An Interview with My Friend . . .
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear "call?" Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I’ve know I was a writer since attending my first Christian writers’ conference in 1991. I had been writing all my life; however, the revelation of the title "writer" came to the forefront for me at the conference.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I write Biblical inspirational/instructional/confrontational non-fiction. I am basically a Bible teacher, so I take Biblical principles by which God expects us to live and make them practical so we can carry out our purpose here on earth.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
I write whatever is on the front burner. Ideas are constantly flowing and many books are in different stages of development. I work ideas up to the proposal stage, which means I storyboard the project and write several sample chapters. Then I pitch ideas to my agent or to an editor at a conference. When a contract comes through for a book, I then finish writing it. It will take me six to eight months to complete a book.
Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?
My latest release is Raising Boys to be like Jesus which is published by Judson Press. I think the title’s pretty clear regarding the spiritual message. If we use principles modeled by Jesus’ life in the rearing of our sons, they incorporate Christlikeness into their own character, and will grow up to be men of God.
My next book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, will be released from New Hope Publishers in winter 2011. The book suggests that the armor of God is not working for women because we have problems getting the pieces to fit properly, thanks to "stuff" in our lives that is hindering that fit.
Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?
I basically have no original "material." All my material comes from the Bible. My ideas for how to present the material comes from my quiet times of Bible study and from tidbits in sermons, talks, or keynote addresses I hear. I hear a word or phrase that sparks my attention and the Holy Spirit and I are off to the races on a new idea.6. Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?My most discouraging time was seeking an agent. I had agents tell me, "No one knows you, so I can’t represent you," and "Non-fiction isn’t selling," and "I just don’t see the next big thing in your list of ideas." Yet, I was getting contracts on my own. My friend Jeannette encouraged me when I was grousing about this to her. She said, "Looks to me like God is your agent, and He only takes ten percent." I dropped the idea of looking for an agent for several years and then God dropped my great agent in my lap and we are now doing quite well together.
Would you explain how you "chose" (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go "inny, minny, miny, moe?" Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your last book. While on my own, I attended Christian writers’ conferences, listened to what the publishers wanted, and then pitched the ideas I had that seemed to mesh with their desires. My agent can do all that legwork now, but I’m still free to speak to publishers when I am at conferences.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
I love traveling with my husband to relaxing destinations. We absolutely adore Jamaica. I finished one of my manuscripts out by the pool on our last vacation there. I also love to shop. I love beautiful clothes and shoes, but I stay out of the malls when I don’t have shopping money – that’s just frustrating. I also get a big kick out of going to lunch with my friends and spending time with my grown sons (very rare now that they are out of the house). I collect refrigerator magnets from places I’ve been, I love roses (American Beauties are my all-time favs), Mexican food, hot fudge cake from Bob’s Big Boy, and caramel frappachinos from Starbucks. Most of all, I absolutely love teaching the word of God.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
Raising Boys to be like Jesus is available at Christian bookstores, from the publisher (Judson Press), and online from Amazon.com, BarnesAndNobel.com, ChristianBooks.com, and my website www.SharonNorrisElliott.com.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
You can find me at the following locations:
My daily devotional blog is www.sanewriter.wordpress.com
My weekly Bible study is "A Heart for the Word" at www.WebTV4Women.com
My websites are:
www.SharonNorrisElliott.com – Get my schedule, my books, and booking information
www.AuthorizeMe.net – Register to attend my AuthorizeMe seminar and learn how to get that book out of your head, down onto paper, and into a professional book proposal format ready to submit to an acquisitions editor
www.LifeThatMatters.com – This website is not yet built, but is coming soon and will encompass all the things in ministry I am doing.
Thanks for being here today, Sharon. It's been such a pleasure to find out more about your writing world!