Monday, June 18, 2007

CSFF June Blog Tour Day One: The Restorer

CSSF Blog Tour

We're continuing with The Restorer today. So what's the "something special" I've been holding on to? Just this: back in April, I had the privilege of meeting Sharon Hinck and interviewing her for the blog tour. She graciously invited my wife, my son, and me to her Minneapolis home and we had a great two hour chat.

Actually, the beginning of the interview was a definite Becky Miller moment. I hoped to interview Sharon for the blog tour, figuring that I had an "in" since we're both members of the same denomination. I even tried to sweeten the pot by offering to bring my very adorable son, Isaiah, with me.

It worked. Sharon graciously invited my wife, my son, and me to her suburban Minneapolis home. Now, let me tell you, I was extremely nervous about this. I was meeting a published author and conducting an interview for the first time. I wanted to be cool, calm, professional.

So we got to her house, we settled into her living room, and the first thing Isaiah did was spit up on her hardwood floor.

Thankfully, Sharon laughed it off and, like I said, we had a great interview.

Over the next three days, I'll be posting that interview ... starting now:

John: What’s your background? What did you do before you started writing?

Sharon: I’ve done all kinds of things. I started writing when I was in grad school. The prof would send me my papers with red marks which told me everything I needed to fix, but then he’d write at the bottom of the paper "Submit this to Christianity Today or Partnership." So he got me to break through that barrier of being scared of being published.

My passion for many years was using the art of dance in Christian worship and theatre. I taught ballet for twenty years and spoke about Christian arts to various conferences. I was the director of a Christian dance company made of professional dancers for ten years. We wanted to use the art of dance in theatrical settings to bring in people that could see works about faith themes.
I was also busy raising kids and got back into writing four or five years ago.

John: What’s your all-time favorite book? Speculative fiction book? Christian fiction?

Sharon: Perelandra by C. S. Lewis. That book absolutely captivated me and gave me an understanding of creation and the fall and redemption in ways that I had never grasped before.

John: What’s your favorite speculative genre to write? To read?

Sharon: I enjoy reading fantasy with a contemporary voice -- general fiction with fantasy woven in. I just read Stolen Child by Keith Donohue. It’s a contemporary novel but it has changelings in it. As you read the whole mythology of these changelings, you start to believe that if you look out into the woods, you’ll see these little creatures out there. It makes them seem real. It’s written in a contemporary voice. There aren’t pages and pages of history and description. You know how a lot of fantasy is fairy-tale-ish? I like writing with a contemporary fiction voice but with fantastical elements.

I’ll read everything. I’ll even confess I have a shelf full of Star Trek novels. I love Diana Gabaldon who wrote Outlander and a whole series of time travel. I love time travel stories. I love the Anne McCaffrey books, which are very sociological views of creating a story world. What she does with that is beautiful. When I was in college I read Heinlein and some of the harder edge sci-fi writers. Of course I love Karen Hancock, Randy Ingermanson, Kathy Tyers, Kathryn Mackel. I just loved all their stuff. There are some really strong CBA speculative fiction authors.

John: What does being Lutheran bring to the world of Christian fiction?

Sharon: Go Lutherans! I was talking to someone at Mount Hermon about being Missouri Synod Lutheran. Her husband is Missouri Synod although she grew up Baptist. She said, "You gotta hand it to those Missouri Synod Lutherans. You really have a firm theological foundation."

I think that’s so valuable. I try to bring that into my fiction writing. Theology colors everything. For example, in the Becky Miller books, I address the whole issue of "If you’re really following God, then you’re going to have wealth and then you’ll have health. If something’s going wrong, you must be sinning." These are just totally non-Biblical concepts.

I cherish every theology class I had in college. I cherish my background: Scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone. That does influence the way I write and what I try to bring to the story.

John: If you could collaborate on a story with any author, who would it be and why?

Sharon: That’s too hard. So many ideas are buzzing through my head now. Maybe Mark Twain? Wouldn’t it be fun to co-author something with him? I grew up reading Mark Twain and Jack London. Some of those authors and the way they write adventure ... That would be really fun.

But I have to say Madeline L’Engel. I would love to collaborate on a project so I could learn from her. I love her non-fiction books about the artist’s life and the writer’s life and of course The Wrinkle in Time and all those books. That would be really cool. She would be my top choice.


So is that it? Nope. I've got two more parts to go. Tomorrow see what Sharon had to say about writing in general and The Restorer. And be sure to enter the contest. You still have some time!

Also, be sure to check out the other blog tour participants:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver


hrh said...

Hi John:

Great interview with Sharon. Thanks for posting, and I can't wait for the rest!

And I agree with your review comments that Sharon doesn't write down to believers. In some ways, I think that may affect unbelievers even more profoundly than an obviously written conversion experience.

Also totally agree with Sharon's choice of collaborating with Madeleine L'Engle. The woman can write it all! Alas, the time may be past - I think her health is not good.

'Til tomorrow ...

Sharon Hinck said...

John, it totally cracks me up that you were nervous about visiting. Meeting you and your family was a HUGE treat, and Isaiah was such a doll, that it stirred up my "can we have one more?" baby longings (much to my husband's alarm!)

Daniel I Weaver said...

Great work here, John. Thank for you sharing. I look forward to reading the rest.

God Bless,
Daniel I Weaver

Becky said...

Well, this is the way a live interview should read. Great questions, John. I've known Sharon a while now, and I'm still learning more.

Nice work.