Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is
"Every Good & Perfect Gift"
Sharon K. Souza
"Every Good & Perfect Gift"
Sharon K. Souza
I was thrilled to get to read this book, it is what I would categorize as women's fiction and is Sharon's debut novel. Based on this book I am anxious to see what she will accomplish for her 2nd novel. "Every Good & Perfect Gift" is a great book that draws on real life experiences and deals with some heavy issues such as infertility, illness, friendship and faith. Sharon manages to take these heavy issues and infuse them with humor and feeling. It is not a usual thing for me to find a book that grabs me from the first paragraph and doesn't let me go until the last page (as I'm bawling). This book does that, and its not a mystery or a suspense - usually I think of women's fiction as being a slowly developing work in character development and a continuously, unraveling plot line - Sharon's book breaks that mold in the manner of jumping right in with both feet. You will meet Gabby and DeeDee and follow their path with them as they show that true friendship breaks all conventional stereotypes and is truly a blessing from God.
Now let's meet Sharon...
Now let's meet Sharon...
1) One of the best opening lines in a book of 2008 was in "Every Good & Perfect Gift" - "Gabby, I want a baby." Before page 3 I was completely hooked and into the story. What was your inspiration for this book?
I wanted to write a story about extreme friendship between two women, and came up with what I thought was the best way to express that, using the issue of infertility. But that was just the springboard to bring awareness of an illness that a very close friend was diagnosed with a few years before I wrote the book. I didn't know such a thing existed until the diagnosis came back for Evie.
2) Not enough women have the kind of friendships in their lives that this book shows us. I believe that God made women to need other women in their lives to fill a place that husbands often times can't (just because of the way we are wired). Do you have this kind of friendship in your life?
I totally agree that women need friends, and that they fill a place husbands can't fill. Young married women especially are so busy raising a family and all that entails that friendships tend to get put on the back burner. I understand the dynamics of that, having been a wife and mother with 3 children, 3 years apart. It was a busy, busy time. I lost contact with the friends I'd had in high school, and didn't have time to cultivate new ones. I went through a period of time when I didn't have one single close friend, and didn't even realize how much I was missing until the Lord brought new friends into my life. By then I'd come to understand the value of friendship, and those friends have been very important in my life. The beautiful thing is that our husbands were also close friends, and so were our children.
I've recently reconnected with my three best friends from high school. The connection has been marginal with one, a little better with another. But the third friend, whom I only reconnected with a few weeks ago, was as thrilled as I was to be in communication again. I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me in all three cases to get in touch, and I hope to minister in each of their lives as the Lord leads.
3) You bring some heavy issues into this book, but handle them incredibly well... infertility, choosing not to have children, Alzheimer's and of course stress in marriage among other things. Yet this book is not heavy and depressing, but rather uplifting and inspirational - how did you strike such a balance?
I try to keep in mind as I write that reading a novel is a luxury for many women today. They take some of their precious time to spend in the pages of my books. I want to make that experience worth their while. I want them to enjoy the story, the characters, and to take something away from the book. But I don't want to burden them in the process. Adding humor to a heavy topic makes the topic more palatable. And bringing inspiration to the situation is what my writing is all about. The reader may not be dealing with the exact same issue, but they can still find the hope they need to get through whatever issue they are facing.
4) I re-read the last chapter to refresh my memory since it's been over 6 months and 100 books since I read "Every Good & Perfect Gift", and it pulled me right back in and made me teary-eyed all over again. That is masterful. What would you like readers to take away with them after reading this book?
It's easy to feel forsaken when we go through difficult trials, such as illness, loss, or betrayal. Gabby needed to be reminded that the Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake us, and I know from personal experience that he won't. Romans 8:18 says, "I consider that our present sufferings [no matter how hard they are] are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." I think about that when difficulties come, and I'm encouraged by those words, as it was intended I should be. I want to remind readers that something infinitely better is on the horizon, and we have to keep looking and moving forward. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25 & 26). I do, and it gives me hope I want to pass on to others.
5) You have a new book out, "Lying on Sunday" - tell us a little about that.
Lying on Sunday is the story of Abbie Torrington, a woman who's lived a charmed life right up until the story opens. Then her world is rocked in the most unexpected ways. We follow her journey as she discovers the life she thought she was living turned out to be a lie. We follow as she discovers the real woman beneath the facade recreated in her husband's false image. And we follow as Abbie learns that the truth really does set you free. Lying on Sunday is about betrayal, which comes in many forms. I trust this book will speak to women who have experienced the sting of betrayal, no matter how it was manifested. And I hope it will remind us all that there is indeed life after betrayal. I heard the story of a young woman who was brutally raped, and yet she had such a positive outlook. When asked about it, she replied, "He took an hour of my life; that's all he's getting." What an incredible attitude, and what a beautiful way to keep that man from taking anything more from her. Lying on Sunday is all about breaking free of the shackles that keep us from experiencing life at its fullest. It's another story of extreme friendship, and a story about the intricate and complex relationship between mothers and daughters.
6) What is coming up for you next so we know what to be looking for?
I've just completed a novel entitled Unraveled, and am at work on my next book. I hope to have details very soon as to the release date of Unraveled. You can visit my website for more information.
7) Where can readers find you online?
My web address is http:www.sharonksouza.com. I'm also excited to announce the launch of a new blog I'm participating in called Novel Matters. You can find it at novelmatters.blogspot.com. Novel Matters is the cooperative effort of myself and six other writers. We'll be talking about issues that relate to writers and readers, and what makes good fiction, well, good. I hope you'll check us out.
And readers, look forward to my review of Sharon's newest book "Lying on Sunday" soon - I'm very excited to read it! If you would like to win a copy of "Every Good & Perfect Gift" from Sharon then leave me a comment (with your email address or way to reach you) telling me who your best friend is and you will have 1 entry in the drawing! If you tell someone else (especially your best friend) about this interview with Sharon and they enter and put your name in the comment then you will have 3 extra entries, if you link to this interview from your own blog then you will get 2 extra entries - Good luck!