with all of you. May God grant you His richest, most glorious blessings!
And thank you, Sharlene, for once again sharing your stories with us. We love them all.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Sofia's Secret (River Of Hope, Book 3)
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