LAURIE: Sharee Stover, I'm so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book and your writing journey. First of all, can you tell us a bit about "Secret Past" and what inspired you to write this story?
SHAREE: Thanks so much for having me here today. "Secret Past" is my debut novel with Love Inspired Suspense. Katie Tribani discovers she has been raised in witness protection after the death of her mother. Every reality in Katie's life tumbles down when US Marshal, Daniel Knight, shows up at her front door to whisk her away to safety. The father and brother she's never known have discovered her location and they're coming. Katie must uncover the truth before one of them kills her.
I wanted to write a story involving Witness Protection and I found great information right on the US Marshals website including the fact that the program had been around since the early 1970's. I also searched pictures, movies and books and somewhere along the line, I came upon a black and white picture of a child with his mom in a story about the program. That's when I started to play my "what if"? game. What if my character was placed in the program as a child and grew up always under protection? If that was normal, if her family didn't want her to know the truth...as an adult, how would that affect a person? When is a good time for a parent to tell their child the truth? And that posed my target question: What if you'd been raised in witness protection and never known it?
LAURIE: What was the process for getting together with Love Inspired Suspense?
SHAREE: I had been working on this story for Love Inspired Suspense so when Emily Rodmell posted on Facebook that she was snowed in and taking blurb pitches I sent mine. When she asked to see the story, I was floored and elated! I had to make several revisions to the story but the changes made it stronger and I learned a ton. Several months and a lot of editing later, I received The Call.
LAURIE: Have you always written romances or did you write in other genres?
SHAREE: I actually started out writing suspense, attempted some historical and then evolved into romantic suspense. I love reading Ted Dekker, Brandilyn Collins, and Terri Blackstock. They're incredible suspense writers. So I wanted to write suspenseful stories too. My first book was about a married couple. In the story, the wife commits murder and the husband is faced with the decision to cover for her or turn her in. 90,000 plus words later, after a few conferences, writing books and a painfully bad pitch to an agent, I found that book needed a heavy reworking. So, it's collecting dust under my bed. Maybe some day I'll go back and rewrite it.
LAURIE: Are there any other authors who've influenced you in your writing?
SHAREE: I have so many favourite authors! I read in a lot of different genres and love variety. Carrie Stuart Parks, Julie Cantrell, Lisa Wingate, Kate Breslin, Tosca Lee, Karen Sargent, Mary Connealy, Rachel Dylan, Lynette Eason, Colleen Coble, ...oh wow and the list goes on and on.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published?
SHAREE: The road to publishing is a long and winding one for sure. I started writing full time after my youngest daughter was born so that's been about eight years. Initially, I thought I'd be writing non-fiction. I spent a lot of time collecting information on Korean history, especially during the Korean War. My interest stems from the work I've done in writing my mother's story. She was a war bride and her story is a powerful one of God's incredible redemption. I also enjoyed journaling my thoughts and stories with my daily Bible reading so I planned to write devotionals.
LAURIE: What advice would you give yourself back when you first started out, knowing now what you didn't know then?
SHAREE: What a great question! First, I'd tell myself to study writing techniques in books, conferences, writers groups etc. There's a lot to know and having a community of fellow writers is so helpful. Critique partners are a blessing because they see what you can't, and they provide incredible insight.
I'd also tell myself to buckle up and be ready for a ride. Everyone says you have to grow a thick skin and that's something I'm still working on. Rejection hurts but it's absolutely a huge part of this business.
Most of all, I'd say give yourself GRACE. There's great days when you can't type fast enough to get the words out and awful days when you wonder what on earth you were thinking about when you decided to become a writer.
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you're not writing? Anything else you'd like our readers to know about you and your work?
SHAREE: I love to crochet but can only do flat things like blankets because I can't make anything the same size twice. Tried doing granny square items and failed every time. Scrapbooking and card making are also hobbies though it's been awhile since I've done either so I'm really behind on my children's albums.
Writing is an addiction for me and something I absolutely love doing. I have an amazing group of writing sissters and their prayers and support are invaluable. I'm also an avid reader and so I appreciate the gift of storytelling and hope to get better and better at it.
LAURIE: Here's your beautiful cover, Sharee, and the blurb to your book "Secret Past". Readers if you have any questions for Sharee, please put them in the comments below and Sharee will be in and out all day to answer them.
Her life is a lie.
She's not who she thinks she is...
With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She's been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her. As bullets fly, US Marshal Daniel Knight whisks her to safety - but not for long. Captured and held prisoner, only Katie can unearth her secret past...if she can survive long enough.
Coming April 2018 from Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense!
Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word-nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. Her Christian romantic suspense stories combine heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Nebraska Writer's Guild. Sharee is a two-time Daphne du Maurier Finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award.
When she isn't writing, she enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd.
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.