Welcome to 4F1H, Sharon!
By Jeff Salter
I’m no longer certain where or when I first encountered Sharon, but it was not long after I became aware of her group forum on Facebook: Christian Writers and Readers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristianWritersAndReadersGroupForum/
Before long, I was leaving comments, responding to the observations of others, etc. One day, Sharon said, “Jeff, why do you just join our group?”
I said, “Well…..”
Then she added, “We have snacks!”
I was hooked.
Well, that wasn’t exactly how it happened, but it certainly could’ve!
Anyway, I’ve enjoyed my visits to her group, and I’ve met several wonderful folks therein. One thing led to another and soon I was contributing little articles to Sharon’s monthly newsletter.
One day last month, I was looking at the schedule of interviews for MY group blog – 4F1H – and wondering, “Who shall be my Guest Fox for February?”
Hardly a moment went by before I got a FB message from Sharon asking about something unrelated. And I thought, “Hey, maybe Sharon’s available in February!”
And here is the book she’s featuring:
Paths of Righteousness:
Despite the love of an adoptive family, the loss of Kathryn’s parents and her brother has left a hole in her heart. To cope, she pours herself into her job at a medical clinic. Unwanted attention from a staff member adds fear to her anxiety. But could she escape him by changing her place of employment and home? A new doctor adds more complication to her life. Mixed signals make her think the worst of him, but his charm draws her. Her brother’s former college roommate adds to the tangled web of Kathryn’s emotions, as do recurring nightmares. Or are they warnings? Will she seek God’s guidance to make the right choices in the end?
# # # # #
Sharon K. Connell lived in Illinois through college, and for most of her adult life. California, Ohio, and Missouri all became home at one time or another until 1988. For over twenty years, Florida was her home, and during that time, she graduated from the Pensacola Bible Institute. Now retired from the business world, she resides in Houston, Texas, where she spends her days writing Christian Romance Suspense, with a bit of mystery added. She also writes short stories in a variety of genres. Sharon is a member of the following organizations: American Christian Fiction Writers, Houston Writers House, 2 Elizabeths Literary Magazine, CyFair Writers Group, and the Christian Womens Writers Club.
- Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Texas — wow, you’ve lived all over. Do you have a favorite of those states? Do you travel a lot to other places? Any place you wish you could have lived… even if only briefly?
[ *** SKC *** ] — Haven’t lived “all over,” just been all over. LOL. But out of the states I’ve been in, my favorites are Texas (of course) and Colorado. It’s absolutely beautiful in Colorado, especially Grande Junction, where we did spend some time with a pastor/friend. We really don’t travel very much anymore, due to some issues with my back and leg. Of all the places on earth, I wish I could have lived in Ireland, or Scotland, or England, or Hawaii. At least for a while. But I love my home in Texas.
- Not many people I know can claim to have worked for Wells Fargo. What can you tell us about that experience?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I was the Branch Secretary in the Wells Fargo Mt. Prospect office and handled everything from hiring guards, payroll, inventory of everything we used including uniforms, creating procedure manuals for the facilities our guard worked in, to firing guards. I even helped out the private detective when he needed a female voice on the phone. LOL. My boss was a former New Jersey Police Officer. I learned a lot from him and guards who were former police officers about protecting myself and others, and being observant.
- Your webpage says you write, “Christian Romance Suspense genre, mixing in a bit of mystery” wherever you can. What led you to that blend for your stories?
[ *** SKC *** ] — Like the ideas for my stories, it just seemed to come naturally in some of the plots to have a little mystery and keep the reader guessing. I had a ball doing it. And they seem to love it.
- How many novels do you have published now? Do you have a favorite?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I have four novels published, two of which have been rewritten into the deep point of view style to make them more engaging for the reader, and a third in the process of being rewritten. My fourth novel had been written in deep point of view the first time through. My favorite book is the first story I wrote, Paths of Righteousness (although it was published after A Very Present Help).
- How many stories do you have in the pipeline?
[ *** SKC *** ] — That’s a hard one. I have so many stories started in a file, I’ve lost count. But I do have one that’s further along than the others, which are mainly just ideas for stories. That one will be my next book. I’m of the opinion that I’ll never run out of plots or characters who get in trouble in some way.
- You publish an extensive monthly newsletter — what factors go into your decision about what to include?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I have an outline to follow, which I had set up before the first issue. Since then, I’ve added some sections. The actual articles that I include, like my stories, pop into my head and I go looking for someone who knows something about that idea, or I write it myself. But mostly, I have guest writers/authors who send in the articles. I do my own interviews of writers, authors, and/or readers. (That reminds me, have you been interviewed by me, Jeff?)
- How did you decide whether to produce a newsletter at all? Does its “reach” warrant the amount of time and effort you put into it?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I decided on the newsletter, because the ideas for blogging don’t come to me that often. I knew I had to do something to get my name out besides just writing my books, so a newsletter seemed like the right choice. It also helps me to connect with other writers and get to know them. I do blog, but only when I feel a strong urge to do so on a particular subject. Also, I didn’t want to be sending out blogs so often that people tuned me out. Once a month with an in-depth newsletter was what I’d like to receive myself. Something for everyone. Yes, I believe it does warrant the amount of time and effort I put into it. When I get comments from my readers like, this one from Author, Annette O’Hare. “…you do a really good job and I enjoy reading it every month…get a lot of newsletters that don’t have anything to hold my interest, but yours really does…”
- Your faith is obviously at the core of your life and writing. In what ways are your faith and your writing intertwined?
[ *** SKC *** ] — My faith is at the core of everything in my life. When I finally took the plunge and started writing, I prayed for guidance in the words I would put down. I’m in constant prayer over what I write, asking my Lord every morning to guide me. I want people to know my Savior, His grace, His mercy, and His will. I guess that’s why I’ve never had a problem with writer’s block or second guessing the scenes I’ve put into the stories. Preaching is not for me. However, I do want my readers to see God and what He can do for His children. One of my readers wrote this, “…I also appreciated how the author handled God in the narrative. It wasn’t preachy, even though there were some serious topics covered.”
It was my Lord…not me.
- I see many hobbies / activities listed on your web page — birding, gardening, painting, and singing. How do you find time to participate in all those varied activities?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I have to make time. These days, we do our birding from the back enclosed patio mostly. We have feeders in the yard and enjoy watching the various birds stop by, especially in the spring and fall migration. Although, on occasional we visit Bear Creek Park where there are many types of birds. Also, the bayous where we see the water fowl. Gardening is a constant thing. I take a break from the computer and do a little housework, then go outside and trim something, etc. My garden pretty much takes care of itself. The painting is what I do when I have to wait for my editor to send back the manuscript, or when I really need to take a longer break. Since I’m doing semi-abstract or impressionist paintings recently, they don’t take as long as the ones I used to do. And singing…well, I mostly sing when not even Arnie can hear me now. Used to sing specials in church, but my voice cracks too badly now from sinus problems. You don’t want to hear it.
- I’m intrigued by your apparent interest in humor. Tell us why humor is important to you.
[ *** SKC *** ] — Psalm 126:2 says: “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”
Like my newsletter says, Laughter is Good for the Soul. If you can get someone who is sorrowful to laugh, it helps them feel better. When is the last time you laughed and it felt bad? That’s why it’s important in my writing. No matter how serious the situation gets, if you can give the reader a comedic break, the reading doesn’t get dull or too heavy. I like to hear when my readers found something humorous. It makes me feel good inside, too.
- Seems like I read somewhere that you’re also a poet. Tell us about your poetry.
[ *** SKC *** ] — HA! I’d never classify myself as a poet. I have written some lines that I call poetry, but I’ve never studied it. What people have read that I’ve written, they liked, but that’s hardly being a poet. I have a lot of respect for people who can put words together that rhyme or have a melody all their own.
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[ *** SKC *** ] — Actually sales of my books and the reviews on them are not that important to me. Yes, I’d love to have hundreds of my books sold each day and I’ve love to daily hear a review about how wonderful they are, but my love is getting a story written and out for the reader to enjoy. That’s why I write. The genre and length I writing in now is what I love. Maybe someday I’ll write an historical romance or a great novel in the genre of fantasy, but I’m content right now.
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[ *** SKC *** ] — Not really. But then I do spend most of my time with writers and readers. LOL I don’t think my children quite understood why I started to write, and maybe some of my co-workers wondered why I was writing, but they never said anything to me about it. Mostly, I’ve had encouragement from everyone.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[ *** SKC *** ] — I suppose I’d be a painter.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[ *** SKC *** ] — I’ve had so many tell me that my writing has either inspired them, or encouraged them, or helped them get closer to God. I hear it occasionally on Facebook, even in our group forum. I believe any writer/author who loves what they are doing, seeks God’s guidance, and writes for the reader will experience that.
- In the conversations (about writing) that you’ve had over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked?
[ *** SKC *** ] — “Do we really have to follow all the rules?” No one’s ever really come out and asked me about that, although most of the people I know, know my opinion on that subject. I’ve been quite vocal about it. LOL. You have to know the rules. Then you break them to make your writing natural. I could say more, but you didn’t ask.
- What’s your answer to # 16 above?
[ *** SKC *** ] — Aha! You did ask. So, after you know the rules, you wring your first draft and then go back and make sure the dialogue sounds natural. The way people really talk. That means you have to break the rules. Prepositions at the end of sentences, etc. Now that’s not in narrative. When you are writing as the author’s voice, you need to follow the rules. It shows you know what you’re doing.
Thank you for the interview, Jeff. I appreciate the opportunity to be on your blog. I also appreciate the part you play in my newsletter and in our group forum. God bless you.
Question for today’s blog readers:
When you are reading a book, would you like everything spelled out for you and explained to you, or would you rather have a story that left a little wiggle room for you to supply 1) some of the descriptions, 2) reasons for the action of the character(s), 3) other minor details. I’m not talking about major things that you NEED to know to make sense of the story, but those little things. I’ve read stories that went on and on with details, when I just wanted the story to continue and supply those things for myself. But maybe that’s just me.
Paths of Righteousness