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Interview with Sherrinda Ketchersid

Christian medieval romance author Sherrinda Ketchersid colors in her Bible. A lot.

I'm not talking just a few yellow highlighter marks here and there. I'm talking full-blown murals of color explosion replacing the white space on the side pages of her Bible. There are also beautiful thin and thick curling strokes of calligraphy intertwining amongst the vibrant pinks, blues, oranges, and various other colors that comprise her artwork.

We've all been told not to write in our books, yet Sherrinda does that … and in the most precious book of all. So, is Sherrinda being bad, and just absent-mindedly doodling in her Bible? No. Quite the opposite. She is #letteringhislove through #illustratedfaith, the technique of what is known as #BibleJournaling.

I admit before talking to Sherrinda, I'd never heard of this practice, so I needed her to explain it to me.

"Bible Journaling is a beautiful way of worshiping and meditating by creating art in your Bible. I think the term Bible Journaling came from the type of Bible used: a journaling Bible with space in the margins to journal. I first started journaling in 2014 after seeing an artist I followed online post about it. I was hooked!"

Calligraphy is one form of artwork that Sherrinda incorporates into her Bible Journaling, and this skill was taught to her by her father when she was a young girl. Sherrinda enjoyed learning the visual art, but didn't really try to develop the talent until the early 1990s. This led to Sherrinda getting several side jobs lettering wedding invitations, name tags, and note cards.

Her dad, who is an artist and an author, obviously passed down some of his creative genes to his daughter. Sherrinda in turn, passed some her creative genes down to her four children, who all are creative in their own way, from writing poetry, to designing characters for video games, to sculpting, to creating electronic music.

Little did Sherrinda and her dad know back when Sherrinda was a kid, but other than passing along some creative genes, it seems Sherrinda's dad also helped influence her toward using a Medieval setting for her historical fiction. "My dad loved that time period for its chivalry, and I can remember coloring pictures he drew of knights and fair maidens."

Some of the other reasons Sherrinda chooses to writes about the Middle Ages is because different aspects of that period intrigue her, such as strength being necessary, and women actually having the ability to achieve certain things. "If they were lucky enough to belong to a noble family, they could be educated to become capable women in a world dominated by men."

Why does Sherrinda prefer writing historical fiction over other genres? She says because it's easier for her to escape into a different world than it would be if she wrote contemporary. She also loves knowing people in years past experienced the same struggles with faith, love, "and … well everything!"

Would she like to have lived in the Middle Ages or in another time period. "While I love the chivalry of the Medieval Period, I wouldn’t want to live in that time. I would love the simplicity of daily life with no social media or TV to distract me, but I would hate not having indoor plumbing. A camper, I am not! I've always been drawn to the Regency era with all the social gatherings and balls, but I don't know that I would have enjoyed all the rules of society at the time. It seemed there was a bit of snobbery from the upper class. I would have hated that!"

Lots of research is always involved in writing historical fiction, which sometimes includes visiting important locations related to a specific time period. Did Sherrinda get to travel abroad in the name of research? "I would have loved to have visited some castles as research, but alas, that was not the case."

Most of her research came from going to the library and checking out history books related to the Middle Ages. She says one trick she learned was going to the Junior Section because those history books are boiled down to the essentials and easy to read, and they often contain great illustrations of castles and the like.

"I have also searched all over the Internet for juicy details, and I've asked questions in the ACFW Historical Fiction Facebook Group. They are a great resource and very generous with their knowledge."

Sherrinda's dad was one person who influenced her writing as far as using a Medieval setting, but who or what influenced Sherrinda to write romantic historical fiction?

"Becoming an author has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. When I would go to my aunt’s house in the summers, she would give me a bag of romance novels and that is when my love for happily-ever-after endings began. I started my first romance novel when I was a junior in high school, but never finished it. I sure wish I had kept it so I could laugh about it now."

We know the who and the what behind Sherrinda writing historical, romantic, books, but why pen Inspirational / Christian novels? "I suppose it is because everything I do in real life is wrapped up in who I am in Christ, so it’s difficult to not include that in my writing. I tried to write a clean romance recently, but it fell flat without the faith thread. Lord of Her Heart is definitely a Christian romance with a faith thread woven throughout. It’s a story of trust—trusting God and trusting one another. Overall, I would love for my stories to reflect the freedom we have in Christ. Freedom to love—freedom to live fully with hope and peace."

Being married to a preacher for 33 years no doubt has probably had a little bit of an influence on Sherrinda's Inspirational writing. Although she says she's not sure if any of her husband's teachings have slipped into her novels, she has written about his sermons from time to time on her blog. She says he really should write a book himself!

Listening to her husband's sermons and journaling in her Bible have given Sherrinda plenty of familiarity with Bible verses. She claims her "life verse" would be Galatians 5:1: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery."

Sherrinda says freedom from sin and all that it entails is huge for a believer, and that freedom encompasses much more than just sin. "It’s freedom from anything holding us in bondage. Perfectionism. Worry. Doubt. Fear. You name it. We can be free."

As far as Bible verse that one of her characters from Lord of Her Heart would quote, Sherrinda says that would probably be Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Her heroine, Joceyln, is who would refer to this verse. "She has to learn to trust God and His leading when things don’t turn out as she expected and life seems to be against her. It’s not easy for her, just like it's difficult for us sometimes. But once we can trust and rest in Him, life has a way for working out for good."

This verse could also be applied to Sherrinda's own life. Although she joined ACFW back in 2010 and was a member for a couple of years, she then took a break from writing. She said she felt she'd made writing an idol, and felt God calling her to set her manuscript for Lord of Her Heart aside and focus on Him.

So, she did that. She set her writing aside. She trusted and rested in God. She knew He had ideas for working things out for her good. "It was 2017 before I felt led to pick up the story and follow God's lead. His timing is perfect."

Perfect indeed. This was the year Sherrinda attended the ACFW Conference in the fall because her manuscript, then titled The Lady's Masquerade, was a finalist in the Genesis contest. This was a time when Sherrinda met up with online writing friends and made new friends; a time she cites as starting the experience of one of the things she loves best about her writing journey – becoming involved with this community of writers.

"Everyone is encouraging and willing to help in whatever way they can. Writers need that in order to be successful, and ACFW is a great way to get involved and find your tribe."

A continuation of God's perfect timing, it was only six short months after the conference that Sherrinda did #FaithPitch on Twitter. Pegg Thomas, the Managing Editor at Smitten, the historical romance imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, asked to see Sherrinda's manuscript after this.

Now, just a little over a year later, Sherrinda's debut novel Lord of Her Heart was released last week, and the second novel in the series, His to Keep, is in the editing/rewriting phase, with Sherrinda planning to turn that into LPC by this summer. This is the story of Ian, the head guardsman from the first book. Sherrinda already has plans for a third book that will feature Ian's sister, Fiona.

Will Sherrinda get a chance in the future to travel to England, Scotland, or Wales to do research on some of the castles located there? Maybe. But, if not, she could go somewhere my family visited, a location not terribly far from Sherrinda's home in Texas. This is a spot where jousting, horsemanship, and falconry take place—along with getting served a four-course, utensil-free meal in a "castle-like" building. The place? Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

What? Wouldn't that be almost as good as visiting a real castle?

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Melinda Freeland wrote her first "novel" at age 8 about Mr. & Mrs. Texas Toast, and their struggle to get off the plate before someone ate them. Today, Melinda writes fiction you can relate to—about humans—and their real struggles, not only in relationships, but also with understanding and trusting God. Love, Texas – Population 2 is her debut Christian contemporary romance novel. It was inspired by Melinda's reunion with her first love, her life as a small-town reporter, and her faith journey. Melinda lives in Texas with her handsome husband, two great kids, and her lovable Pug. She'd love to connect with readers at www.melindafreeland.com and on social media @authormelindafreeland and @melindafreeland.






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