. What are some of
the spiritual themes you like to write about? Sharon
I like to write about the hard questions that surface in our walk with God. Christians face difficulties that are hard to understand; we aren’t exempt simply because we follow Christ. In my own life, the death of my son, Brian, bears that out. And from that crisis came the question, What happens when God says no? Because He does say no at times – even for issues that are of the utmost importance to us – and it can derail us if we’re not aware of that. That question launched the idea for my featured novel, The Color of Sorrow Isn’t Blue.
I drew on my own loss to tell the story of a mother whose young daughter goes missing. The story was inspired by a family in my community whose adult daughter Cindy disappeared, and whose fate was unknown throughout the writing of this novel, and in fact whose fate was unknown for more than 10 years. The case was a national story. Cindy’s mother worked in the bank my family and I had our accounts with, so I saw the mother on a regular basis, and wondered how in the world she was able to cope under the enormous grief she and her family carried. So it’s not Cindy’s story, and it’s not Brian’s story, but I drew on both to create Kinsey’s story.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Without a doubt it would be Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I’d love to ask Ms. Lee some questions about it. For example, what was it like for a young white woman from
to write such a book in 1960, and what was the fallout, if any, for writing it?
I suspect there must have been fallout, because of how she withdrew from public
life. I’d like to know what the ramifications were and how the fame of the
novel affected her life. I’d also like to know about her decision not to
publish after To Kill a Mockingbird.
In no way do I believe she stopped writing, only that she stopped publishing,
and I’d like to ask her about that.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Charles Dickens, who is one of my favorite authors. I have a set of sketches of original covers from six of his novels, and signed by his last surviving great-grandson. They’re one of the best gifts my husband ever gave me. I know Mr. Dickens had his faults, but I’ve always found him fascinating.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I wrote for years before I was published, and quite honestly haven’t realized the success I’d hoped for, but my advice would be to hang in there, to not give up. Keep working at your craft, go to major writers conferences when you’re able – not just to meet industry professionals, but to meet other writers. The relationships you’ll make will be invaluable, and will help keep you going when you’re tempted to quit.
I’d also say, if you write purely to be published and successful, you’ll most likely be disappointed. But if you write because of the need to tell the stories living inside you, the satisfaction will be worth all the hours you invest, all the disappointment you work through, and all the improvement you see in yourself with every finished book.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Color of Sorrow Isn’t Blue is the story of Bristol Taylor, whose young daughter, Kinsey, went missing. The one-year anniversary is approaching, and with the grief and guilt
carries, she has no desire to be there for it. In fact, she plans to head to
the coast where she will take her life to commemorate the exact hour Kinsey disappeared.
But Bristol’s sister, best friend and crazy
stepmother have no intention of letting Bristol
be alone on the anniversary. Unaware of her true plans, they manage to thwart
her at every turn. In all my novels I write about serious topics, but I love to
infuse even the heaviest stories with humor, and this unlikely trio provide the
comic relief this time around.
Love covers a multitude of sins, they say, but can it truly redeem the irredeemable? That’s the question explored in The Color of Sorrow Isn’t Blue.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Grief, it is said, is a sea that ebbs and flows. Comes in waves that roll over the shore, then recedes in a dizzying, lose-your-footing-in-the-sand sensation, leaving you unsettled but standing. Well, whoever said that never felt the tsunami effect, the drowning, sucking, tidal wave of grief.
I know, because I haven’t come up for air in five days short of a year. A suffocating, black hole of a year, each day collapsing in on itself like sand too long unwatered. Eighty-six hundred hours; five-hundred thousand minutes; thirty-one million seconds of a smothering nightmare I
can’t wake up from. A long slow terror, like free-falling in the dark with no cord to pull.
I don’t plan to be here for the anniversary five days from now. Not after what I saw this morning.
“I’m going to the beach house for a few days. On Thursday.” I ignore the shadow that flits across David’s face and clouds his eyes.
He blinks, but I know it doesn’t clear up a thing. “This Thursday?”
I push down the pang of guilt that’s taken up residence in my gut this past year. “Yes.”
“But I thought ...” His words drift off with a head shake and a shrug.
I know exactly what he thought. He and I would do the interview together—because we aren’t the only ones watching the calendar—then we’d, what, pay a public visit to the Find Kinsey headquarters, strike a pathetic pose for the cameras, make another plea for our daughter’s return, then retreat to the cave that our home has become?
No, thank you.
The last printing we did of Kinsey’s “Missing” flyer is still stacked up on the brown laminated table with the pressed board showing through where the edges have chipped away—the only one left out of a room full of such tables—the stacks of flyers as high as they were five weeks ago. There are two brown metal chairs now instead of fifty, and that’s one more than we need most days. The phone seldom rings, and when it does it’s one more dead end, one more dagger to the heart.
I mean, really, how many times do we have to die before it’s over?
How can readers find you on the Internet?My website is www.sharonksouza.com. And I blog with five very talented authors at www.novelmatters.com.
Thank you, Sharon, for sharing this new book with us. I'm anxious to read it, and I'm sure my readers are, too.
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The Color of Sorrow Isn't Blue
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