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Interview with Sherry Kyle

Sherry Kyle’s latest novel, The Heart Stone, centers on a unique heart-shaped ring, which intertwines two women’s lives forever. In Kyle’s own life, there was a special object as well – a book – which God used to lead her to Him. It is through this call on her life to salvation and to write along with her family’s support and her love of the written word that has sparked her writing career across the pre-teen platform and now to women’s fiction with stories of unyielding faith, reconciliation, and redemption.

Sherry, your first novel involved a letter and now your latest release, The Heart Stone, centers around a ring. How do these objects serve as physical symbols of the storyline (without plot spoiling of course)? Do you think your future books will also involve more objects embedded in the plot?
Thank you so much for having me today!

My novels are about relationships, and I enjoy using objects, such as the letter or the ring, to connect characters to each other. The object is the catalyst for the story, whether it is about family members, first loves, or new romance. And yes, I’m working on another book right now that centers on an object. I wish I could tell you more, but you’ll have to wait to find out what it is.

With your women’s fiction, what draws you to explore female relationships and connections? Is it simply relatable or something more?
I think every woman relates to issues of self-identity. We learn about ourselves by how we relate to others, and it is in those connections that shape what we believe about ourselves. But God’s opinion is what matters most. First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” With my women’s fiction, I want my readers to discover this truth most of all.

In having a Communications degree, would you say that writing dialogue comes easily to you or is it more difficult because you are more critical of it?
Good question. I wouldn’t say writing dialogue comes easily to me, but I’m definitely attuned to how people speak. (My Communications degree is in Speech Pathology.) What helps me with dialogue is when I relax and let the characters’ speech sound natural instead of trying too hard. When people talk, they skip words, combine them, or change the subject mid-sentence. As writers, we need to let our characters talk that way as well.

How did the journey of writing your first women’s fiction book begin? Was there a specific inspiration to do it?
I received my first book contract for middle grade nonfiction but soon after, the children’s market shifted (like publishing is known to do) and it became harder and harder to get published. At that point I was encouraged by an agent to write for adults, so I signed up for a mentoring class at Mount Hermon Writers Conference with James Scott Bell.

With only a month until the class, I had to dig deep and figure out a storyline. While vacuuming one day, I came up with Claire’s discovery of the old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother’s VW Bug. I brought the first twenty pages of Delivered with Love. (By the way, I learned how to stretch the tension. After taking the class, the second chapter became chapter 32!)

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities – namely raising four children?
I’m fortunate in that I write while my kids are in school. Carving out writing time was more difficult when my children were small, but now they are between the ages of 13-20 and they understand when I need to write. Of course, summertime is more difficult because someone is always home or I’m busy shuttling them around to different activities. But they’re teenagers and they enjoy sleeping in and hanging out in their room. I just need to make sure they get dressed before noon and eat three well-balanced meals.

With a writer’s conference playing such a large role in the publishing of your first novel, what advice would you give to those hesitant to attend due to the monetary expense or being overwhelmed, etc.?
I say go for it! Writer’s conferences are worth every penny. It’s not always about finding a publisher, however. Every contact you make is important as well as what you will learn. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Everyone there is slightly overwhelmed.

There is a lot of hope and expectation and with that comes nerves, but there is nothing that will energize you more than being in a group of like-minded writers. To me, the best part of any Christian writers conference is worship. When I put God first, the rest falls into place.

Since you are familiar with adoption on a personal and spiritual level, have you used this subject in your writing thus far or do you have a future project in the works regarding it?
You know when I said you have to wait to find out what my next project is about? Well, you guessed it. I’m writing a story about two sisters, each adopted by different families, and how they reconnect.

In one of your interviews, you mentioned that some things in your books have actually happened to you. Will you share a little about one situation like this?
Every author writes a little of themselves into their books, including phrases or funny events, because we’re taught to write what we know. My response to the interview question, however, was directed more to my books for tween girls. For example, in my book The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room releasing at the end of this month, I wrote about the time I went to a classmate’s birthday party on my birthday.

The party included riding in a Rolls Royce and going to the most upscale restaurant in town. The girl’s parents gave her a doll for her exquisite doll collection and a card filled with hundred dollar bills. I didn’t think there was a chance she would like my simple gift. My mom and I had made her a royal blue heart-shaped satin pillow with her name embroidered on the top. Later that night she came up to me and said, “Your gift is the best present I’ve ever gotten.” True story!

As mentioned above, there are specific objects that your books revolve around (a letter and a ring). What is one object in your life that holds a deep symbolism to your own story? What is it and how is it meaningful?
A book! I know you’re probably not surprised. When I was in the fourth grade, my family went on a summer vacation to a wonderful place called Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado where I grew up.

During that trip I accepted Jesus into my heart right along with Joy Sparton of Parsonage Hill. Ever heard of the book? I still own my copy. It has a special place on my bookshelf.

Any parting words?
Trust God with your writing. He has a plan. We need to do our part, like sitting in the chair and writing along with taking classes, but ultimately He’s in control. This truth gives me peace. I hope it does the same for you.

Thanks so much for answering these questions, Sherry!
Thank you!

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