Thursday, May 22, 2008

Favorite Fiction Moms

Thanks to everyone who participated in my recent blog contest and mentioned some of the beloved moms of fiction. In certain genres, single protagonists may be more common, but I've always believed that married women and moms have rich, layered lives and can take us on great emotional and spiritual adventures.

By the way, the photo is of my favorite NON-fiction mom. It's my real life mom at a Mall of America book signing last year. Yep, she loved me enough to wear a red cape and stroll around helping draw people in.

Here were some of the fictional moms folks have loved to read about:

Caroline Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie
Claire from Leave it to Claire
Susan Mitchell from the Restorer books (Sword of Lyric series)
Elizabeth Baxter from the Redemption series
Becky Miler from The Secret Life of Becky Miller
Beth Branning from the Night Light series
Victoria Austin and Meg Murry from Madeleine L'Engle's books
Deb Ralston from Lee Martin's book
Marilla Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables
Marty Davis from Love Comes Softly
Dianne Pierceson from The Schoolmaster's Bride
Maddie in The Return of the Guardian King
Firebird in Kathy Tyers' book
Amy Johnson in Symphony of Secrets
Marliyn Grimes in The Interruption of Everything
Reese in Accidental Happiness
Jean Waterman in Lucky Strike
Margaret "Marmee" March of Little Women

Congrats to Jenny (eviesmommo) who won the drawing. Her copy of Sherri's book is in the mail. But we're all winners, because we all have some new fictional moms to explore in the coming days!

Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


In recent weeks, I've been listening to my iPod Bible. Hearing the Word in a new way has stirred some fresh insights, especially in the places where my eyes tend to glaze when reading (Leviticus, some of Numbers, etc.).

Yesterday I was listening to Joshua 13-19 . . . a detailed listing of the boundaries for each of the tribes in the Promised Land.

Even staring at my Bible map while listening, it got a little tedious listening to the names, the cities, the geographical descriptions.

But I was struck by how Joshua cast lots "in the presence of the Lord" to set up the territories. In other words, God set the boundaries.

How often I've looked at someone else's life and murmured to God, "Look at the great land they are inhabiting. Look at how wide their territory is extending. Why does my spot of service in your kingdom seem so tiny? So arid? So unimportant by comparison?"

Listening to the book of Joshua challenged me to be grateful for the metaphoric land He's allowed me to inhabit, and reminded me to trust His boundaries. If I'm not able to serve in a certain ministry at my church, I can rejoice for those who are called to it, and trust God has something else in mind for me. If my books don't reach as large an audience as I'd hoped, I can thank Him for the great authors who inhabit vast territories for His glory and thank him for the tiny foothill where He's allowed me to build a village. If my prayer life feels like a tiny barren cave instead of lush and fruitful vineyards, I can trust that God is producing what He needs to within the little cave.

One more lovely thought from Joshua. In the opening chapter, God says to Joshua over and over, "Be strong and courageous." In his farewell speech to Israel much later, Joshua says to the people, "Be strong." I loved that parallel. What God spoke into his life, Joshua lived and then spoke into the lives of others. Isn't that cool?

On another note, one of my favorite sites reporting on books, music, and movies is Title Trakk. They recently posted a review of Symphony of Secrets. Of course I'm always grateful when someone appreciates what I'm striving for in my stories--but I was particularly blessed by this review because it was so beautifully written - evoking the imagery of a symphony in the description. If you have a moment, stop by to check it out!

And you can still enter the drawing for a free copy of Sherri Sand's debut novel in the prior post. I've loved hearing everyone's contributions for favorite fictional moms!

Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place, Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller
(2008 Audie Award Finalist, Inspirational Fiction category)
The Restorer
(2008 Christy Award Finalist, Visionary category)
The Restorer's Son (Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance reviewers)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Coming Soon:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Visit from Sherri Sand & Free Book!

I'm delighted to announce the debut novel of one of my best friends, Sherri Sand.

Sherri and I met at Mt. Hermon many years ago. We immediately found that "kindred spirit" bond. We sat side-by-side in the fiction track, discussed various approaches to writing, and delved into our faith journey. In future years we giggled together as roommates, and cried together over hard lessons and rough roads.

We also became critique buddies. I always love getting feedback from Sherri on a batch of chapters, because we "get" each other. I know she'll dig deep and find plenty of things for me to fix, but she'll also look at the big picture and encourage me when the story is touching her heart--and that's what we both long to do with our stories: glorify God and touch hearts.

We pray with and for each other often - via phone and email. When she called to tell me about her contract offer, I think I was more excited than when I got my own first contract. I know you'll enjoy her book. She pours her love for God into her stories. Here's some info:


Single mom of three, Sierra Montgomery is desperate to find a new job to keep from having to move back home and be smothered to death by her mother’s good intentions and overbearing love. So when Sierra inherits Chance, a quirky old gelding she doesn’t have a clue what to do with, she thinks her best bet may be to sell the horse to cover another month’s rent—a decision that devastates her children.

Enter Ross Morgan, a handsome landscaper who just happens to have an empty barn and fenced pasture…perfect for an old horse to live out his days as the pet of three wounded kids. Ross develops a soft spot for eldest child Braden…and he just might have one for Braden’s mother. But what he doesn’t have is time for distractions—he’s got a landscaping business to run.

But Sierra has a secret. She’s terrified of horses and—thanks to her past—wary of attractive men. Yet seeing the way her angry son idolizes Ross and adores that old horse forces Sierra to confront her fears. Will she remain distrustful and self-reliant, or will she seek help from God and those who love her?

You can visit Sherri at her website, and find her books at major stores or order online.

And for some extra fun, I'm holding a contest!

"Moms in Fiction"
Sherri and I both write heroines who are moms. Post a comment about some of your favorite moms in fiction, along with a current email where I can reach you, and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Leave it to Chance!

A few of my favorites? Anne Blythe (of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Ingleside), Mrs. Murry (in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time), Mibby (in Patti Hill's Like a Watered Garden).

Can't wait to hear your favorites!

Sharon Hinck
The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place, Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller (2008 Audie Award Finalist, Inspirational Fiction category)
The Restorer (2008 Christy Award Finalist, Visionary category)
The Restorer's Son (Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance reviewers)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Coming Soon:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Visit from Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is a prolific contemporary novelist and a gifted teacher of fiction. I was blessed to learn from her at a writer's conference, and also benefited from her generosity as she gave me tips on how to handle certain aspects of the writing life.

I'm pleased to let you know about her latest book release.

She Always Wore Red
by Angela Hunt
(Tyndale House)

Jennifer Graham—mother, student, and embalmer’s apprentice—could use a friend. She finds one in McLane Larson, a newcomer to Mt. Dora. While McLane’s soldier-husband serves overseas, Jen promises to support McLane, then learns that her tie to this woman goes far deeper than friendship. When a difference of opinion threatens their relationship, Jennifer discovers weaknesses in her own character . . . and a faith far stronger than she had imagined.

A Romantic Times Top Pick! “Be prepared to shed a few tears in Hunt’s emotionally gripping tale, the second in the Fairlawn series. With themes of family, friendship, and trusting God, the plot is enhanced by realistic and engaging characters. Jennifer’s growth as a character is evident, and the supporting cast enhances the story in a significant way. “ --Melissa Parcels, Romantic Times reviewer

A Few Questions For Angie:

Q: The first book in this series is Doesn't She Look Natural? Do people have to read the first book in order to understand the second? (And congratulations on the Christy Award nomination for that title!)

A. Thank you--I'm honored. And no, people don't have to read the first book first, though it's always nice to read the books in order to get a sense of the story and background. But all the books will work as single title reads.

Q: The Fairlawn series is set in a funeral home. Did you observe the embalming process in your research? Or just read about it/interview morticians?

A. Unfortunately, with the advent of all the new privacy laws (HIPPA, anyone?), I was unable to observe an embalming--and believe me, I was ready and willing. So most of my research came from books, photographs, and interviews (and once you announce that you're working on funeral homes, morticians seem to come out of the woodwork!)

It just so happens that one of my Tyndale editors grew up in a funeral home. She has been a great asset--she gave me the idea for the funny flower arrangements and the funeral singers, plus I had written a scene in book three where Jen and Gerald sit down to eat a steak in the prep room. My editor said that didn't feel right. "Too weird?" I asked. "No," she said. "There's always an odor in that room . . . not very appetizing."

Ah. That's the sort of thing you can't always get from a book. :-/

Q: The setting--a funeral home--is unique, but these books are really about the typical challenges that face women today, right?

A: Oh, yes. Jennifer is a single mom juggling school, motherhood, and a career--and I think most modern women can relate to her. I certainly can.

Thanks for stopping by, Angie!
You can order the book here, and visit Angie at her website here.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Secret Life of Becky Miller in Holland

Today's mail brought a great treat:

the Dutch-language version of The Secret Life of Becky Miller.

I love the cover they did - and hope that women in the Netherlands will enjoy reading about a North-American mom and her imaginative daydreams.

I'm doing a happy dance (wearing wooden clogs, of course). Now if my tulips would just come up (spring is late here in Minnesota) I could get in the spirit of Holland even more!

Sharon Hinck
Sharon's Books

A Visit from Beth White

by Elizabeth White

Matt Hogan's Memphis detective agency has been on the skids since a recent attack of conscience cost him an important case. When a wealthy investor steps in and saves River City Investigations, Matt thinks all his prayers have been answered-until he finds out that with the investor comes a new partner.

Fresh out of criminal justice school and a two-year stint in the Tunica County Sheriff's Department, Natalie Tubberville is out to prove she can cut it in the world of private investigations. But her reluctant partner is just as determined to have nothing to do with her--until Natalie makes him an offer he can't refuse! If Matt solves the next case before she does, she will return her share of the company.

And the race is on. As two strong personalities compete, mutual attraction grows…while a simple case of a runaway bride threatens to become an international incident. Will Matt and Natalie call off the competition-or discover an entirely new arrangement?

Q: What's the craziest thing you ever did in the name of research?

You mean besides get married?? JUST KIDDING! Once when I was working on "The Trouble With Tommy," I went on a coon hunt with my uncle and my son. I did not carry a gun--but my son did. He was about fourteen at the time and had never been hunting before. You coon hunt at night, so we all wore these helmet like hardhats with headlights on the front. We put the dogs in their carrier on the back of the four-wheeler and they're barking their heads off as we drive through the woods. Finally we stop and let the dogs out and follow them, listening for the change in their baying. When a dog trees a raccoon it's very distinct. Even an ignoramus like me can hear it. So my son was so excited he could hardly hold onto the bullets as he loaded them in the gun. I won't go into the details, but it was hilarious and gross and totally a South Mississippi experience.

Who's your favorite author?

I have lots of favorites, but I've always loved Max Brand. His real name was Frederick Faust--and he wrote totally campy westerns back in the 1920's and 30's. In fact he created Destry of Destry Rides Again and Dr. Kildare! His heroes were daring and funny, and he's the only male writer I know who could consistently do a decent romance. You gotta check him out!

What was the most fun experience you've ever had as a writer?

Writing is not fun. I'm serious! Researching is fun. Answering fan letters is fun. Writing answers to blog interviews is even fun. Walking through a bookstore and seeing my name on a shelf is fun. Writing is, like someone said, "like shoving a refrigerator uphill." Well, okay, if you insist. I adore writing the scene at the end where the hero and heroine get together. I just melt into a puddle every time. We old married people know that the real work begins there, but gosh, don't you just love that hopeful spot of pure joy?

Please visit Beth on the web


Thanks for visiting, Beth! Blessings on your new release!

Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blogging at Faithchicks Today

Here's a photo of a signing I did a week or so ago with my friend, Jill Elizabeth Nelson (on the right), at the Barnes and Noble in Mankato, MN. LaRae Bisel (center) is the AMAZING Community Relations Manager, who made it a fun event.

Last night, the online chat with the ACFW Bookclub was a BLAST - the room was packed, and the questions were great. I couldn't type fast enough.

Today I'm blogging about The Cyberworld - Bane or Blessing - over at Faithchicks.
Pop over and leave your best advice for us!

Sharon Hinck
The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller (2008 Audie Award finalist - Inspirational category)
The Restorer (2008 Christy finalist - Visionary category)
The Restorer's Son (Romantic Times 4.5 star/Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award)
and new releases: The Restorer's Journey, and Symphony of Secrets

Monday, May 05, 2008

Online Chat Tonight - You're Invited!

Hi, everyone!
Please stop by the ACFW Bookclub Chat tonight. I have an irrational fear of sitting alone in a cyber-room, drinking cyber-tea and typing emoticons to myself. So please pop by. You can ask me any questions you want.

That's Monday, May 5th, 7pm central time.

(Sorry, I'm not good at translating that to eastern or pacific time - but I hope you can!)

AND if you want any interesting tidbits of my life, I recently popped down to Australia (virtually, not literally, more’s the pity) for a very fun interview with Relz Reviews.

Hope to chat with you soon!