God often uses the testimony of a fellow writer to help us persevere in courage as we hone our craft and use writing as a tool for ministry. Sherry Kyle’s story is no exception.
Sherry is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Bible. She received a Gold Mom’s Choice Award for her book for tween girls titled The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style. Her debut novel, Delivered with Love, was released by Abingdon Press in 2011.
Sherry and her husband have four children, three biological and one by adoption. She lives on the coast in central California, which is the setting for her latest novel, The Heart Stone, released in April 2013.
Months before she celebrated the launching of The Heart Stone, Sherry was invited to step out of her comfort zone and teach a class at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar.
Inspire Writers welcomes Sherry Kyle, as she shares about her writing journey and blesses us with tips on crafting life-changing contemporary women’s fiction.
Why do you think it’s important for writers, beginning and seasoned, to attend writing conferences and workshops?
I love to attend conferences and workshops to continue to learn and grow as a writer. The teaching at conferences is always top notch.
I also enjoy networking with those in the writing community. It’s fun to meet new friends and connect with those that have been going through this journey with me.
As a Christian writer, my spiritual well is also filled up through time spent in prayer and listening to the keynote speakers.
You taught your first writing class, The Craft of Writing Women’s Fiction, at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar. What main points from your class would you like to share with our writers?
First of all, 40% of the fiction sold in the United States is Women’s Fiction. This should encourage all of us who write in that genre.
Here are six key elements to writing women’s fiction:
- The central focus of the storyline is a woman’s life.
- Dynamic relationships fuel this genre.
- Add a dose of humor, but your story can also be deeply emotional.
- Include many of the facets of other genres, such as romance or mystery, but they can’t take over the story goal of what your character wants.
- Is about all types of women—young, older, married, single, divorced, etc.
- There’s not always the standard ‘happy ending,’ but a life-affirming resolution even if the story is somewhat tragic.
However, the most important thing to writing women’s fiction is to write the story that inspires you!
What has been your greatest challenge as a novelist?
My greatest challenge as a novelist is to keep up with the changes in technology and the publishing industry. It’s a continual learning curve.
What has been your greatest reward?
My greatest reward is when someone e-mails me and tells me how much my book has inspired them, or helped them in some way. It’s such a gift to connect with readers.
Tell us a little bit about your journey from being an unpublished writer to being a published author.
I’ve been writing for twelve years. I started when my children were small by taking a course through the Institute of Children’s Literature. By the end of the course, I had an article that was considered for publication. It eventually was turned down, but by this time I had the writing bug!
I continued my education by attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, with this year marking my eighth year attending. I can’t say enough about the importance of learning the craft.
I submitted The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style to Legacy Press in 2007 and they accepted it for publication a few months later. The book received a Gold Mom’s Choice Award. I have two more books for tween girls on the way.
After obtaining an agent, I shifted my focus to also include women’s fiction. Abingdon Press published my debut contemporary novel, Delivered with Love, in April 2011. I love this story. It’s about a young woman who discovers an old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother’s VW Bug.
Tell us about your latest novel? Why is this book different / special?
The Heart Stone, released April 1st, 2013, is my second contemporary novel from Abingdon Press.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
TWO WOMEN. TWO JOURNEYS. A SEASON THAT MAY CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER.
When the alcoholic father of Jessica MacAllister’s son reappears in their lives, Jessica and her son go to her Uncle George for advice and refuge.
Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready to move on. As she ponders her new path in life, her mind drifts to her first love, George MacAllister.
When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. But will the results be a rekindled faith and new hope? Or will it lead them both back into the darkness they’ve fought for so long?
This book is dear to my heart because I learned so much about the importance of forgiveness. My hope is that readers will be touched by this truth as well.
What final word of encouragement do you have for upcoming novelists?
Get involved with the writing community—join a critique group, go to conferences, meet editors and agents.
Enjoy the gift God gave you and have a servant’s heart. He will use your words when and where He sees fit.