Meet the Characters in Women of Valley View: Callie by Sharon Srock with Give-away

October 22, 2012

Obedience to God sometimes means getting out of your comfort zone, as Callie Stillman learns when she senses there is something disconcerting about one of her Sunday School students that draws her to the child. She’s suffered for a year over the outcome of the last child she thought she was helping. What would happen if she reached out to this child? Meet the main characters in this wonderful story of faith, healing, forgiveness and redemption:

Callie Stillman – Although she blames herself for the tragic death of a small child, Callie knows she must obey God and find out what’s happening with Iris Evans, even though her husband has well-intentioned objections to her becoming involved.

Benton Stillman  wants to protect his wife from more pain. But once he sees the courage and determination of this little family struggling to stay together, he not only relents, he offers his support.

Samantha “Sam” Evans has the tenacity to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. Trusting no one, she keeps her younger sister and her daughter out from under the radar and out of range of “the system,” which has already failed them once.

Iris Evans is wiser than her eleven years, yet she is a little girl who has a desire to enjoy the benefits of childhood. However, her love for her sister and her niece prompt her to keep the secret and care for little Bobbie while Sam works to support the family.

Steve Evans – Since he left the family ten years ago due to his drug use, he’s accepted the Lord into his life and become a best-selling author. He speaks at shelters and halfway houses in hopes of having a part in redeeming other souls. When he hears of his ex-wife’s death in an automobile accident, he determines to find his daughters. But, will he ever find them? And if he does, can he make up for all those lost years?

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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 writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Learn more about the author:

Sharon, how much of yourself do you write into your characters?

I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.

How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?

I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters.  Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represent me, finally finding God’s place for me.

What is your favorite food?

I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

It has to be a God thing. I wake up with these stories in my head, things I would never see or think of on my own. He gets all the credit.

In what ways has being published changed your life?

Besides making me busier that I used to be? The jury is still out on that one. Ask me again in a year or so.

 What is your current work in progress?

I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…

If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?

My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.

If you could have a do over on one day in your life what would you pick?

Fourth of July, 1996. It was the last day we spent with our little grandson before he was murdered. I wish I’d spent more time with him that day.

Where was the location of the best vacation you ever had?

Now you’ve opened the flood gates. For the last 7 years I’ve taken one of my grandchildren on a special vacation. We’ve been on cruises, been to Hawaii, visited The Grand Canyon and Vegas, Spent a week in Cozumel, Done the whole Disney thing in Orlando…God has placed a special blessing on these trips. They’ve all gone off without a hitch and there is no way to just pick one.

If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?

King Arthur’s court. I wouldn’t want to stay forever, I’d miss my hot rollers, but I think there was a elegance to life then that we don’t have any more.

What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you??

I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

What is something that very few people know about you?

I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.

What is the hardest part in writing a story?

Editing and Editing and Editing….

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?

That I don’t like research. Does that count? Seriously I write contemporary fiction so I don’t have to do a lot of research. I’d never Googled anything til about a year ago.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: iPod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)

My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?

My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?

I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.

I hate reality TV

I love to mow the grass

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who  would it be and why?

Nora Roberts. I would pick her brain completely dry.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?

Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.

What was your favorite book as a child and now as an adult? Is there a connection between the two?

That is an impossible question to answer. You’ve heard about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well, my mom must have had a terrible time giving birth to me with a book clutched in each hand. I can’t remember a time when reading wasn’t a priority. Picking a favorite out of 50 years worth of books…impossible.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look-alike to go out and face the public.

***

Sharon is giving away a wonderful basket including the following items: A copy of Callie’s story, a certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April, a 6 piece Cherry Blossom bath set, a cosmetic bag, a bath wrap, a Cozy pink eye mask, a pair of aloe infused booties, a hair turban, a tennis bracelet, a 25.00 Amazon gift card. 

The rules are simple:  For every reader that comments on my feature, he/she gets an entry into the drawing. Be sure to include your contact information!  A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. (The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.)

 


Meet the Characters in Borders of the Heart by Chris Fabry – Must Read!

October 19, 2012

When you pick up this book and hold on to your seat, because you’re in for a suspenseful ride in this part thriller-part romance that includes chilling realities of the activities of drug cartels. Equally, it is a great story of coming to the end of yourself, letting go, sacrifice, finding love and redemption, and finding God’s plan for your life. Believable characters and exceptional story-telling make this a must-read.

 Meet the Main Characters:

John David “JD” Jessup –  Emotionally damaged from the loss of the love of his life, JD relocates to the Tuscon area to learn about organic farming. Having given up on God, he relies on himself. By choice, he finds himself living in an old rundown schoolhouse, sharing his living space with cattle feed, while learning about farming.  The events that follow his discovery of a Mexican woman near death on the farm where he works will change his life forever.

Maria – This beautiful, petite, and gutsy woman who held more secrets than JD could imagine, entrenched his heart, which prompts him to risk his life to save her from whomever would take her life. The killer was tracking her—and him. But, how? What conundrum would reveal the reason for the events taking place, and how could they foil the tracker?

Gabriel Matos Muerte  had an evil plan, and there wasn’t anyone anywhere who could contain him, not even his boss, Sanchez.  Consumed by greed and  the love of power, he would stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.

Slocum,  the farmer for whom JD worked, had no use for illegal immigrants and his stance was that all who were discovered anywhere his farm were to be turned in to the authorities. But then, there came an opportunity for him to use this “illegal” for his own benefit. Would he succeed?

Harlan “Win” Winslow saw something in JD that the man himself didn’t even recognize. Win believed in JD and his motives for helping Maria, to the point of putting himself and his family in danger. Win knew God was in control and wouldn’t allow anything to happen that was not according to His plan.

 Author Bio:   Chris Fabry, an award-winning author and radio talk show host, is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. He hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on the Moody Broadcasting Network and was honored with the 2008 Talk Personality of the Year Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He can also be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, and weekly on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, which he co-hosts with his wife, Andrea.

Fabry’s adult novels— Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and Not in the Heart—have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Award, but it’s his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more. He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults.  A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children. Learn more about Chris Fabry on his website: www.chrisfabry.com.

 Author Questions and Answers:

 Q: Your newest novel, Borders of the Heart, addresses heavy topics such as illegal immigration, the U.S./Mexico drug trade and the cost of compassion. Where did you get your inspiration for the book?

A: Our family moved to Arizona in 2008 and since then I’ve known I wanted to write about this area of the country, a rich, desert existence with problems and possibilities. This book is not as much an “issue” book as it is a book about people who have to deal with lots of those issues as part of their daily lives. I don’t have an ax to grind on the topics, but I did want to show how real people are affected by these contemporary topics.

Q: Several of the characters in Borders of the Heart are dealing with things from their past. What lessons do your characters learn along the way?

A: The past is huge for each of us. I’m convinced many are “stuck” by something in the past that holds us back from being all God wants us to be. A reader will walk through that process with the main character, J.D., and I’m hoping they’ll see an authentic struggle.

Q: J.D. Jessup is faced with a very difficult moral dilemma when he weighs the decision to follow his boss’ very clear direction or his own heart when he discovers Maria near death. What lessons does this story provide for your readers?

A: Every choice we make in life comes with a cost. If we say yes to one thing, we may have to say no to something else. The choice J.D. makes is a good choice, and even good choices can lead to disastrous and deadly results. Can you believe that God is involved in even the difficult circumstances? I think that’s a huge reveal in this story for me. Does everything have to work out perfectly in the end in order for God to be glorified?

Q: How does the concept of redemption figure into your story? Was it gratifying to write about redemption? Why or why not?

A: A lot of people don’t like the word “saved.” It’s old fashioned and not in vogue. I think the term is loaded with truth because if you’re on the verge of death and someone “saves” you, you know exactly what that means and how grateful you would be. Characters in this story get rescued from certain death and when the stakes are that high, I can’t help but get emotionally involved in the story.

Q: How does the concept of grace figure into your story? Was it gratifying to write about grace? Why or why not?

A: Grace is when we’re treated better than we deserve. Yes, characters discover that in the book as well. I love the concept of grace in such a gritty, tough story because you’re not expecting it. You’re expecting A+B=C and when grace invades, it catches you by surprise.

Q: Borders of the Heart clearly demonstrates that sometimes there is a cost to compassion. What made this an important story element for you? Why was it important for you to show that sometimes there is a cost for us when we behave compassionately?

A: You’ve heard the saying, “Freedom isn’t free.” The one who acts with compassion usually absorbs the pain of someone else. This is a picture of the cross, of the sacrifice made for us in Christ. This is another thread you’ll discover throughout the story.

Q: Have you ever been faced with a real-life hard choice or ethical dilemma like your main character J.D.? If so, what was your dilemma and did you feel like you made the right choice?

A: I’ve never had to decide whether to leave a person for dead or not, but I think every day we have a chance to sacrifice. Sometimes it’s a small thing, like taking time for your children when you have something REALLY important, like writing a few more paragraphs. I haven’t always passed those tests. My contention is, the details of everyday life will show what we’ll do with the big decisions. If you choose well in the small moments, the moments when no one is looking, you’ll choose well when a huge decision comes your way. Conversely, if you don’t see the little things as important, you might not make a good decision with the big decision.

Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading Borders of the Heart?

A: Borders of the Heart is at its core a love story. You will root for J.D. and Maria to survive and solve the mystery of what’s really going on in Tucson. And I hope readers will take away the truth that what looks impossible to people is possible with God’s power. Even if something looks hopeless, it’s really not when God is involved.

 Borders of the Heart released on October 1st and is available at your favorite bookstore or from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.


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