Bio: Elizabeth Sherrill is the author behind the classic best sellers The Hiding Place about Corrie ten Boom, The Cross and the Switchblade about David Wilkerson, and God's Smuggler about Brother Andrew. She also is a longtime contributor to
America's best-loved inspirational
magazine Guideposts, and best-selling
devotional, Daily Guideposts.
. What would you
like for our readers to know about you personally? Elizabeth
I grew up in a purely secular environment, didn’t glimpse the possibility of a spiritual realm until my 30’s, started writing Christian stories long before I was a Christian (it was the only work I could find.) Surprised by Grace is the story of how I grew – slowly! – into faith and commitment.
Tell us about your family.
John and I celebrated our 66th anniversary in December, 2013. We have three children – two sons and a daughter -- eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. We remain a close-knit family which involves a lot of traveling: from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, Boston to Miami, DeKalb, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
About 20, among them The Hiding Place, The Cross and the Switchblade, and God’s
I read those three decades ago. Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Not at the moment. My work has mostly been and remains magazine writing.
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
Travel and study – mostly art, literature, and history. We love getting into a car with no destination and simply following ever smaller roads, as we did for three months in
France and Germany last spring.
Why did you write the featured book?
I’ll copy here the preface to Surprised by Grace, which addressed this question.
Never say never!
“Never” is what I said, many years ago, when Guideposts editor Van Varner suggested a book “telling your own story.” Van had known me, he pointed out, back when I thought of God as a long-outmoded myth.
“Today, God is at the center of your life. That’s quite a journey! Why don’t you write about it?”
Why not? Because my faith was a private matter!
I know now that my emphatic Never to Van was part of the door between me and the world that I write about in Surprised by Grace. My whole world was constructed on the insistence that I was different. Since I “wasn’t like others”, how could my experience interest anyone else? Van kept at it, though, bringing up “your book” -- that wholly imaginary volume -- every year or so.
It wasn’t Van, however, who finally changed my mind, but people I’ve never met. Over the years I’d written, always reluctantly, three or four short articles about my own life. Not going too deep, sort of one-toe-in-the-water. To my surprise, the articles drew responses from readers, each of whom had been convinced that her experience, or his experience, was unlike anyone else’s. “You’ve written my story!” the letters said, over and over.
The article that brought the most mail was about my struggle with depression. That most lonely and isolating experience brought remarkably similar confessions from across the country, men and women, young and old. All of us, apparently, in the black pit of that blackest place, had felt that no one else had ever experienced what we did. And the relief that these correspondents felt in recognizing themselves in my story, was stunningly evident.
Unique? Unlike anyone else? Of course I was. And so was every other person. Each of us God’s individual, unrepeatable creation. But obviously with much to say to each other! I began to wonder what else my life might have to communicate. I started pulling out notebooks, diaries, trip logs, faded photos.
It was two letters in 1999 that finally got me to my word processor. One was from a mother in the mid-west whose son had been sent home from college after locking himself in his dorm room for a week, asking if I’d written anything else about depression. “I gave him your Guideposts story, and it’s the only thing he’s read since he got home.”
The other letter came from a young woman in
British Columbia who
couldn’t remember the name of the piece she’d read in the Reader’s Digest about my strained relationship with my mother. (Mother’s
Desk.) “My mother and I have trouble communicating too. She never returns my
phone calls. I thought she might read that article.”
The two letters came within ten days of each other and acted as a kind of Why not, indeed!
“I think,” I said to Van, “I’m going to write that book.”
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
How very much God loves her – no matter what!
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.