Sheila L. Jackson lives with her family in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is an anointed speaker, teacher, and writer that utilize her gifts to carry the Word of God to those in need of spiritual soul food. Sheila has penned two, inspirational non-fiction books, The Enemy Within and Through the Eyes of God. She has also written several inspirational and social articles for a local newspaper and magazine.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction romance suspense, Where Was God? (Their Hearts Burned to be Together).
For more information about this author and books, visit her website at www.sheilaljackson2.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?
When I finished the first draft of my manuscript, it was trash. I have some knowledge of how to write a novel. I knew I needed help and eventually joined a writers group to assist me through the process. They taught me about POV, plotting, and all the important ingredients of writing a fictional novel. I listened to their critiques and applied what they taught me of how to get my manuscript published. I submitted it to publishers and agents, received many rejection letters, but I kept the faith. I knew that I had a great story. I just had to find the right publisher. Within four or five months of trying, a door was opened and I received my first contract for my romance novel. Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? I speak at numerous women conferences and found that there are many women and men that have been holding on to painful issues of their past. They are broken, wounded, and feel defeated. I wanted to write a story that gives hope and shed light as to why so many people are unable to move forward from hurtful events that have taken place in their lives.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Where Was God is my first fictional novel, it was a three years journey. At times, I wanted to throw in the towel, but in the end, I knew that I had a great story. My love for writing and inspiring others gave me the strength that I needed to complete this story.
My encouragement to writers is that you align yourself with knowledgeable people, such as writers and critique groups. Attend writer conferences, go to the library and find books that will teach you about the publishing industry, how to find the right agent, and to fine tune your manuscript.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
My Publisher is Concerning Life Publishing. I discovered them online while browsing, Brian Grove website, How to Get Published with a Mainstream Traditional Publisher.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Yes. As a first time author seven years ago, I didn’t expect to be signed to a publishing contract within eight months of submitting it. I thought that the publishing companies did all the editing and marketing, but I quickly learn that the author played a part in the process of getting their book out to the readers.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
My next book, Joi and Payne, hopefully will be out by the end of 2014. And then, it’s on to the next book, Pastor Wright, which will be released in 2015.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
I love hanging out on Facebook. I joined the social media site as a way of networking years ago, and have made lasting friendships because of it.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
I want to bring the lasting scars of abuse to light. Most families try to sweep their dirty little secrets under the rug, but they always come to surface. Parents don’t realize how they mar their children with hurtful words. Some are able to rise above physical and emotional abuse, while others succumb to it, never able let go and live a normal life.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Yes. If writing is your passion, never let anyone stop you from doing just that. Know that it takes only one yes to fulfill your dreams. Rejection will come but use it as a teaching tool to better your craft. Don’t wallow in it; keep moving and one day someone will see your hard.