Sunday, October 12, 2008

Author Sharlene MacLaren - LONG JOURNEY HOME - Free Book

I've featured Sharlen Maclaren on this blog before. We've become good online friends through Shoutlife and ACFW. Now we've spent time together at the ACFW national conference in Minneapolis. I just love her, and if you've read this blog very long, you know I love her books.

Sharlene, Tell us about your salvation experience.

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home, but I didn’t make Christ my ‘own’ by inviting Him into my heart until I was about 16. Until then, I’d been floating along on my parents’ spiritual apron strings. Even though I never strayed or rebelled much as a teenager, I knew in my heart I was a sinner in need of a Savior. One night at a special meeting I stepped out of my pew and walked forward during an invitation, and I have never looked back. That was 43 years ago. Yep—do the math!

How did you and your husband meet?

Oh, my! Don’t get me started. Talk about romance! Okay, I’ll try to do the shortened version. I first met my husband when I was 12 and he was 8. My oldest brother married his oldest sister. So, in some ways we grew up acting like brother and sister. (I thought he was a cute little kid. Haha.) We continued being very close friends all the way through college and into adulthood, but I always had a boyfriend and he had girlfriends. In fact, he was engaged for a time while he was in the Air Force. After he broke off his engagement in the summer of 1975, I called him from my apartment to console him (haha, I was secretly thrilled to hear they’d broken up), and that began a string of phone conversations that went on for the next four to five weeks prior to his discharge from the AF. I was 27 and he had just turned 24, and for the first time in a long while, neither of us was ‘attached’. Whamo! We had our first “good look” at each other when he got off the plane that September of ’75. Guess what! We fell in love within a week and were married that December, just three months later. And it’s been 32 ½ GLORIOUS years!

We have so much in common. As I shared with you, James and I met three months and three days before we married. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?

Oh, my word! What a question! To tell you the truth, I don’t know many authors personally other than through email, the ACFW online loop, and the conferences we’ve attended together. I’m not even a member of a critique group. I know, hard to believe. Who doesn’t belong to a critique group, right? I may sound like a party-pooper here, but there are so many people I’d love to spend more time getting to know as authors and friends that I don’t think I could possibly narrow it down to just four.

I know you have a singing and speaking ministry. Tell us about that.

Well, since jumping headlong into a writing career, my music has, shall we say, moved to the backseat. I love to sing, though, and am still involved in the local worship team and choir, but I don’t sing the solos at weddings or perform at other churches as I once did. As for speaking, I do so when asked, but it’s not a regular occurrence for me.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?

You mean I have to come up with just one? I’ll tell you what, everyone who knows me will say I don’t embarrass easily, and that’s the truth. My utter joy in life is to goof up and make people laugh. (And I do naughty things, too!) Just a couple of weeks ago at a church business meeting with a couple hundred in attendance, I pulled a McDonalds toy out of my purse and handed it to my best friend sitting next to me. (We were in the second row, by the way.)

“Here’s a present for you,” I whispered.

She looked at it and tossed it back on the pew.

“It makes noise,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s nice,” she said, even as she shook her head at me. Oh, I could read that ‘Don’t you dare’ look in her eyes. (People should never give me that look.)

“Wanna hear it?” I asked. “No!” she hissed back at me.

Now, my husband was on the platform delivering a very important end-of-the-year budget plan to the congregants, as he is our church administrator. Well, I personally thought the general ‘flavor’ of the evening was just too somber. I mean budgets, come on! B-O-R-I-N-G! So, in one fluid moment, I picked up that toy, pulled the string on it and away it went—singing a loud, happy tune with ugly, blaring instruments! (It was one of those American Idol toys that McDonalds was putting in their Happy Meals.)

My girlfriend nearly died of hysterics, her husband moved several feet away from us, and I fiddled with the toy trying to find its off button. Ha! The pew behind us cracked up and everyone else in the church just thought it was somebody’s cell phone with a very annoying ring tone. What did my husband have to say to me later? Not much. He’s used to me!

People are always telling me they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?

In fact, someone said that very thing to me tonight at a funeral home. I know, crazy place for such a conversation. What I generally say is go for it! You will never know until you try. I didn’t write my first book until the year 2000 – 8 years ago. I always loved writing, but I’d never actually tried to write an entire book until I reached the ripe age of 51. Looking back, I am so glad God put the idea in my head to sit down at my computer that fine summer day. If I hadn’t taken the risk, just gone for it, I wouldn’t have a string of published books today. You have to at least try it!

Sharlene, tell us about the featured book.
Long Journey Home was my first ever manuscript. Of course, it’s been revised, rewritten, revamped, re-edited, re-, re-, re- a zillion times over. You get the idea. But it is very, very dear to my heart, mainly because it was my “first-born” book.
Here’s a two-sentence synop: Two hurting souls, one a newly divorced young mom, and the other a recently widowed pastor, meet and immediately clash. Can they come to see life’s tragedies as part of a bigger, all-encompassing plan, and will the power of God heal their hearts and help them love again?

Sounds like a book I want to read. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love visitors to my websites and blogs and I always reply to comments, questions, or just your friendly email. Please stop over whenever you have a minute. You’ll find me at any of these places:
Sharlene, thank you for sharing this time with us. We'll have you back with the next book.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Long Journey Home. Then check out Sharlene's websites. She's also on Facebook now.


kalea_kane said...

Please do not enter me for the free book. I won this a while back on Shoutlife from Shar. She is just amazing! I highly recommend the book to anyone. I have already lent it out twice, and both of my friends loved it. It is a great story, and I just loved the characters! Thanks for posting the interview. The story of Shar and Cecil's romance was awesome to read!



Becky C. said...

This sounds like a very interesting book.

Please enter me in the contest!

Thank you,

Becky C.

Martha A. said...

I really have enjoyed her other books and would love to win this one!

Tami said...

Thank you for the interview and the opportunity to win what sounds like a great book.

six sunflower seeds @ gmail dot com

windycindy said...

Sharlene seems like a very personable and fun person! It is so interesting to learn about author and how their books came about. The cover of her book is a good one. Please enter me in your book drawing. Many thanks,

SHARLENE said...

HI, EVERYBODY! Thanks for stopping by Lena's blog to read the interview!

Hope y'all have a wonderful week!

Wishing you God's richest blessings...


Patty said...

I would love to win this book. I have not had the opportunity to read any of Shar's books yet, although I have been dying to.


Jo said...

Sharlene sounds like she has such a wonderful personality and I would love to be entered in the drawing to win her book. It sounds like a terrific read and I am definitely wanting to read her books.


Lucie said...

Please enter me in the drawing for "Long Journey Home". Sharlene sounds like a kick! Fun interview, thank you!


LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting! Thanks!


herblady said...

Good morning!

I would like to win this book as well. Gosh, ladies, I waited a whole four months to get engaged and another four before we married. That was pretty shocking way back when!
Shar, you must be my blonde twin! I have the same photo of me as the one at the top of the article. I have the same haircut, same pose, same color on (except that mine is a mohair sweater that I knit). I think that is so funny!

hrbeck_98 (at)

Carole said...

Thank you for the interview, and I would love to win a copy of Sharlene's book. One reviewer wrote that it was one of the best romance stories she had read. Thank you for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anonymous said...

This just sounds like a wonderful book and I am very anxious to read it.

Grateful Gramma said...

Sounds interesting. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks!

lilac grandma said...

Thanks for the encouragement that you are never too old to start!!!
Please enter me. love and prayers Melody msproule1225@gmaildotcom

SHARLENE said...

Oh, my GOODNESS! I can't believe all the comments on here! Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to read the interview. It was such a blast to do.
And by the way, Herblady, would love to see your pic. If we are twins, we need to meet. teehee.

Happy week to all of you, precious friends!

Love and Hugs,

P.S. Yes, Lucie, I admit it; I am a KICK!

Donn Taylor said...

Sounds like an interesting book by an interesting person. Married 32-1/2 years? That's a good start!
Donn Taylor

Stormi said...

I would love to win this book. I love Sharlene MacLaren's historical books and so I am interested in winnig one of her contemperary books.


Stormi said...

Read Sharlene's historicls and love them so I would love to give her contemperary books a try.


Merry said...

I've enjoyed Sharlene's books, please add my name for Long Journey Home. Thanks!


Doreen said...

Ohhh I loved reading the 'embarrasing moment'! LOL Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode when Tweety was put on Elaine's leg by Jerry and she burst out laughing!! Please enter me into this for the book, thanks! purposedrivenlife4you (at) gmail (dot) com

Katie said...

I would love to read this book.. Please enter me in this contest. Thank You

katie8407 (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview! Sounds like a very interesting book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

Chesh said...

I have a friend that feels like love just isn't for her and I keep teeling her that God has someone out there for her. This book sounds like a great one to give her. Please sign me up!!

angelleslament @

Carolynn said...

I love Sharlene's books and can't wait to read this one! Thanks so much for the chance to win!