Yea!!! I'm finally back online with the data I need to put up the scheduled interviews. We'll have an extra interview for the next couple of weeks so we can catch up.
Sharon, what are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I find myself returning often to the way that God can use even the unlikely, ordinary, or broken to share grace with others. That recurs in The Secret Life of Becky Miller and Renovating Becky Miller, where an overwhelmed young mom wonders if she is making a difference. It’s a central theme of The Restorer, The Restorer’s Son, and The Restorer’s Journey – as God chooses and equips improbable people for unique purposes. In Symphony of Secrets, the mystery of God’s grace shows up in the way He woos someone who doesn’t acknowledge Him – someone who also is seeking a way to be an unlikely heroine.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Stepping Into Sunlight will release in the fall of 2008. A young mom witnesses a violent crime right after moving to the Tidewater area of Virginia where she doesn’t know anyone, and only days later her husband leaves on his first deployment as a Navy chaplain. She suffers from post-traumatic stress and isolation, and begins to take small steps toward healing – including a project to try to do a small kindness for a different person each day. There is both humor and courage in her journey, and I love the variety of supporting characters and strange events that contribute to her adventure.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Michael Card. My son met him at college and said he was inspiring and down-to-earth, and I’d love to hear his stories of serving God through the poetry of his music, as well as his writing.
I love his music, too. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
I’ve always adored authors. Books have been treasures to me all my life. So I probably always had a secret dream to write a novel one day - but it was too outrageous a dream for me to voice. In about fourth or fifth grade, I read the story of Nellie Bly, a journalist who went undercover and wrote exposés that led to social change. That was when I knew I wanted to write in some way, but still didn’t imagine writing novels. As an adult, after many years in other Christian arts, raising children, and seeking God for “what’s next?,” I felt His call to get back to writing – but still wasn’t sure what that would include. Magazine articles? Non-fiction books? Songs? I kept praying and trying things and seeking. Then I joined a small Christian writer’s group, and many of the members were working on novels. I suddenly felt the dream burst back to life and began my first novel.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
On a purely practical level, I have some suggestions and resources at my website on the “Encouragement – for writers” page.
But on a deeper level, cling to the vital truth. God cares about YOU – not as a tool to use, but as a dear child to cherish. Time spent creating art for Him as a gift of love is never wasted, whether or not it’s published.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with checking in with Him frequently. I’m a practical person, and want to use my time wisely.
I’ve often set goals that were all my grandiose idea, and I kept asking Him to bless my plans instead of stopping to hear His guidance. I try to remember that just because He has called me to write, doesn’t necessarily mean He’s called me to be published. Keep seeking Him. If there are other places He wants you to serve, He’ll show you that. If He calls you to keep writing – then do it with all you have, and trust Him with the results. And be flexible. If you’ve written five or six complete novels and still aren’t getting nibbles, ask Him if there are other forms of writing that might be a better fit.
But if you feel the calling to continue writing novels, keep reading, studying, writing, growing, and enjoy the time you spend with Him at your keyboard.
Talented flutist Amy Johnson's dreams come true when she wins a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony. But this armchair detective has trouble concentrating on the notes as she begins to see devious motives behind her fellow musicians' mishaps. Meanwhile, her musically talented daughter is forsaking the arts for cheerleading. Amy has to confront questions of faith, challenges of being the single mom of a teen daughter, and the secrets of her past – all while solving the mystery of the symphony before it’s forced to close and she loses not only her dream job but her promising new relationship with its conductor.
This was a fun book to write. I love the notion that God woos us, and speaks to us in languages we understand. In Amy’s case, God sparks the first glimmers of faith by reaching out to her through music. It was also fun to draw from my own experiences to create the character of an obsessed musician (it’s not that different from being a neurotic writer!) A little sprinkling of mystery and romance added some flavor, but at it’s core, it is like all my books – a story of a woman doing the best she can with the challenges she faces, wrestling spiritual questions, and growing.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Sharon, thank you for once again spending time with us.
Readers, check out her website. I love the design as well as the content.
And don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.