First tell us a bit about Sharel. What attracted you to become a writer?
I feel like I have always desired to write. Having always loved the written word, as a child I always had books and called myself reading them, writing (scribble-scrabble), drawing pictures and making books. I could tell you the story I created as well.
Tell us about The Putting Away. How did you come up with the concept of this story?
Mostly from personal experience and those of others I know or have ready about. The Putting Away was birthed out of a need to let our women (and men) know that living in an abusive relationship is not acceptable, but that He is a deliverer, even in this situation.
Being a fellow PITS author I’ve heard the story of how you ended up with Peace in the Storm but I found it so incredible so would you mind just quickly explaining how you became an author with PITS?
I was actually seeking to publish The Putting Away through PITS self publishing opportunity and had been speaking with Elissa Gabrielle from time-to-time, asking questions trying to prepare myself. Then one Sunday my pastor preached a message, “God has Commended a Blessing for You.” What God has for you is waiting on you to walk into your blessing. I knew that the Word was for me that Sunday, and a few days later, Elissa called me and I was literally speechless. I praised God for blessing me to be a part of such an awesome publishing company with such beautiful authors.
What do you like and dislike the most about the writing industry?
What I like the most is being able to touch people past the physical. To know that what I have written has been a blessing to someone else is one of the most awesome(est) feelings to me! The one thing that I do not like is the times there may be a little contention that should never be voiced openly.
Tell us about your new radio gig! How exciting!
My new radio broadcast, Inspired Moments with Sharel is such an awesome opportunity that I am so very elated about! Our first broadcast will be on June 13, 2012, and we will be interviewing authors, musicians, and raising awareness for social and critical health issues. You can listen in on the enjoyharvest.com global network on the Go Channel. I am so very excited about being a blessing to my fellow authors and musicians who would like to have another platform to share their work.
Have you enjoyed your journey as a published author so far? Do you have any regrets about the choices you’ve made?
I have and am thoroughly enjoying my journey as a published author and I have absolutely no regrets.
What lesson did you take away from writing The Putting Away? And is this the same lesson you hope readers would learn from it as well?
The lesson that I take away from writing The Putting Away is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and should thank God for who we are and not settle for what we think is the best we can do. We deserve better in God and not what some man can give us.
Name one author you really admire and why.
One author that I admire is Jacquelin Thomas because she thought it not robbery to reach out to me when my publishing career began. Jacquelin is such a sweet woman and found time to spend talking to me about my writing and other things going on in my life. I love her spirit and her books.
How long did it take you to write your book? What’s your usual writing process when it comes to your work?
The Putting Away was finished in 2006, but I was not satisfied with it at the time. I was also in the process of finding another publisher or trying to decide to self-publish, so it literally sat on the back burner for quite some time.
My writing process may sound weird, but I can see my story as if I am viewing a movie. When the movie begins to play in my mind, I have to get it out on paper. If that is not immediately an option, when I do go to write the scenes, the Lord blesses that it all comes back. So I write, more or less, as I see it as opposed to how I may hear it in my mind.
What’s one thing about being published that surprised you?
The one thing that surprised me about being published is the work that goes into getting my book out there in front of the reading public. In the beginning I thought all I had to do was write it and it would take off. I have to say that I love the promoting process more than I thought I would.
The Putting Away has appeared on best seller lists and it’s getting tons of praise. What types of promotion do you do and what promotional tips do you have for authors?
Facebook has become a close friend; additionally I use other social medias, eblasts, but mainly word of mouth. Attending book events or other events that present an opportunity for me to share the book has been a great help as well.
What’s something that you would tell a new writer that you wish you’d known when you started in the business?
Research, research, research… it is a must. Learn as much as you can about the publishing business and take a business course that will prepare you to begin marketing yourself once it is completed.
What can your fans expect from you next? Do you have any new releases coming up?
Fans can expect the last of my “Seasons of Life” series with my next release due out in early 2013, Change Me for My Season. This is a story that I was inspired to write after dealing with the death of my father.
Authors seem to have mixed feelings when it comes to ebooks. How do you feel? Do you think the digital age is a hindrance or blessing for authors?
I believe that ebooks have their place and has given our readers another option to purchase and read our releases. I think it is a blessing because people have different needs and if an ereader works for them, that’s great. Personally, I use both; I love the feel of a new book in my hand, but when I have an appointment that I know will have me waiting long, my ereader is the next best thing.
The cover for The Putting Away is one of my favorites. Did the cover convey what you wanted readers to get from the story?
Absolutely! The young lady on the cover could live down the street from us, sit on the same pew with us at church, or work in the cubicle next to us at work. I love the fact that her eyes are not revealed because she represents women from any and all walks of life. Domestic Violence has no respect of persons no matter if they live in poverty or in Beverly Hills.
When you’re shopping for books or browsing for ebooks, what sways you most to check out a book?
The cover has to draw me in initially, but the synopsis on the back has to do it for me.
If The Putting Away was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main character and why?
Regina Hall, the actress who played in The Best Man as the stripper named Candy. I loved the way the man she met helped her to see her worth, and it is something the main character in The Putting Away must do.
What’s the biggest mistake do you feel some authors make in terms of book promotion?
Underestimating their audience. Sometimes readers are not in the usual place or in your target audience.
What words of wisdom do you have for newbies starting in the industry today?
Do not give up on your dream and keep pushing and allowing the gift God has given you to flow through your pen.
Thanks for stopping by, Sharel!