Sunday, July 20, 2008

Author Sharon Hinck - SYMPHONY OF SECRETS - Free Book

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.

Welcome back one of my favorite authors, Sharon Hinck. This time we're going with a different kind of book from The Restorer series, which we all loved. I know we'll love this one just as much.

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.

An interesting cover. Tell us about the featured book.

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.


cathikin said...

How about that? Michael Card is my favorite living singer-songwriter. I've met him and his wife Susan, first time back before they had kids. Sharon, I love your writing and your heart for the Lord. I love the way you incorporate music in your novels as well, so Symphony of Secrets was a natural title for you to use.

luv2read said...

Enter me in the drawing. I loved the Becky Miller books. I was so able to relate to them with 4 children at home. Renovating Becky Miller got me through a move with the family this past year.

windycindy said...

Fascinating interview! I have read good things about her book! Please enter me in your contest for her mystery book. Thanks very much! Cindi

Bethany said...

I have not yet read Sharon's books, but sure would love to. Please enter me.
(btw, in her picture, Sharon looks a lot like my cousins!)


bigguysmama said...

We read The Restorer for our book club this month and we'll be discussing it tonight! Soooo excited. I met Sharon when The Restorer's Son came out last year and she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! I would LOVE to win this book. Please enter me in this contest.

Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

Abi said...

Oh, I love the cover. Nice!! I'd love to win this book. I love music and listening to symphony music is wonderful. My oldest daughter me be intrigued with the book also because she plays the flute. Oh, please pick me to win this book.

Donna M said...

I love the Becky Miller books. Raising three children is difficult and I could relate to Becky. I love it when authors make characters that seem real, sort of like a new friend. Please enter me in this contest.

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Cathikin! Isn't music a wonderful gift from God? I love how He uses it to draw us close, and often to heal and comfort us, too!

Luv2Read - I LOVE that Renovating Becky offered you some encouragement during the GRUELING job of moving your family.

Windy - glad to hear you've heard good things. :-)

Bethany - maybe we are long lost cousins :-)

Mimi- I hope your book group has a GREAT time discussing. Thanks for your sweet words. You are such an encouragement.

Abi - I know flutists will appreciate the story. :-)

Donna - One of my great goals is that people feel like the characters in my novels are a new friend. THANK YOU!!!

Blessings to you all!

MaryZ said...

Great interview from a talented author! Sharon's stories are very unique and engaging. Please include me, thanks.

sarah w said...

I haven't read Sharon's books, but would like to. Please enter me in the contest.

Carole said...

I'm a church musician and would love to read Sharon's book. Thanks for the interview and a chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Grateful Gramma said...

I'd love to read the book. Please enter my name too. Thanks!

Lucie said...

Please enter me to win Symphony of Secrets. Sounds very intriguing! Thank you! And thank you for the interview with Sharon Hinck as well.



Rannza said...

Good morning

Thank you both so much for such an interesting interview.

Books are also treasures to me, so please enter me in the draw for this treasure, especially as I haven't found any of Sharon's books for sale here in South Arica.

Thank you

God bless


Carolynn W. said...

Sounds like a fun book, please enter me, thanks!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an uplifting and fun book. I could really use that right now. Thanks for the interview as well. It's always nice to be introduced to the author as a real person.

Cherie J said...

Great interview! Please enter me in the drawing.

Pamela J said...

I'm hoping the drawing hasn't taken place yet, I would really love to win this book. Please enter me. I have read the Restorer Series and loved them all. In fact, my husband and I read them together! I'm sure he would love to join me in reading this one as well. Thanks.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

Please enter me in the drawing. The book sounds like a great read and I would love to read it.