Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day Two with Sharlene MacLaren

A Christian for 45+ years, and a lover of the English language, award winning author, Sharlene MacLaren, has always enjoyed dabbling in writing—poetry, fiction, various essays, and freelancing for periodicals and newspapers. Her favored genre, however, has always been romance. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes.  “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, and always with the teacher’s back to the class, “Pass me the next page.”

In recent years, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further and in 2006 signed a contract for her first faith-based novel; thereby, launching her writing career with Through Every Storm. With a dozen books now gracing store shelves nationwide, she daily gives God all the praise and glory for her accomplishments. 

Shar has done numerous countrywide book-signings, television and radio appearances, and countless interviews. She loves to speak for women’s organizations, libraries, church groups, women’s retreats, and banquets.  She is involved in Apples of Gold, a mentoring program for young wives and/or mothers, and is active in her church as well as two weekly Bible studies.  She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their adorable Ragdoll cat, Little Boy Blue, “Blue” for short. 

Sharlene MacLaren most recently won the 2011 Retailers’ Choice Award Finalist for her novel, Tender Vow, as well as won other awards and placed in several contests. 

As an inspirational author, how do you feel your faith and/or ethical values come through in your writing?

I try my darnedest not to appear preachy in my stories. I really want the story lines to draw in non-believers as well as proclaimed Christians. That said, all my stories are REAL. I don’ t try to paint the Christian life as a perfect, easy, untroubled journey. I want readers to see that we all struggle with real-life issues, whether Christian or non-, but that we don’t have to “stay stuck” in that hopeless state. At the close of my books, I want my readers to lay my stories down and, well, not so much say, “I gotta get my hands on another Sharlene MacLaren novel,” as much as say, “I gotta find my Bible. I have some things I need to work through in my life, and I believe God is my true source of help in doing that.”

THAT is my heart’s desire and prayer with every novel I write.

What a wonderful way to pray for each novel and really, for your readers!

Is there a genre different from the one you write in, which you particularly enjoy reading? And why?

Besides my Bible, which I read daily, I really enjoy reading biographies, true life stories, romances, women’s fiction, and of course historical novels. Reading really helps me learn more about my writing craft. I see the way other authors write and I gather thoughts and ideas for ways to improve my own craft.  

Would you be willing to share with our readers what a typical productive writing day in your life is like?
A typical writing day goes like this for me:

7:30 – coffee, read Bible, pray, ask God to direct my day
8:00 – check emails, Facebook, respond to important notes or inquiries
10:00 – short break
NOON – Lunch/run errands
4:30 – Save work.

*Occasionally, especially if I’m facing an important deadline, I’ll write into the evening as well. This is a “perfect world” schedule, as I also do a lot of babysitting of grandkids, have the usual hair, doctor, dental, and other necessary appointments, and then there’s that awful chore of housecleaning, cooking, and laundry. I usually try to write in “DAYS OFF” in my monthly calendar.

Do you have any tips for aspiring or new authors?

I would say don't ever give up on your dreams. If you feel very strongly that God wants you to write, then He probably does. Just keep at it, learn all you can about your craft and then stick to it. Your publishing dreams will come to fruition if you work hard enough. MOST IMPORTANT, bathe your work in prayer. Everything is about God's perfect timing.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on a series set in Paris, Tennessee in the late 1800s. I love writing historical novels, so much so in fact that this in my 4th 3-book series. It’s set to begin releasing later this year and into 2014. We are still working on titles for this series, so unfortunately, I can't give you those yet, but I can tell you the series title will be "Tennessee Dreams". Please be on the lookout for it. I'm very excited!

Thank you, for visiting with us at Novel PASTimes this week, Sharlene. It’s been a privilege interviewing you.

Thank you for having me. It was indeed my pleasure and honor. God bless all of you wherever you are on your journey.

Please leave a comment by answering the question Shar is asking below for a chance to win her novel, Sofia’s Secret. Don't forget to include your email address in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com before 8:30 a.m. EDT this Friday morning to qualify for the drawing.

Shar's question: What was your favorite book to read as a child of, say, 12 or under? What caused you to want to read it again and again?


Dee Huizenga said...

I loved reading the Little House on the Prairie books! I still love reading books from that era!

Meriska Posthumus said...

I loved Beauty and the beast as well as The little mermaid...i would love getting this copy as it is not available in South Africa

SHARLENE said...

Thanks, Dee and Meriska! So happy you dropped by to check out my interview. Love the books you mentioned as your childhood faves.

lisa moreno said...

I liked Charlottes Web and little house on the prarie.The best of all for me was reading anything with charlie Brown,the peanuts. Im excited about your book Sharlene,God bless
Lisa Moreno

karenk said...

another favourite of mine...'freckled and fouteen'.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Kristine Morgan said...

Favorite childhood book? Whichever book I was reading at the moment! I guess I could say the Sue Barton series, oh wait maybe Calico Captive? or The Witch of Blackbird Pond? Anne of Green Gables?...Ok ..too many to name LOL Have a great day!

LuAnn Nienhuis said...

All of the "Little House" books! Loved them all! Also Little Women. :)

SHARLENE said...

All you ladies are naming a LOT of my childhood faves as well. Nobody's mentioned the Bobsey Twins on the Seashore. (I don't think I spelled Bobsey right. It's been a few years since I read that series.) Ha!

Anonymous said...

My favorite series back then was Anne of Green Gables. I read those books over and over.

Your book sounds really interesting. Please enter me in the giveaway.

Brittany McEuen

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thank you for all the comments, dear readers!

This is a fun question. My favorite was LITTLE
WOMEN. I think I identified with Jo March, especially
because of her love of writing, like many other
writers, I'm sure. I also loved CHARLIE AND THE
CHOCOLATE FACTORY. It was just a great story
and I am a chocolate addict--it's self-explanatory.
Thanks for taking the time to be with us this
week, Shar!

apple blossom said...

Charlottes web the pig

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the books I read then except Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Know I would have probably read some in the school library. Seems most most of these named I read later. I didn't have many books at home for too many kids and not much money. Also, lived in the country. I do remember Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew but was think I was older. Anyway I have made up for that in later years. Do love to read. I have loved the Little house books and still watch it on TV. LOL Please enter me to win this book.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com