Sharlene Maclaren interview

» Posted on May 30, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Sharlene Maclaren interview

1. What made you start writing?
In the year 2000, I asked God to give me a new passion and direction for my life, as I was nearing retirement from teaching. It all began with a dream (no kidding!). I dreamt I’d written a book. I awoke thinking, what a silly dream. A week later, the dream repeated itself. Again, I woke up thinking, why would I dream such a thing? When the dream appeared a third time, I began to think God was trying to tell me something. (Duh!) That’s when a plot started forming in my head, I sat down at the computer, and whamo! Passion like I’ve never known it grew like wildfire!

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I published my first book, Spring’s Promise, in 2002 with a print-on-demand company. A long period of learning the industry, growing, studying, attending writing conferences, etc. followed. Several manuscripts later, in 2006, I signed a contract with Whitaker House for Through Every Storm. “Storm” released in January 2007. Just before its release, I signed a three-book contract with Whitaker for a historical series.

3. How do you handle rejections?
Ha! Not very well. But I’ve certainly learned from them. Every writer experiences them, even the well-established ones. Rejections can be very ego-bruising, but what I ultimately do when I receive one is give it to the Lord. He is the one who put this desire in my heart to write. He will put my manuscripts in front of the eyes that need to see them.

4. Why do you write?
God gave me a passion and I just can’t ignore it. It burns in me most every day.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Probably watching way too much daytime TV!

6. What are you working on right now?
I am writing book three of my historical series. The first in the series, Loving Liza Jane, just released in April ’07. I’m currently proofreading the galley issue of Sarah, My Beloved, which comes out in October of this year. And book three, Courting Emma, releases in March of ’08.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
I think all authors imagine themselves playing the part of their characters, at least to some degree. It can’t be helped.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Currently, two of my books are on store shelves. Through Every Storm is about a young couple who struggles through the loss of a child. The story opens two years after the fact, and we find them in the pit of despair, their marriage crumbling. Only when they lay themselves bare before God do they begin the healing process. It’s a story of hope and healing and love renewed. Loving Liza Jane is also on shelves. This is book one of my Little Hickman Creek Series, set in 1895-96 Kentucky. It’s about a Bostonian beauty who leaves the comforts of home to accept the job as Little Hickman’s schoolteacher. Of course, it wouldn’t be worth reading if it weren’t for the ROMANCE, right?

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do not give up. If you believe God has called you to a life of writing, chances are excellent you will one day publish. It takes hard work, patience, endurance, a deep desire to learn the industry, and THICK skin. You will receive rejections, but trust the Lord to see you through each one. He is so good and faithful!

10. How important is faith in your books?
Extremely! I would not be doing this if it weren’t for my Lord. My one big desire is to bring glory and honor to His name. I want my readers to sense God through every printed word. I don’t want them to say, “My, what a good writer.” I want them to say, “My, how God spoke to me through this book.”

11. What themes do you like to write about?
All of my stories are born out of some kind of grief or sadness in which God’s love and mercy bring healing, forgiveness, and hope. I just love to show what a powerful God we serve and how very much He wants to make us whole. And, oh, there MUST be that element of romance. Always romance! Tee-hee. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE love.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Although it never published, I’d have to say my first-ever manuscript is my fave. It holds a special, special place in my heart because it marks the day and time God planted a seed of passion in my heart to write.

13. Why do you write both contemporaries and historicals?
I enjoy both genres. I love reading historicals, but I just didn’t think I was capable of writing them. But when the Little Hickman Creek series first embedded itself in my head, I decided to try my hand at it and, wow, it’s been great fun.

14. Is it hard for you to switch from one time period to another?
Not especially. It’s not like I’m writing from a historical perspective one day and a contemporary the next. I’ve been focusing all my time on finishing my series. I’ll eventually go back to writing contemporary,(there are lots of stories up in my head) but for now, I’m enjoying this era.

15. What is your writing schedule like?
Here is the schedule I have hanging on my office wall…
1. Up at 7:30. Start the day at Curves.
2. Coffee and quiet time with God.
3. Check emails and respond (no longer than 30 minutes!)
5. Lunch break
6. Cleaning, laundry, run errands, etc.
7. Write til suppertime

Here’s the real world:
1. Up at 9:15—saunter down to my office—do some body stretches on the way
2. Check Emails, respond (70 minutes)
3. 11 a.m. coffee, quiet time
4. Write
5. Run upstairs and kiss hubby when he comes home unexpectedly for lunch. Try to look like I’ve been working very hard all morning. Try to explain why I am still in my jammies.
7. Write
8. Write
9. Check emails
10. 4 p.m. Run errands, clean house, do laundry, make phone calls, make supper—TAKE DEEP BREATH!
11. 5:30 Kiss hubby, tell him what a busy day it’s been!
12. Relax (as if I haven’t done that all day)
13. 10 p.m. Whamo! Creative juices hit! Write, write, write.

15. I love what you have on your web site: write fiction for the soul, romance for the heart. How did you come up with that?
I have no idea. I think it just popped into my head the weekend I was putting my website together!
(See? I actually can write a short answer!)

16. I grew up in Kentucky. What made you place a historical series in Kentucky?
My daughter and son-in-law attended Asbury College in Wilmore, KY then remained there for two more years after graduation. We visited often during that six-year period, and I fell in love with the countryside, the grassy, rolling hillsides, miles of white fences, horse farms, and Kentucky’s pure charm.