Interview with Author Sharon Srock

Today we welcome author Sharon Srock. Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013.

Why do you write? 

Seems to be a God
thing. I never “dreamed of being a writer”. It took me by as much surprise as
anyone. I’m a pretty goal driven person, but with 2 jobs other than the
writing, my life was already busy. I’ve never pursued anything with the single
minded do-it-yesterday mindset that the writing has produced.

 Why do you write in this genre?

We’ll have to blame God for that as
well. These are the stories that are in my heart. When I started on the first
book, I didn’t know that “women’s fiction” was a genre. I’d never read anything
like what I was writing. I’ve read some very good women’s fiction since then,
but it still is not my genre of choice when I go book shopping. I tend to lean
more to romantic suspense, and courtroom drama. Can’t imagine writing either of those. Is that weird?



Tell us about your new
release

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a
family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning
God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a
temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s
book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster
child.  She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall
short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a
wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store? 

Where did you get your inspiration for this character? 

When I started the first book I wanted my characters to appeal to a wide range of women. Callie was mid fifties, and a working woman. Karla was 60 and newly retired. Pam was my 40 year old, on her second marriage and still raising her family. Terri was 29, single, and longing for a husband and family. When Steve Evans came along,
A successful single Hunk…it was just a match made in heaven.

If you could visit anyone of your characters who would it be and why?

That’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite. The answer is going to vary from one day to the next. All of my women have good and bad traits. Right this second I’d choose Samantha, but that’s just for now and driven by the fact that I’m writing her story and would love to be in her head better.

How do you balance your writing time with family and any other work you do?

 s I mentioned, I have two paying jobs, I have a husband, daughters, and  grands and great grands. They all like a hunk of my time on occasion. I write in lunch and break time snatches, a lot on weekends, and I try to work in some after work bits and pieces as well. My husband is pretty good with a fend-for-yourself night if I really need time at the computer. Example: Last Friday night was Terri’s facebook launch party. Friday is our weekly night out, but he left me at the computer, undisturbed for 3 hours, brought me food and drink, and cleaned up the kitchen after I crawled into bed.

Is there anything you would change about your writing journey?

I wish I had started earlier. I knew 25 years ago that this is what God called me to do.

The best and worst part about being a writer…Best, finally feeling like I’ve found my place in God’s plan.

Worst–the never ending waiting. I’m not a good waiter.

Is there anything else in life you’re passionate about? Other hobbies you’d like to pursue someday? 

Right now I’m into traveling. About 9 years ago my husband decided he didn’t care for vacations much. I started taking each of my grandchildren on a special trip, just me and them, working my down from oldest to youngest .We’ve been to Hawaii, The Grand Canyon, Cozumel, Disney, and several cruises. This year is my last grandchild trip. My youngest granddaughter and I are taking a Bahamas cruise and spending a couple of days at Disney. God has truly blessed me with the desires of my heart in allowing me to do this for each of them. The memories we’ve made are one of my treasured possessions. Next year the adult vacations start. My eldest daughter,
a friend, and I are doing an Alaskan cruise.

Thanks so much for joining us!

Connect with Sharon here:

Marveling at Jesus

Let’s really marvel at Jesus this week.
Let’s marvel at the fact that Jesus changed how the world expresses compassion,
that he shaped education, revolutionized art and changed political theory. In him,
we find hope and the one and only path to God.

For centuries, people lived distinctly
divided lives. Identity remained defined by the group into which each person
was born or married. Then Jesus taught people about God, himself, and the Holy
Spirit that would reside within them after his death, and he gave them a new
way to define themselves. Jesus presented an idea of community that no one had
ever seen. In this community, all manner of people, wealthy or poor, Gentile or
Jew, slave or free, were welcome.
           
Think
of all the dissimilar people that Jesus brought together! People like C.S. Lewis,
Bono, Joel Osteen, Denzel Washington, and Tim Tebow; all of them united
because of one man—Jesus Christ!
           
We
are all one body united in Christ. As sinners and broken people, whether we are
black or white, Asian or German, tall or short, single or married, parents or
children, hip or nerdy, new believers or spiritual authorities, we are one
community. Only one thing matters: Our identity is found in Jesus Christ, and
he lives in all of us. Jesus brought us all together. He gave us hope through
community. Who else could do that?
One of the most predominant principles shared in most westernized
societies is the right of citizens to obtain an education. From about five
years of age until around age eighteen, it is expected that children will
attend school and be taught the knowledge, skills, customs and values necessary
to shape them into productive members of society. This has become such a common
occurrence that it’s pretty much taken for granted. But it wasn’t always so.
           

The life and teachings of Jesus would radically alter the “status quo”
of education being a privilege only for the elite and would shape the
foundation of education. Jesus, the
ultimate Teacher of all time, set the precedence for making no distinction
between fishermen, women, rich, poor, outcasts, young or old. His classroom was
on mountaintops, in boats, synagogues, roadways and private homes. He taught
one-on-one, in small and large groups, both privately and publically. He used
methods that everyone could understand through parables, stories and everyday
life occurrences and examples.

Jesus revealed to us the mysteries of God; of His immeasurable truth,
love, mercy and grace. Through his teachings, Jesus gives us the hope of a
relationship with God and his death on the cross. His burial and resurrection
make that relationship a certainty. 
In Mark 3:17, Jesus taught that we are to
follow the rules laid down by government while still surrendering to God all
that belongs to God…which, of course, is everything else. In his time, Jesus’
statement was an abomination because he pointed out that, while government is
an important element in our lives, there is also another realm, a second and
ultimate authority by which we are governed. The Pharisees realized that, under
this man’s reign, their dominion could be profoundly limited, and they were
having none of it! But even by killing him, they couldn’t change what Jesus had
set into motion.
From that time until now, disciples of Christ have been standing on
these precepts. When it came time for our forefathers to design a governing
document for this new world, they purposefully based it on the teachings of
Jesus Christ: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, and have been endowed by their Creator with certain rights…”
           
Jesus was also the architect of our global concepts toward human rights
and dignity. He delivered a fresh perspective, and Galatians 3 reported that,
in Christ Jesus, there is no longer a   
distinction between people, and that we are all one our servanthood to
him. In this election year, it’s important to remember that this powerful
perspective grew sturdy legs throughout political history. Martin Luther King,
in fact, was inspired by scripture at The Mall in Washington, D.C. when he
began to quote the Book of Amos and   
ultimately moved forward to declare to the gathering crowd: “I have a
dream…that one day…”

 
# # #

Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most recent book, Always the Baker Finally the Bride is the final novel in the Another Emma Rae Creation series from Abingdon Press Fiction. Check out her website at www.SandraDBricker.com. 

Sandie leads a team of writers in creating the Living It Out daily Bible study for CedarCreek Church.
Today’s devotion is borrowed from the Living It Out study on HOPE. If you enjoyed it, feel free to check
out the daily
studies by e-mail or audio podcast by clicking HERE.

Five Reasons I Reject Manuscripts


It’s apparent the writer hasn’t actually read
books in the genres in which she is writing. 

If you have ever been tempted to think, “My first love is
horror, but I’ll write sunny children’s picture books because I heard an agent
say that was the hot market now,” slap some sense into yourself, please.
I’ve had writers tell me they have never read a YA book, but
they are writing YA because YA sells. The same goes for romance. They don’t
like romance—they think it’s rather silly and they are sure they can write a
silly romance in two weeks with one hand tied behind their backs.
Hear me: When you hold genre books in disdain but figure
you’ll knock out a few to support yourself while you work on your literary
novel, it will show in your writing. I’m not saying you can’t write a romance
while you work on your 800-page fantasy. I’m saying if you want to write
romance, you need to read and understand romance.

The writing is full of grammatical errors.


Has anyone ever read your stuff and thought that English was
your second language?
I hate to write this because I am sure that tomorrow or next
week, I’ll be scanning this very post and I’ll find typos and/or other errors.
Every time I get snarky about someone else’s shortcomings, God allows me to
fall flat on my face. Nevertheless, I have to say it: If you can’t write well,
in a technical sense, you need to hire an editor. Pay attention to your crit
partners, learn from the things they mark, and if you still can’t figure out
how to stop switching between present and past tense, hire an editor.

 The
writing feels wooden.


Vary your sentences. While writing, you should vary your
sentences. Before sending a proposal to an agent or editor, read over your manuscript,
checking to see if you’ve varied your sentence structure. Varied sentences make
the work more interesting to read.

And…slavishly following rules makes our writing feel wooden, too. 

Too much showing.


He went to the car. He opened the door. He sat in the
driver’s seat. He turned the key in the ignition. The engine roared to life.
This is the kind of writing we get when we pay too much
attention to the rule about showing instead of telling.  
Just tell me he hopped into the car and sped out of the
drive. I don’t need to see him turn the key—I know how to start a car. Don’t describe
the expressions on a person’s face or the feelings of despair in his gut so
often. Sometimes it’s OK to say she was happy instead of painting the wide smile
that filled her face like the sun coming over the mountains.

 I don’t care about what happens to the characters.


If the writing is clean and flows well, I still will reject a
story if I don’t care about the characters.
I don’t mean to say I dislike the characters so I turn the
books down. It’s that I don’t like or dislike them. I simply don’t care about
them one way or the other.
This is kind of a personal thing.
For me to care about a character, she must be vulnerable,
smart, and conflicted. She also must be willing to act to make her life better. A character with a good sense of humor is attractive to me.
And a character that is humble. I really love characters that are generous and suffering
unjustly. Give me Cinderella, any day. Sweet and hardworking, and her
troubles were not of her own making. She’s been wronged and I want to see her
get her own back.
But I don’t think we’re all attracted to the same
characters. I could not read Gone With the Wind, but look at how many people
cared about what happened to Scarlett.
What about you? What makes you automatically reject a book
and what attracts you to a character? 

photo credit: davemc500hats via photopin cc

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sally Apokedak
Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She’s in the process of of building a dynamite list of authors. She is also active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.