Name: Sharon K. Connell
Age: I’m 71 years old, as of last July.
Where are you from:
I was born in Wisconsin, the U.S.A., but have lived in several places in the country. In December of 2012, I retired from the clerical world, and now I live in Houston, Texas. I love every minutes of it.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
Through college at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago, I attended school in Illinois. U.S.A. I attended the online program offered by the University of Iowa in fiction writing, and I am a graduate of the Pensacola Bible Institute.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
This year I published my fourth novel, His Perfect Love, in the Christian/Romance/Suspense genre (unless the interview is not done before the end of the year. Then it would have to be changed to Last December). My novel is available on Amazon and Kindle. It can also be ordered in bookstores as a print on demand purchase. The goal now is to revise my first three novels into my new writing style, deep point of view.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
A dear friend of mine kept telling me that I should be writing. That started over fifteen years ago. When a hurricane hit Pensacola, Florida, and I experienced the storm firsthand, I knew he was right. The first book didn’t come out as I thought it would, all about the storm, but it did get me started on this wonderful path to being an author.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As soon as I had an idea about a story and got it down in the computer I felt that I was a writer. I didn’t consider myself an author until I had that first book published.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As I mentioned earlier, my friend kept suggesting that I start writing. I took him up on it after Hurricane Ivan hit.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Deep point of view is now the style in which I write. It draws the reader into the story and the emotions of the characters much better than my old style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My titles are based on Bible verses, and the truth I’m trying to bring out in the story. His Perfect Love is ultimately about God’s love, but it can also be connected with the love that my heroine is trying to find in that someone special.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This novel is mainly a message that God loves us and is willing to forgive us for anything in our past life, if we’ll simply turn to Him.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Many events or small incidences in my novels are based on things I personally know about or have experienced, but none of the characters are based on people I know personally. They are all fictitious.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Book that has most influenced my life is the Holy Bible. God speaks to me through His Word. As a reader and writer, works from the great authors of classics influence me: Jane Austin, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens…there are so many others. As a mentor, in regards to writing, I would have to say the writers of the book Elements of Fiction Writing, Plot have had an influence on me. I’ve learned a great deal from this book.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Recently I read An Irish Heart by Jackie Zack. I loved it. I’ve ordered her other two books as well. She has a delightful way of telling a story. My favorite author of all time is J.R.R. Tolkien, with Jane Austin coming in a close second. These two authors have a marvelous gift of storytelling.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Lord, Jesus Christ has supported me through my writing. My friend, Alan J. O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven has been a source of encouragement form the beginning. Constant support comes from the members of the American Christian Fiction Writers and my local chapter, Writers on the Storm here in Houston, CyFair Writers, a local writers’ group here in Houston, and all the members of my group forum on Facebook, Writers and Authors…and Readers. My readers also encourage me along the way by prompting me to get my next book finished.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career. I felt that way even before I retired from the nine to five working world.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There’s nothing I would change in my latest book. I’m very happy with the way this one has come out. I do however intend to make changes to my first three novels, but only due to the writing style. The stories will remain basically the same.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
That would again be through the prompting of Alan O’Reilly.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d be happy to. Here is the first chapter:
Near Minneapolis, Minnesota
Patricia Campbell picked up a newspaper from the lunchroom table in the medical clinic where she worked. The headline read: “Young woman found dead.”
Her eyes scanned the story. The victim was only a year younger than she was. Patricia trembled as she set the paper back on the table. Someone might have written that same story about her two years earlier if she hadn’t slipped through the madman’s clutches.
Jerry Windham’s handsome face materialized as flashbacks played out like a bad home movie in her mind. A chill crept up her neck. She wished she’d never met him.
Her half-eaten sandwich landed in the trash can, her appetite along with it. Just thinking about Jerry had that effect on her.
She left the lunchroom and strolled outside the building. Up ahead, an unoccupied picnic bench beckoned. Patricia took a seat and breathed in the fragrance of freshly cut grass. But it didn’t take her mind off her fear.
Jerry didn’t like loose ends. He didn’t like people who knew too much. Patricia knew that. She slumped back into the park bench and shook her head. Would she have gotten away at all if she hadn’t found out about his crimes?
She swallowed hard and whispered the truth aloud, “He won’t stop until he finds me.” And if he found her—
She got up and ambled down the street. The blustery wind tousled her thick, shoulder-length auburn hair.
Yes, she’d been fortunate to escape when she did.
As she walked, she took deep breaths to calm her out-of-control anxiety. Why Jerry was still free, and not in prison, puzzled her. The authorities must not know what she knew. But at least the police had given her time to vanish when they detained him back then in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Had she left any clues to where she’d gone, or ever mentioned her family to him? She hoped not! Did she tell him she used to live in Minnesota?
Patricia gave a short, barely audible laugh. Jerry was too interested in himself to ask about her.
Still, she’d been in one place too long.
Lunchtime was over. Patricia made her way back to the building and her desk. She tried to concentrate, but the gloomy thoughts persisted. Mounting fears suddenly enveloped her.
Rushing into the ladies’ room, she locked the door behind her. She had to stay calm. Figure out what to do.
Jerry would send someone to find her if they weren’t looking already. She’d leave the state. But where could she go?
She didn’t have much choice.
Downtown Chicago, Illinois
Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Agent Nolan Fitzgerald sat behind his cluttered desk. He shook his head as he addressed the subordinate across from him. “This case has hit more dead ends than any we’ve ever had. I thought we’d have Ms. Campbell in here by now. How hard can it be to find one pretty woman?”
He pushed a fax from their Minneapolis office across the one open space on his desk.
The younger agent, a man in his late twenties, picked it up and scanned the paper. “Well, at least we know she’s been seen in Minnesota. It’s somewhere to start again after all these months. But this tip isn’t all that fresh. She’s a sly one.” The subordinate laid the fax back on the desk.
Agent Fitzgerald leaned his stocky, middle-aged body back in the leather chair. His mop of dull brown hair hit the headrest. Weary eyes searched the ceiling, as though looking for clues.
After a minute, he stood and walked to the window. The other agent followed him, and they both peered down at the people who scurried on the street four stories below them.
“Look, boss, I’ll leave tonight and pick up the trail in Minneapolis. It’s a big town, lots of places for her to hide. But the local office should have an idea of where to start.”
“She could be anywhere. Look at all those people down there. The woman could be walking right under our noses.”
Nolan turned to his subordinate. “Let’s hope she’s still in Minnesota.”
The younger man pursed his lips and ran his fingers through his blond hair. “And let’s hope I discover another lead when I get there. Windham is probably nervous. He’s sure to have gotten wind by now that we’ve been asking about him. Do you think he suspects we’re trying to locate Ms. Campbell?”
“We’ve all eased up on him. But, if he thinks we’re after her for information, he’ll send somebody to find her. She’s in for a rough time if his goons get there first.”
Des Plaines, Illinois
Jerry Windham sat in his office at a desk piled high with paperwork. Patricia Campbell’s face came to mind, as it often did. His thoughts were as dark as the clouds gathering outside from an approaching storm. Thunder rolled, and the house trembled.
He slammed his hand down on the papers, scattering a few notes to the floor. His desk lamp vibrated. That witch left before he could do anything about her.
If it hadn’t been for the police breathing down his neck until recently, he would have gone after her long ago. Now that they’d stopped harassing him, he could eliminate this little problem.
How did that idiot associate of his make such a mess? All he had to do was ask, and arrangements could have been made for him to have the girl. But no, the dumbbell had to stalk her and then try to take her out with all those witnesses around. “Idiot.” Of all the stupid things to do.
Thanks to his lawyers, Jerry was able to disassociate himself from the crime, even if they did keep him under scrutiny for a long time.
Jerry spun around in his seat. His eyes rested on an armchair near the fireplace. Patricia looked so innocent the day he caught her sitting there, just before she ran.
As he rose and drifted toward the fireplace, he glared at the empty armchair. His hand grabbed the roughly hewn mantel and squeezed the unyielding oak, imagining it was Patricia’s neck. If only the woman he saw the other day at that restaurant had been her.
She had the same auburn hair, cut in the same short shaggy style Patricia used to wear. Her back was to him as she stood at the entrance and he made his way to her side. But it wasn’t her.
If it had been, it would have saved him a lot of trouble and expense.
Jerry moved to his desk and fingered the pile of papers strewn across it. His gut told him she’d rifled through everything the day he caught her in here. Patricia always wanted to know more about his business than he would tell her. Just how much incriminating information did she find?
He paced the floor and narrowed his eyes. This had been put off for too long. She’d been like a time bomb hidden somewhere in the room. He had no idea where or when it would go off.
At the window overlooking the backyard, Jerry watched as the men from lawn service gathered their equipment to leave. She’d packed up and left without a clue where she was going right after that day. What did she see on his desk? Someone was already poking around into his activities again, asking questions.
A knock at the door interrupted his brooding.
He shouted, “Come in!”
A man in his late twenties with hair so light it was almost white, strode through the doorway. “Mr. Windham, you asked to see me?”
“Yes, I have a job for you, the confidential kind. I mean no one can find out about this, understand?”
“Of course, don’t I always?”
The jean-clad man sat in one of the tan leather chairs in front of Jerry’s desk. He pulled out a pen and notepad from the pocket of his denim jacket.
“Let’s have the details.”
Jerry drummed his fingers on a fat envelope in front of him as he described Patricia. “I have no idea where she went. But, I once overheard her telling someone that she had connections in Minnesota. When I asked about family, she wouldn’t talk about them. Said she had none.”
The hireling nodded.
Jerry reached across the desk and handed the envelope to his visitor. “I wrote down every detail I can remember about her. Usual arrangements. The faster you take care of this, the bigger your bonus will be.”
“You got it.”
“Let me give you a word of advice.”
The hired killer raised his eyebrows.
“She’s slick. She has a knack for getting her way. Don’t fall for her, or her tricks.”
“Thanks, but she won’t be a problem. I took care of the others for you, didn’t I?”
Jerry frowned and gave the man a piercing stare.
“Keep this in mind. This one’s nobody’s fool, not Daddy’s spoiled little princess. Completely unlike most of my … girlfriends. Smartest woman I’ve ever met.”
“Whatever you say, Mr. Windham.”
“And I’ve gotten word someone else could be looking for her, someone who might be looking for information about me. Make sure you get to her first, understand?”
“So, who else is looking for her?”
“Possibly the FBI. My contact wasn’t sure.”
The man got up and stepped toward the doorway. A couple of feet from the door, he turned with a devilish grin.
“You don’t mind if I have a bit of fun with her before I finish the job, do you?”
He smirked. “Be my guest.” It would thrill him to know she’d be paid back for running out like she did. He’d hoped to settle the score himself, but this would give almost as much satisfaction before he made her disappear.
Jerry took a cigar from a carved box on his desk and lit it. Smoke filled his mouth as he turned to the departing man. He blew out the fumes. “Don’t take any chances or more time than you need. Keep me informed.”
Revenge would be sweet.
The killer shoved the envelope into his jacket pocket with the pen and notepad, and left the room with a snicker.
Satisfied that Patricia Campbell was soon to become one less problem, Jerry watched the heavy carved wooden door close behind his visitor.
His lip curled into a sneer as he expelled a hard, cruel laugh.
When Patricia’s least expecting it—
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, trying to decide if I have the story exactly the way I want it and with no errors.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have not traveled in connection with my book, except locally in Texas.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A very talented young woman by the name of Miriam Esther Rue of Waterslide Illustrations designed my cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing His Perfect Love was making sure that the action was believable, doing the research, and contacting the people who could advise me.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned too many things to start listing in this interview. A writer is always learning more about their craft whether it’s through the writing, editing, or the publishing.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
I think for the female lead in His Perfect Love, I’d love to have Julia Roberts play the part of Patricia. She’s probably too old now, but her face is what I had in mind when I gave the description, and I think her personality would match well.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you really feel that you are called to be a writer, don’t quit, learn all you can about writing before you ever publish your first book, and listen to everything every author has to share with you. It doesn’t mean you have to write like they do, or that they are infallible, but you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I can’t say enough about or to my readers. They are why I write. I’m grateful to every reader that picks up one of my stories and spends time reading it. My desire is to make you want more.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading more books on writing because my order for Jackie Zack’s books has not arrived. When it does, I’ll be reading Rafe’s Café, and then A Chance Mistake.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I believe the first book I read was Charlotte’s Web.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Usually the characters in a good book. I also laugh at the antics of animals and cry over the cruelty in our world.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Someday, I will meet Jesus Christ. I would have loved to meet Queen Victoria. I would like to meet Dame Judith Olivia Dench.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I guess I would like it to read: Sharon K. Connell, Now in the presence of her Lord, She wrote from her heart. (Because that’s what I try to do.)
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to paint, sketch, garden, sing, and I collect castles.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite TV shows are NCIS and Masterpiece Theater. I love anything about history in England, historical romance, and mystery.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favorite foods are many. I love ethnic foods, but also good old American home cooking. I guess my all-time favorite is ice cream (many flavors). My favorite colors are emerald green, royal purple, and white. Regarding music, I most enjoy the old hymns and true classical music from the old composers.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to become an interior designer or artist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Following are all my links:
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/rosecastleplace ( I have a new website being created, but the link for that will be posted on this one)
Facebook Page: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1
Group Forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell
Blogging on WordPress: https://sharonkconnell.wordpress.com/
Blogging on Niume: https://niume.com/pages/profile/?userID=52569
His Perfect Love book trailer: