Guest Fox, Sharon K Connell

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.

Sharon K Connell

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!”

She is.

And here is the book she’s featuring:

Paths of Righteousness

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.

Interview:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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?)

  1. 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…”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Website: http://sharonkconnell.com/

Paths of Righteousness

https://youtu.be/bBC25TioE9c

www.amazon.com/dp/1732923701

 

 

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About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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28 Responses to Guest Fox, Sharon K Connell

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Welcome, Sharon! I read several books by one author who spent a lot of time describing each character as he or she was introduced, including eye color, hair color, height … I found that boring. I’d rather know more about the person’s character. Physical attributes can be sprinkled in when they have a direct effect on the storyline. I agree with you – one needs to KNOW the rules… and then you can break them. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your new book.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Guest Fox, Sharon K Connell – Sharon K. Connell

  3. You’re very welcome, Patricia. It’s funny how different readers are more interested in one thing or another. With you, it’s not the description of the character, as you said, and yet others seem to want a picture drawn of the character in all it’s detail. I try to balance everything to give the reader a general idea of what the character looks like and a clue to their personality traits. The rest I leave up to them so they can add their own details. I think it makes the story more personal to the reader if they have a chance to add something. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Welcome, Sharon!
    I moved here (KY) from Colorado and I loved it. It’s nice to have experiences, but God puts us in places where we need to be, and slows us down, which means we are to write, (or whatever we need to do).
    It is always nice to hear that someone else asks for guidance from Above.
    As for description…ooooh, that is hard to judge, isn’t it? It is nice to give your readers a sense of being THERE, but then, you don’t want to bog them down. Tough call. I think better to err on the side of caution and cut back, more than over-do. Also, characters can be open to interpretation; after all, do we REALLY ever know what is going on in anyone else’s mind? Sometimes, we don’t know ourselves.
    It is so good to get to know you better.I have always been grateful when you have commented on my posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I had a contest judge (at least once) grade me very low on a category because she/he asserted that the reader had no idea what my characters looked like.
      I think that was an exaggeration, even though it was true that I had not described those characters extravagantly.
      My beta reader has often nudged me to add details like those.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Again, a fine line. Still, it helps those without writers’ minds to give them something to picture, Jeff. You have to understand that many people have little imagination.

        Liked by 1 person

      • When I write, I try to put in a description where it won’t jump out at you. Just a casual observation from the POV character. That way you can give the reader an idea of what you had in mind for the character without going into a narrative on what they look like. Still, I like to keep it down to just the main characteristics and let the reader fill in the rest so they can have a part in the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. jbrayweber says:

    A fellow Houstonian! Hi, Sharon!
    Wonderful interview, you two.
    In your question about explanations in stories, I think descriptions, reasoning, and details are quite important. Of course, there should be some things left for the reader’s imagination. But being descriptive where it counts, showing or hinting to motivation and/or responses, and, yes, details can make a story visually cinematic. These elements when done right add layers to characters and storylines. Too little can leave readers struggling to become engaged or keep up with the story, but too much can slow pacing and lose readers’ interests. I imagine genre and the author’s writing style play a factor. And I’m certain there are amazing books out there that might rely heavily on the reader’s to fill in the blanks. However, I prefer the details. Great topic question.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Welcome Sharon! So glad to have you here. How difficult is it to go back and rewrite your novels? Is it as time consuming as writing a new novel?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      It’s quite difficult. I had to re-write / overhaul Hid Wounded Reb TWICE.
      Had to re-write/ overhaul Called To Arms Again at least twice — slashing some 55,000 words in that final effort.
      I had to re-write / overhaul Curing the Uncommon Man-cold once… to get rid of the head-hopping.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Angela. It was almost as time-consuming as the original draft. However, much more satisfying.

      The stories had good plots, and my original readers enjoyed them despite my lack of skills as a writer. That’s why I decided they were worth the time and effort. And now I’ve been rewarded by how many more people are enjoying the final product and saying so.

      When you’ve made a mistake, I believe the right thing to do is to correct it. Before long, I’ll be done with my third published book, have it republished, and then it will be on to a new story that’s been gathering ideas for over a year. I’ll go into that one with no regrets over having taken the time to make the others good reads.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Welcome, Sharon! Thanks for sharing about yourself and your book. As far as your question is concerned, I like a little wiggle room. I get bored if things are overly detailed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ve read books — including some “classics” I studied in college or high school — which could drone on for pages in detail that soon zoned me out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some of the classics do that. But it was a different time, a different style of writing, and people were different. Today, most readers don’t have the attention span they did when most of these books were written, probably due to our accelerated life styles. We can’t take the time to relax long enough to read all those details. It’s a bygone age. And we, as writers, have to keep up with today’s readers’ demands.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome interview, Sharon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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