Bio: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows—some born of chance, some born of choice. Once a senior vice president at a major investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering, where he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. His first novel, The Reason, was published in 2012. The Sinners’ Garden is his second novel. He is the father of two and makes his home in southern
Welcome, William. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Probably more than I usually admit. While serving a three year sentence in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering, God taught me many lessons in terms of patience, grace, forgiveness, and most importantly, realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around William Sirls. Before long, I became extremely anxious to share the things I learned, so I figured there would be no better way for me to do that than to sprinkle these lessons amongst characters in my writing. For those that know me, I’ve had several people say that I’m quite a bit like Zach Norman in The Reason and even more like the fresh-out of-jail ex-con Gerald “Rip” Ripley who wants to share the things he’s learned in The Sinners’ Garden.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve done more than my fair share of quirky things, but one that sticks out was when me and a few buddies were in college and were at a shopping mall. We all had sunglasses on and stepped up into an empty display in front of a window. We all posed like mannequins and had several people stop and do double-takes. It was fun.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I always considered myself to be more of a storyteller than a writer, and it was probably close to a year after The Reason came out that I was blessed to win Best Debut Author award over in
England at .
I just sort of sat there and shook my head, thinking maybe I was a writer after
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ll read just about anything. I’ve been reading a ton of non-fiction lately, mostly Max Lucado’s stuff. In terms of fiction, I’m currently reading The Living Room by Robert Whitlow and Under the Dome by Stephen King. How’s that for variety in terms of opposite ends of the genre spectrum?
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
By plugging in every day to God. Like so many of us, I used to be caught in the daily routine that didn’t make time for God. Wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, kiss the kids goodbye, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then kiss the kids goodnight only to wake up the next day and do it all over again without making time for God. Now He gets the first hour of every day along with a few hellos throughout.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
In The Reason, the bulk of the characters are named after members of my immediate family. In The Sinners’ Garden, they are named after friends of mine.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, including a mistake that led me to federal prison. Despite all of these mishaps, I feel that one thing I’ve accomplished is being a great father. The relationships I have with my two daughters puts a smile on my face just typing this. I’m very fortunate to have them.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
According to my children, based on the technology I use, I guess I’d be a dinosaur.
What is your favorite food?
Spaghetti today and better yet, spaghetti warmed up tomorrow.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Patience is a problem for when I write. When I’m putting a story together, I usually write the ending first, that way I have a target to hit. But sometimes, I’m so anxious to get to certain scenes, I find myself in too much of a hurry to get there. Instead of forcing the story, I’m learning to be patient … and when I do that, the characters tell me what to do instead of the other way around.
Tell us about the featured book.
In the small Lake Erie
, someone is at
work cultivating a supernatural garden … township
Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.
As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Judi walked to the kitchen window again and glanced out to the front yard, hoping to see Todd’s headlights cutting through the darkness as he made his way up the winding gravel driveway toward their farmhouse. She swallowed a sip of cold coffee and shoved past a wave of disappointment, wondering why he was late this time. With a sigh, she opened the oven door, worried the food was getting dried out, three hours after she and Andy had eaten. The chicken and stuffing still looked okay, she decided with some relief. And it definitely smelled good.
“Mumma?” a small voice called from the living room. It was Andy, her three-year-old son, who’d been sleeping on the living room couch for the better part of an hour. She knew she should’ve put him to bed long ago, but she kept hoping Todd would get home. That he’d want to tuck his son in this time.
“One second, baby,” she said, walking over to the sink. She filled a pot halfway with water before taking it over to the stove. The click-click-click sound of the burner preceded a blue flame that quickly set to warming the bottom of the pot.
If you would like to read more, the first 40 pages are available by clicking here.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can find me on my website at www.williamsirls.com, on Facebook under William Sirls Author, or on Twitter @williamsirls.
Thank you, William, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.The Sinners' Garden - Christianbook.com
The Sinners' Garden - Amazon
The Sinners' Garden - Kindle
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