Friday, June 01, 2012

LADY AND THE SEA - Sharon Leaf - One Free Book

Sharon and I are co-hosts with two other woman on the Gate Beautiful blog radio show. Welcome, Sharon. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters?
As much as possible. My debut novel, Lady and the Sea, is based on a true story, so I wrote my heart and soul into those characters.  The protagonist, Rosie Atkisson, has my fine qualities, but after a few months of writing, she began taking on her own unique personality.  Ellen, the antagonist, is a young woman who says what she thinks.  Now, that is how I would like to be but I know Ellen’s words would get me into way too much trouble, and I would regret saying them.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oh my, do I have to narrow it down to one?  I met my husband on the phone, so when we decided to meet face-to-face, he asked, “How will I recognize you?”  I hesitated, then I answered in an oh-so-sultry voice, “Well, for one thing, I’m a knockout!”  Of course I was joking, but Rob told me later that he had second thoughts about meeting me because suddenly I sounded quite stuck-up.  But he also admitted, “You’re right, Sharon … you ARE a knockout.”   Rob and I were married a year later and we’re celebrating our twenty-fourth anniversary this month.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In sixth grade my mother gave me a diary with its very own key for Christmas.  I’ve been writing ever since. 

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Biographies, autobiographies, adventure--anything that takes me on someone’s personal journey.  I love going to a bookstore and picking up a book (I don’t have to know the author), looking at the front cover, reading the back, then taking it home and experiencing their journey.  The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran was such a book.  I’m an avid fan of Bodie Thoene, author of historical fiction. When I was a volunteer for fourteen months on the World War II ship MS Restoration, I read the Zion Covenant series while sailing the seven seas. 

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
At my wonderfully savvy age of sixty-six, I’ve learned to pace myself.  I prioritize:  God, family, writing, eating, reading, drinking, watching my favorite movies over and over.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I choose character’s names from family and friends, although several of my characters in Lady and the Sea were names that had an attitude, like Prissy.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am proud that I completed a ½ marathon and lived to tell about it.  Oh, I almost forgot … I’m proud that I received a degree in Theology at the age of sixty.  And of course, I am most proud of my recently published debut novel, Lady and the Sea, proving that it is never too late for dreams to come true.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If I could be any animal, I would be a horse.  When I was a little girl I pretended to be a horse, bucking and whinnying (not whining!) all around the house.  I played with my brother’s plastic horses, Roy Roger’s horse Trigger and the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver.  Why?  Because they run wild and are magnificent creatures to behold.  I guess I’m just a wild and free woman at heart!  (smile)

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is bread.  Hot, warm, cold, soft, hard; doesn’t matter.  With lots of melted butter.  With or without jam; doesn’t matter.  Yes, bread is my favorite weakness.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock to writing is watching my favorite movies—over and over.  If I could take back all the hours I spent watching my favorite movies I would have finished Lady and the Sea in half the time, plus another book or two.  I still can’t get enough of Out of Africa and Return to Me.  How did I overcome it?  I threw them out with a loaf of stale bread.

Tell us about the featured book.
Lady and the Sea is a story about faith and forgiveness, sprinkled with adventure and romance on the high seas and at home.  After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie Atkisson struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with her husband, Jesse, in Southern California.  But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration

A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia, to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life?  In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie says yes to that inner Voice that is saying GO!

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship - from a hurricane to symptoms of a heart attack, from miracles to the M word—menopause—and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor – Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One ~ July 1995
Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the Haifa harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel.  As two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.

The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”

Rosie grabbed the rail.  “Do they think we’re terrorists?”

Jesse touched her arm.  “Rosie, calm down.”

“Do they think we’re pirates?

“Just calm down” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.

“Will they make us jump overboard?  I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke, fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.

 “Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”

Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who’d brought her on this unpredictable journey.  Jesse’s right.  What’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  She didn’t dare leave his side.

The ship, her fellow crew members, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination.  No more troubled waters.  No more hurricanes.  No more delays.  On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.

Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck.  “Isn’t this ironic?  We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”

“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.

Within seconds, they were dead in the water.

Rosie’s stomach churned.  She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip.  After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm.  She’d heard stories about people who’d experienced close calls.  Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war.  “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” Talmage said.

Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me on my website at  I’m on Facebook at and I also have a Lady and the Sea Facebook page.  My blog is

Lena, thank you for giving me the opportunity to chat with you.

It was my great pleasure to welcome you here, Sharon.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Lady And The Sea: A Novel Based On A True Story - paperback
Lady and the Sea: A Novel Based on a True Story - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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 Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Diana Gardner said...

Looks very interesting. Please enter me in the drawing. Portsmouth, VA

Sharon Leaf said...

Thanks, Diana! I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings on your daily journeys.

Miralee Ferrell said...

I met Sharon several years ago and had the privilege of reading some of her original manuscript when she was writing it as a non-fiction. I urged her to consider rewriting and making it a novel, as I felt the premise was strong and it could be a gripping novel. I'm so glad she did and so thrilled it's out and available. I'd love to win a signed copy! Thank you and God bless, Sharon!

debra123 said...

Oh, may i please answer the question about the quirkiest thing you've done...please oh please!

debra123 said...

Oh, may i please answer the question about the quirkiest thing you've done...please oh please!

Pam K. said...

I like that the main character of this book is a 48 year old woman. It will be nice to read a book about a woman who has some experiences behind her and is still adventurous (or perhaps just obedient).


Sharon Leaf said...

Mirallee, rewriting my 100,000-word manuscript from non-fiction to a novel (based on a true story) was a labor of love. Debra, I have SO many; I'll have to see if my memory will allow me to walk down memory lane. Pam, so many women who have read Lady and the Sea can relate to Rosie (the main character), but I was told of a 13-year-old girl who picked up her mother's copy and loved it because she had never heard of the holocaust. It is a book for all seasons of a woman's life. Thanks everyone for your comments.

Irene Onawumi said...

Tried to comment before. Hope it works now :)) I would love your book Sharon! I promise to never tell Popcorn that you would pick to be a horse instead of the best animal there is :)

Sharon Leaf said...

Irene, it is our little secret! Whinny! Whinny! (not to be confused with whining!

Anonymous said...

looks like a good read, i would love to win'
Pat cowans

Ladette said...

Sounds like a great book! I also love the fact that the book isn't about a 20-something. :)

I live in Savannah.

Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!


Linda Kozar said...

Sharon--my cohost and bud! I loved your interview! Your sparkling personality really comes out in absolutely everything you do.

L. K. L. said...


I just found you. Your book sounds interesting.

Sharon Leaf said...

Linda, I'm sparkling because of the sparkling champagne I had for breakfast ... ooops ... I mean the sparkling apple cider I had for breakfast!
Girls, my book is proof that the best is yet to come for those who live to be over the hill ... oops again ... who live to be over forty! I still get my kicks at age sixty-six!
I hope to get to know all of you before this journey is over. Oceans of blessings!

Mary Preston said...

What an adventure Rosie goes on. LADY AND THE SEA will be a great read.

Mary P


apple blossom said...

sounds like an adventure to me. love to win thanks for the chance.
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sharon Leaf said...

Thanks, ladies! May the best lady win a journey of adventure, faith, sprinkled with romance on the high seas! LADY AND THE SEA awaits you.

rubynreba said...

Lady and the Sea looks like a book I would enjoy.
Beth from Iowa

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks Interesting! enter me.
Blanch, N.C.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview, I loved it. Your Book sounds so good, I can't wait to read it, please add me to your Contest.

I live in S.Illinois


Lane Hill House said...

Thank you so much!!! Wildflowers from Winter final copy!!! Yes!!!
will be sending my address to you ~*~

Lane Hill House said...

Lady and the Sea. Please put me in the drawing for this book. Intrigue! Thank you.

Sharon Leaf said...

I'm hoping to meet y'all again on FB and/or your websites; I just have to learn how to connect the dots ... Websites ... Facebook ... Circles (now that's a new one for me ... learning as I go. Happy sailing everyone!

Krista said...

Sounds good. Please enter me.

Krista in Oregon

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Unknown said...

New author, Lena...which at this point i thought would be impossible, as i have read so many. Love the idea of the World War II ship being a part of the novel. Thanks for the chance to win

Marianne from Northern Alberta

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misskallie2000 said...

This sounds like a very suspensefull story and I would love to read. Sharon is a new author for me and I enjoy finding new authors.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

I live in Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Sharon Leaf said...

Yes, I'm a new author but I've been around the block--and the world--a few times. Join me for an adventure you'll feel part of, ports-of-call you've always wanted to visit, without leaving the comfort of your living room. Well, at least for now. You'll never know what God has in store for you until you leave your safe shore and jump into a new ocean!

Anonymous said...

Oh i love that this involves a woman older..... I would love to read!! Terri C.

Bethany Williams said...

I am looking forward to reading this novel. Thank you for sharing this interview & the 1st page. Please enter me into the drawing.

kvwriter said...

Sounds like a great story! So nice to meet you!

Kim Villalva
Dayton, OH

Anonymous said...

wonderful interview! awesome book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks Sharon for an inspiring work of art!

Sharon Leaf said...

Roxie, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the journey of Lady and the Sea. If you win a copy, you can give it to another woman who loves to read a story about faith, forgiveness, adventure, and romance. Oceans of blessings!

Merry said...

Lady of the Sea sounds so intriguing, I'd love to win it!
Merry in TX

Sharon Leaf said...

Merry, I wish you smooth sailing on your journey through life and good luck in the upcoming drawing for Lady and the Sea.

Sharon Leaf said...

Bethany, keep reading your Bible and take a little time to read Lady and the Sea for a story of romance and adventure on the high seas as Rosie reaches within to find faith for her forgotten dreams.

Sharon Leaf said...

Hi ladies! I hope y'all have found some good summer reads. If you haven't read my novel, LADY and the SEA, you can order on, ebooks, or my website
I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings! Your almost-famous author, Sharon Leaf