The weekend is almost here, and what better way to prepare for it than to sit down for a chat with Sharon Hinck, another of the authors that participated in the Christian fantasy Motiv8 tour. It's been my experience that a person creative in one area will often be gifted in other creative areas and Sharon is no exception.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What led you to writing?
A: I've always been an avid reader and have loved to write since I could pencil my letters, but in high-school and college I focused more on music and theatre and dance. I spent years teaching ballet, choreographing for community and college theatres, and acting. In grad school I minored in writing and began to publish magazine articles, which helped get my feet wet in the writing world. After graduate school, I was the founding artistic director of a Christian performing arts company for ten years, and then was busy raising my family. As my children got older and the creative urges grew, God led me to small Christian writer's group, and my early love of writing.
Q: You have written in a variety of genres - Christian fiction, fantasy, "mom-lit" and nonfiction articles - did you find the cross-overdifficult either personally or in terms of industry trends?
A: It's much simpler (and general recommended) to write in a specific niche and build readership in that arena. I meant to do that. I wrote contemporary fiction about ordinary moms on their faith journey and the extraordinary things God does along the way. But some of the heroines actually traveled to alternate worlds (Sword of Lyric series) and some dreamed of doing great things while wrestling with their meaning and purpose in the midst of modern-day struggles (the Becky Miller books) while some pursued artistic dreams (Symphony of Secrets) or walked the courageous journey toward healing (Stepping into Sunlight). All I can say is that I wrote the story that God stirred in me each time, and have to trust Him to get the stories to the people He meant them for.
Q: As a writer, do you plan first or let the story develop as you write? How does a typical writing day look for you?
A: I'm a "discovery" writer. The character comes to me first, and I begin to explore with the character and see where things go. When I was working on my novels, I'd usually roll out of bed and write a few hundred words immediately to prime the pump. Then after morning chores, I'd buckle down and write about 1000 words - whether that took a few hours or all day. I also spend time honing the earlier chapters, and then quite a bit of time with the "business and fellowship" side of writing - doing interviews, answering emails, critiquing chapters for critique partners, editing, etc.
Q: What marketing techniques or events have you found to be mostsuccessful for you?
A: I've tried many of the things various authors recommended to me, and found the best idea was to prayerfully ask God which things to invest time in. Often He'd guide me to invest a lot of time over an email prayer for a reader who had written to share a struggle they were facing, or open a door for me to meet with a tiny book group - and I wonder if those activities remain closer to the ministry He's called me to than T.V. and radio interviews, or large public events. An author I admire said that she sees two parts to her writing ministry - the themes and truth of the stories that she writes, and the interactions she has with people because of having written those stories. I try to keep that in mind, and keep asking God where He wants me at any given time.
Q: What advice would you offer to newer writers or those that are just beginning their journey into the world of publishing?
A: Be totally focused on the joy of serving Christ, and measure your success by making God smile. Over and over, as you are tempted by discouragement, envy, frustration, or pride, keep trying to release the question of human approval and success to Him and tuning your ears to His Word.
Q: How did the Motiv8 tour come about? Had you met any of the other authors before?
A: The year before Motiv8, I was part of a "Fantasy Four" tour (Val's comment: a clip from the tour is below) of the east coast with Wayne, Christopher, and Bryan. I'd met Bryan at Mt. Hermon writer's conference years earlier, and got to know Wayne and Christopher via email and phone. We all gathered at ICRS in Atlanta, wielded our swords, and began traveling.
For Motiv8, I'd already known Donita from writer's conferences, and had met L.B. And Eric at ICRS. And of course, we all did a lot of communicating (oh, those goofy email threads!) during the year before Motiv8.
Q: What were some of the benefits of working together with otherChristian fantasy authors?
A: It's so much more encouraging to share events--Each of the Motiv8 authors was so generous. Over and over, I saw authors telling readers about the books of the other writers.
Q: What's next on the horizon for you and for your readers?
A: I've been doing interviews to support the release of my latest book, Stepping Into Sunlight, and taking a bit of a sabbatical as I seek God about the next step. I have a few things in the works, but I'm not sure where He'll lead me next. Since I love "to do" lists and being organized, and having five-year plans, etc., uncertainty is an uncomfortable place for me. And of course, uncomfortable places are where God can do a lot of work in us. So I'm praying I can stay out of His way and let Him do His work, and that I can be joyfully obedient for whatever He asks me to do or NOT do.
Thank you, Sharon!
If you want to know more about Sharon and her books, visit her website at www.sharonhinck.com for interviews with Sharon, music from the Sword of Lyric books, writer's resources and more.
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