Monday, July 24, 2006
AUTHOR INTRO: Leslie Sherrod
See Ya On The Net: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Leslie Sherrod: I’m a Baltimore native, married with two children, and turning thirty this year. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for five years and writing full-time just as long. Before then I worked as an assistant clinical social worker for an outpatient mental health center at a major hospital.
I’ve loved writing ever since I had to put spelling words into sentences. In high school and college, I focused on poetry and short stories, thinking I had neither the patience nor the plot for a longer piece of fiction. But novel writing is where God has truly opened doors. My experiences as a former human service worker and a current wife and mother -and all the joys, sorrows, struggles and triumphs involved - help shape what I write.
See Ya On The Net: Tell us about your current book?
SHERROD: Like Sheep Gone Astray is a suspenseful story about a young minister who is dealing with the fallout of a bad decision he made because of his love of money. He is facing exposure and risks losing everything - including his career, ministry and marriage. Going down with his enemies and unearthing his family’s secrets might be his only way out.
It’s a book born partly out of my own struggles of defining success, figuring out purpose, and seeing hurting communities, families and misdirected lives. All of those themes are touched on in the story. It’s a thought-provoking, yet fast-moving and fun read.
See Ya On The Net: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
SHERROD: I’m a firm believer that we all are created for a purpose that will bring glory to God and help others. I hope readers leave the story with a new determination not to let anything get them off the path of their purpose, and to know that there is always hope and another chance to get it right if they have been sidetracked for one reason or another.
See Ya On The Net: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of a character after the novel is finished?
SHERROD: By the time I reach the end of a novel, the characters feel like they have come full circle. I want to say I am done with them. If I don’t have that sense of completion, the novel won’t feel finished to me. There are certain characters who do linger on in my mind - usually the more colorful, controversial ones. In theory, they could have their own stories told in another setting, but I’m exhausted at the moment trying to imagine what they did before or are doing after the novel takes place.
See Ya On The Net: What do you feel is the key to writing convincing characters?
SHERROD: Like real people, you have to let characters be themselves and not feel like you can control them. When I have to change or delete a scene in a story because it’s not consistent with what a character would say or do, I know that particular character has been fully fleshed and clothed. At the point characters supersede my outline, they’ve become convincing.
See Ya On The Net: What makes your writing style unique?
SHERROD: No matter what the subject, I love to keep a suspense current going through the story. Short, intense scenes with cliffhangers, and having many intertwined characters and subplots keep the story fast and moving. I want the story to be a fun read, but even more important, I want to tackle issues not usually talked about: i.e. wanting material blessings more than wanting the One who gives the blessings; generational curses; purpose; broken families and communities. It sounds heavy but it doesn’t come off as feeling heavy. I like to use a lot of sensory descriptions to put readers right there in the pages, to feel the emotions and then to feel the hope. The combination of fast but fulfilling are what I think makes my writing unique.
See Ya On The Net: What are you doing to promote your book?
SHERROD: I’m scheduled to go to several places throughout the Mid-Atlantic region this summer and other places around the country in the fall. I have a couple of interviews lined up as well. A link to an updated schedule of events is available on the Calendar page of my website, www.LeslieJSherrod.com
See Ya On The Net: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
SHERROD: I’ve been amazed at the depth of God’s love. Most of us have heard and know “God so loved the world,” but when He starts showing you His love at a personal level, and you feel His breath and passion aimed directly at you - in spite of you - “Jesus Loves Me” takes on a whole new meaning. From the very beginning of writing my first novel to this present moment, God has wowed me with his direct actions on my behalf. And He loves us all. We haven’t even begun to tap into the greatness of His love for us.
See Ya On The Net: What do you do to make time for yourself?
SHERROD: When I figure that out I’ll let you know. ☺ Honestly, being a full-time writer and mom has required more of me than any other job or position I’ve ever had. At this point in my life, eating dinner undisturbed or going alone to Walmart to buy lotion is an accomplishment.
See Ya On The Net: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
SHERROD: Please visit my website at www.LeslieJSherrod.com. Sign the guestbook or email me at email@example.com. I can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 19465, Baltimore, MD 21206. I love to hear from readers!
Thank you for this opportunity. I’m both excited and grateful for this chance to share.