Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Jessica!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?
Thanks, Melanie! I appreciate the opportunity to be here and share my writing with you and your readers. 2013 has been an awesome year for me because I’ve finally realized my dream - becoming a published author. Sea-Devil: a Delilah Duffy mystery was released in March by Martin Sister’s Publishing. My writing life has been an amazing journey that has tested and strengthened my faith and my belief in myself.
My everyday life is very normal. I’m married with two kids, busy with work and activities. I’m often running here, there, and everywhere, but it’s a happy life.
What is your novel, Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery, about?
Sea-Devil is a beachside murder mystery featuring Delilah Duffy, a bright, and gutsy young woman escaping her past by reinventing herself as manager of Beach Read Books. But, a murder in the store the night before her grand opening threatens her dream and, as she gets closer to the truth, puts her in danger of being the next victim.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
Like the main character, Delilah Duffy, I used to be a high school English teacher, a job I adored! I left that position to be a stay-at-home-mom, and then God led me on a totally new path. I direct my church’s preschool. I’ve gone from grading essays and discussing Shakespeare to playing with playdough and reading Dr. Seuss! Like Delilah, my ideas of what my life should be changed, and I’ve learned to listen and trust in God’s directions. He’s a lot better at managing my life than I am!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was a writer before I could even write. Stories, imaginary friends, acting out scenes... I spent a lot of time in my own head. Once I could put words on paper, I wrote short stories. My mom says I was writing stories at age four. In the 3rd grade, I started my first novel. A New Life was a story about a down-and-out girl whose family sent her away to live with distant relatives - my own Annie-style tribute. I employed my friend, Norman, to illustrate my novel. Along with the book (over 100 pages long), I wrote a “screenplay.” My teacher let us act out the scenes after lunch. My enthusiasm for writing has been strong ever since.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Quirk? That’s a tough one! Let’s see.. I carry a notepad in my purse and scribble in it often. Sticky notes make me happy (good thing my husband works for 3M!) My best brainstorming comes when I’m doing something active... washing dishes, folding laundry, driving. Sometimes, when I’m writing and the thoughts are coming quicker than my fingers can type them, I have to stop and flex and shake my fingers... it’s a nervous, excited energy thing. Anyone watching me might think I’m drying my fingernails.
Where do you like to write?
I spent a hefty chunk of money on a cool desk from Pottery Barn, very uncharacteristic of me. Funny thing is, I do hardly any of my writing there. I wrote Sea-Devil on a large, cushy red Lazy Boy chair in my living room. Not the reclining type, but it does have an ottoman where I spread out all my notes.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
The best part of being a writer is working in my imagination - creating characters and making them come alive. I love getting involved in a scene. When I’m in the middle of it - doing this thing that God has made me to do - I feel closest to Him.
The worst part... Being a successful writer isn’t as easy as penning a great story. You have to be a writer, a salesman, a marketer, an expert on social media... the list goes on. I struggle navigating the ‘everything else’ that comes along with trying to become a career author.
Writing fills in most of the spaces in between family, work, and church. My husband and I love taking walks and watching baseball. We both enjoy reading and watching TV.
What is your favorite genre to read and why?
I’ll pretty much give anything a shot if it sounds good. I fluctuate between fiction (when I want an escape) and non-fiction (when I’m looking to better myself). I know how hard it is to write, so I am impressed with anything that makes me think, laugh, get excited, or view my world in a new way.
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
There are so many shorelines I haven’t strolled and explored yet. I’d love to just beach hop, first along the East Coast and then beyond.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Just one? No, I have so many and I need a heavy arsenal. Here are a few of my favorites:
When I’m feeling stressed or anxious... I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13; Do not worry about your life. Luke 12:22; Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
When I’m feeling like Martha... One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42; Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
When I’m not sure how to react... Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19
When I need encouragement.... These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33; Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3; For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will see Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13; Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I also recite Psalm 23 often, since I’ve had it memorized since childhood, and The Prayer of Jabez - 1 Chronicles 4:10. The Bible has words for all times and all needs.
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
Songs... I go through music phases and enjoy listening when I write. I like Coldplay and Imagine Dragons while writing these days. General listening... Taylor Swift (my daughter and I sing aloud in the car) and general Top 40 music. Rap is also a guilty pleasure for me.
Movies.... The Princess Bride, Aliens, A Fish Called Wanda, Clue, Tangled. These are all movies I could (and have) watched over and over. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve enjoyed movies less and TV shows more. I love crime shows, particularly British ones. I love watching anything that presents a puzzle to solve.
What is your favorite holiday?
The day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. With the hubbub over, I can finally focus on faith and family. I enjoy the more peaceful, meaningful sides of holidays.
What's your favorite season and why is it your fav?
Summer! I love the beach...love writing about it, learning about it, and of course, being there.
A few this-or-that questions:
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Tea or Coffee? COFFEE!!!
Call or Text? Texting is easy and quick. Phone calls are more personable. Depends on the situation.
Cats or Dogs? Dogs! I’m allergic to cats.
Early-bird or Night-owl? Growing up.. total night-owl. Now, I have kids. Early-bird.
Facebook or Twitter? Hmmm, I’m using both for the first time this year, so I’m a newbie. I’m becoming friends with Facebook. Twitter and I? We aren’t there yet.
Sneakers or Sandals? I have a great pair of electric blue Nikes with pink laces - perfect for my walks with my husband. But, generally... sandals mean summer and summer means the beach. Guess this one’s a draw.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
Luna-Sea: a Delilah Duffy mystery, too is almost finished, and set to be released early 2014. I hope to have five books in the series. There are a few other projects in the works. I just have to find the time to write them all!
Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
You can learn more about me and my writing journey at my blog www.mymomlife.com. For more on my books, visit my website at www.jessicasherry.com
Thanks for having me! These questions really made me think! :) Good thing I had my coffee!
Jessica is giving away THREE signed copies of Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery! Enter for your chance to be one of the three winners! Giveaway is open Internationally. Ends 11/7
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