God often uses the testimony of a fellow writer to help us persevere in courage as we hone our craft and use writing as a tool for ministry. Sherry Kyle’s story is no exception.
Sherry is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Bible. She received a Gold Mom’s Choice Award for her book for tween girls titled The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style. Her debut novel, Delivered with Love, was released by Abingdon Press in 2011.
Sherry and her husband have four children, three biological and one by adoption. She lives on the coast in central California, which is the setting for her latest novel, The Heart Stone, released in April 2013.
Months before she celebrated the launching of The Heart Stone, Sherry was invited to step out of her comfort zone and teach a class at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar.
Inspire Writers welcomes Sherry Kyle, as she shares about her writing journey and blesses us with tips on crafting life-changing contemporary women’s fiction.
Q: Thank you for joining us, Sherry. I met you at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2011 and was excited to hear you were teaching a class at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar. You seem to have a passion for learning and teaching the craft of writing. Why do you think it’s important for writers, beginning and seasoned, to attend writing conferences and workshops?
A: I love to attend conferences and workshops to continue to learn and grow as a writer. The teaching at conferences is always top notch.
I also enjoy networking with those in the writing community. It’s fun to meet new friends and connect with those that have been going through this journey with me.
As a Christian writer, my spiritual well is also filled up through time spent in prayer and listening to the keynote speakers.
Q: You taught your first writing class, The Craft of Writing Women’s Fiction, at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar. What main points from your class would you like to share with our writers?
A: First of all, 40% of the fiction sold in the United States is Women’s Fiction. This should encourage all of us who write in that genre.
Here are six key elements to writing women’s fiction:
- The central focus of the storyline is a woman’s life.
- Dynamic relationships fuel this genre.
- Add a dose of humor, but your story can also be deeply emotional.
- Include many of the facets of other genres, such as romance or mystery, but they can’t take over the story goal of what your character wants.
- Is about all types of women—young, older, married, single, divorced, etc.
- There’s not always the standard ‘happy ending,’ but a life-affirming resolution even if the story is somewhat tragic.
However, the most important thing to writing women’s fiction is to write the story that inspires you!
Q: What has been your greatest challenge as a novelist?
A: My greatest challenge as a novelist is to keep up with the changes in technology and the publishing industry. It’s a continual learning curve.
Q: What has been your greatest reward?
A: My greatest reward is when someone e-mails me and tells me how much my book has inspired them, or helped them in some way. It’s such a gift to connect with readers.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your journey from being an unpublished writer to being a published author.
A: I’ve been writing for twelve years. I started when my children were small by taking a course through the Institute of Children’s Literature. By the end of the course, I had an article that was considered for publication. It eventually was turned down, but by this time I had the writing bug!
I continued my education by attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, with this year marking my eighth year attending. I can’t say enough about the importance of learning the craft.
I submitted The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style to Legacy Press in 2007 and they accepted it for publication a few months later. The book received a Gold Mom’s Choice Award. I have two more books for tween girls on the way.
After obtaining an agent, I shifted my focus to also include women’s fiction. Abingdon Press published my debut contemporary novel, Delivered with Love, in April 2011. I love this story. It’s about a young woman who discovers an old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother’s VW Bug.
Q: Tell us about your latest novel? Why is this book different / special?
The Heart Stone, released April 1st, 2013, is my second contemporary novel from Abingdon Press.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
TWO WOMEN. TWO JOURNEYS. A SEASON THAT MAY CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER.
When the alcoholic father of Jessica MacAllister’s son reappears in their lives, Jessica and her son go to her Uncle George for advice and refuge.
Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready to move on. As she ponders her new path in life, her mind drifts to her first love, George MacAllister.
When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. But will the results be a rekindled faith and new hope? Or will it lead them both back into the darkness they’ve fought for so long?
This book is dear to my heart because I learned so much about the importance of forgiveness. My hope is that readers will be touched by this truth as well.
Q: What final word of encouragement do you have for upcoming novelists?
A: Get involved with the writing community—join a critique group, go to conferences, meet editors and agents.
Enjoy the gift God gave you and have a servant’s heart. He will use your words when and where He sees fit.
Q: Thank you for sharing, Sherry. Will you be joining us for a Tweet Chat to answer more questions from our readers?
A: Of course. Thanks for having me. Blessings!
Join us on Twitter, Tuesday, May 28th from 5-6pm (PST), for an inspiring Tweet Chat with Sherry Kyle at #InspireChat. We’ll also be giving away a copy of The Heart Stone. We’re looking forward to “tweeting” with you!
New to Twitter? Here’s how to connect to our Tweet Chats.
It’s your turn: What questions do you have for Sherry?
Xochi (so-she) E. Dixon is Jesus-loving, Bible-studying writer, speaker and teacher. She is pursuing her BA in Christian Ministry at Regent University and lives in Northern California with her husband, Alan, their teenage son, Xavier, and their doggy-daughter, Jazzy.
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The Prisoner of Carrot Castle has been released! The book is now available in print. And to celebrate, author Chris Pedersen
is heading to A Day on the Farm
. (What better place to share a book that encourages children to eat their
Come Learn, Eat & Celebrate!
Mark your calendars: Sunday • May 19 • 10am – 3pm • $5 per person (Children under 2 years and under are free!)
American River Ranch • Next to Hagan Park • Rancho Cordova
Chris will be on hand to sign your copies of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in all the day’s events:
Purchase fresh, local, organic vegetables & fruit
Cooking Classes & Workshops
Farm Tours & Nature Walks
Kid’s Garden Activities
Face Painting & Photo Booth
Community Education Tables
Local Arts & Crafts
Live Music: Mind X Quartet & More!
Morning Food, Snacks & Lunch
American River’s Native Plants
Gardening • Composting
Beekeeping • Cooking
Native Edibles • More
To celebrate the launch of the book in print, the iPad version is FREE for the first time ever! Hurry! FREE offer is good from (May 16-19)
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I’m delighted to announce that Inspire Christian Writers is expanding to Sonoma County with a brand new group in Santa Rosa!
If you’re looking for a Christian writers group to provide encouragement, prayer support, feedback and fellowship, join us on Saturday, May 11, for an informational meeting with Christy Hoss, our newest group leader. Jennifer Hamilton and I will both be on hand to answer your questions and get the new group off to a great start.
Meet with us at 10 am at Starbucks, 860 Hopper Ave in Santa Rosa.
For more information about this group, contact Christy at Christy.Hoss@gmail.com
If you have questions about joining Inspire Christian Writers, contact JenniferHamilton@InspireWriters.com
Q4U: How has participating in a critique group helped you as a writer?
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If you have a story you’d like to share about a supernatural experience (from a Christian perspective), here’s a great opportunity for you!
Jeanette Littleton is gathering and editing stories for Whitestone Communications and Bethany House. These stories will form a sequel to the book, Angels, Miracles and Other Heavenly Encounters.
The book will be released in 2014, but submissions must be received by July 1st (sooner is better!) There is a one-time fee of $50 for stories 1,500 words and over, and $25 for stories under that word count.
Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to Jeanette Littleton, at email@example.com.
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The whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). Will you write words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that cause the hearts of the nations to burn for Jesus? Join us for three days of training, impartation, worship and encouragement as we answer the call to penetrate every domain of society with the Word of truth.
Dates: June 5-7, 2013
Place: Bethel Church, 933 College View Drive, Redding, CA
For more information and to register, please see: http://www.ibethel.org/events/2012/12/writing-unto-the-glory-933-college-view-dr-redding-ca-96003
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On Wednesday, April 10 at 6pm (CA time) we’ll host a Tweet Chat with Jenny Lundquist.
You can participate on Twitter by:
1. Type #InspireChat in the search line in Twitter. You’ll see the tweets from our chat streaming.
2. Join in by commenting or asking questions. Be sure to use the #InspireChat hashtag each time you tweet.
3. Don’t hold back, we’ll be giving away a copy of Plastic Polly three lucky participants.
Plastic Polly is Jenny’s second published middle-grade novel. The story is told through the eyes of Polly Pierce as she discovers the pitfalls of popularity.
Polly Pierce likes being the second-most popular girl at Winston Academy, right after her BFF, Kelsy. Popularity comes with special privileges, like a seat at the best table in the cafeteria and a coveted spot on the planning committee for the school’s big talent show competition, Groove It Up! And since all Polly has to do is agree with whatever Kelsy says, being popular is easy—even if kids do call her “Plastic Polly” behind her back.
But when a freak accident takes Kelsy out of the picture, Polly is suddenly in charge of the Groove It Up! committee. She’s not prepared for her new status—and neither is anyone else. Backstabbing friends, an intimidating crush, and diva demands from an injured Kelsy all threaten to derail Polly’s plans. Can she prove to everyone—and herself—that she has a personality of her own?
You’ll get a bonus entry in our give-away when you leave a comment here answering this question: What was the hardest thing about middle school for you? (We called it “Jr. High” back in the day.)
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Ever wish you could be invisible to others, tucked safely away from criticism, rejection and the unavoidable losses that come with living and loving?
Ellyn, Twila and Sabina each wrestle with various forms of self-inflicted invisibility in the powerful new novel, Invisible written by our friend Ginny Yttrup.
Here’s a little teaser about the book:
Ellyn DeMoss is a talented chef and cafe owner who carries extra weight as buffer from getting close to others–especially others of the opposite sex. But Dr. Miles Becker, a handsome widower, is undaunted by her rebuffs. What does he see in her?
Sabina Jackson seems to have it all. She’s tall and slender, attractive. She has an adoring husband, an adult daughter and a thriving counseling practice. She leaves all that behind and seeks refuge in a small coastal town in Northern California.
Twila Boaz has been invisible long enough. In her recovery from an eating disorder, she’s learning to rely daily on God’s strength to overcome self-destructive behavior. Her serenity and health are threatened when her eating disorder is triggered again.
A tender friendship blossoms among the women as they discover they’re far more alike than first appearances would suggest. Together, they learn to exchange their distorted self-images for the truth that they are created in the image of God–and of tremendous worth to him.
Ginny Yttrup’s writing always takes me on an emotional and spiritual journey. It shines a light in places of my heart that I didn’t know needed illumination.
As I read Invisible and related to the characters, God gently nudged me about my own issues with self-image. Through this novel, God began a conversation with me that I know will continue long into the future. That’s what really great Christian writing can do.
Upcoming TweetChat with Ginny Yttrup:
On Monday, April 8, I’ll be interviewing author Ginny Yttrup at 5pm (PDT) on Twitter. Join us for this Tweet Chat by using the hashtag, #InspireChat in all your comments and questions. At the end of the #InspireChat, we’ll give away a copy of Invisible to three lucky winners.
In the comments below, share a scripture that speaks to you about self-image, who you are in Christ, or God’s love for you. When you do, you’ll be entered in the contest for a free copy of Invisible!
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Has God given you victory over a situation or circumstance in your Christian walk? Or, do you know someone who has overcome loss, adversity, illness or other obstacles with God’s help.
Now is your opportunity to tell that story in non-fiction, short fiction or poem.
Inspire Christian Writers will publish our third annual anthology, Inspire Victory, in the Spring of 2014.
Our anthologies are written exclusively by members of Inspire Christian Writers.
We are accepting submissions between May 1 and August 1, 2013. Start writing and editing your story now. Then come back May 1, to submit your piece(s). Submissions will be accepted through this website.
Follow these Writers Guidelines as you prepare your story:
1.You must be an Inspire member to submit. Not a member? You can join today on our website.
2. You may submit inspiring fiction or non-fiction manuscripts, up to 1500 words, or poetry up to sixteen lines.
3. Write from your heart—be open, transparent, and vulnerable.
4. As soon as you submit your piece using the online form, you will receive an e-mail confirming that we’ve received your manuscript.
5. Submit as many pieces as you like. You will receive two books for your published contribution.
6. The Inspire Victory editors will evaluate all incoming stories and determine which will be included in the book.
How to Create a Captivating Story:
1. Choose a creative title.
2. Use a strong hook in the first sentence or paragraph.
3. Show conflict and resolution.
4. Use multiple scenes.
5. Include the five senses in your descriptions using few or no adverbs.
6. Show—don’t tell.
7. Include engaging dialogue.
8. Make the turning point clear—when the person or character changes in thought or deed.
9. Make the takeaway clear without spelling it out.
10. Offer a spiritually satisfying ending.
If you have questions about Inspire Victory, you can send them to MichelleMurray@inspirewriters.com
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Come celebrate the book launch of Plastic Polly, Jenny Lundquist’s newest release, at
Barnes & Noble
6111 Sunrise Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
March 23, 2013 from 1-3pm
This launch is part of a Book Fair sponsored by Barnes & Noble. That means the Folsom Cordova Education Foundation will receive a percentage of each sale (up to 25%)
Plastic Polly sells for $6.99 a copy and will be available for purchase during the launch and book fair.
If you shop online on March 23rd at BarnesandNoble.com, simply enter the code “11041704″ when making your purchase, then the school district will still receive proceeds.
To follow Jenny’s writing journey and get to know her better, visit her blog, www.jennylundquist.com
How will you help get the word out about the launch of Plastic Polly?
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