Friday, December 26, 2008

The 8th Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is...


The 8th
Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is
"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...



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.
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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!

28 comments:

Alyce said...

I would have to say that my long-term best friend is my sister, but I also have a friend that I have been getting to know in my town that I would consider best friend material. She is definitely my best friend in town.

hippmom said...

I am blessed to have had the same best friend, Lori, since high school- amazing! We live half way across the country from each other but I can not imagine life without her!

Janna, my to-read list is getting huge! Now I am going to add this book and her new book to mylist!

rebornbutterfly said...

My best friend is smeone i have know for a long time but only within the last few years have really gotten close to :)
Please enter me for this book!

windycindy said...

Sounds like a wonderful story line! I enjoy reading stories about women and their friendships. Please enter me in your drawing for this book.
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

My only and older sister is my best friend! Thanks for a fantastic contest drawing. Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Anna W. said...

My best friend is my twin sister! We're so different, but are so close, regardless.

Please enter me!

writer_weaver at yahoo.com

Cathy Bryant said...

My best friend (other than Jesus) would have to be my husband. What a blessing he has been in my life!

Cathy

Cleda said...

Thanks so much for this opportunity to get this book... sounds wonderful.

I have too many best friends to list them all... I have four brothers and three sister in laws and a sister I consider my best friends... I have a daughter and three sons I consider my best friends... Then there is that one friend that was my best friend in high school (43 yrs ago)that lives in Alaska now...

wonderful review...

cedson76255(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alyce said...

I blogged about it here:

http://athomewithbooks.blogspot.com/2008/12/weekly-giveaway-roundup_30.html

Lora Lease said...

I also have several best friends, three of which I have been best friends with since elementary school (Ruth, Marty & Terri). Other special friends of mine are Lisa, Beth, and especially my children, my mom & sister.

asyouwiiiiish@gmail.com

Kim said...

My bf is my sister. Who I grew up hating! She is my lifelong friend.

Gin said...

my best friend is Laura, who now lives too far away from me. We met in college.

le15307@msn.com

Valorie said...

My best friend is my oldest sister. I can share anything with her and never feel like I am being judged. I <3 her.

I blogged about your contest here:
http://morbid-romantic.net/2008/12/29/book-giveaways-1229-0104

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Stacie said...

My best friend is my friend Angel who I have known since we were both 6 years old. I feel like I know her so well that she could be my sister.

stacie_vaughan@hotmail.com

Lindsey said...

This sounds wonderful! My best friend is my husband. :-) Thanks for the opportunity to win this great-sounding book!

Lindsey
ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

Karen said...

My best friend on earth makes me laugh at his corny oft-repeated jokes, cries over sad movies, and gives me words of wisdom when I need them. He's also my husband.

kphillipso@aol.com

Anonymous said...

My sisters are my very best friends as well as my husband.
Sarah Catlett

kalea_kane said...

It sounds like a great debut! Here is my link to my blog about your interview and giveaway! Thank you so much!

kalea_kane(at)yahoo(dot)com

MJ said...

My best friend is my husband - 31 years worth!!!!

elaine said...

I have known my best friend for almost twenty years and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

Elaine R
emrosser@shaw.ca

Tammy said...

My husband is my best friend. He is the one person I would do everything and anything with if I had the chance.

darbyscloset said...

Wow, sounds like a great read!!
I would say that my husband is my best friend....thru thick and thin he always by my side and in my heart.
Thank you,
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

After being married over 40 years, my husband better be my best friend!!

Would love to read this book

Jolene

valerie2350 said...

my honey :)

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AmandaSue said...

I'm not sure if this giveaway is still open (I didnt see an ending date) but my best friend would be my ex, yeah weird I know lol. We seem to make better friends then we did mates.

The Giveaway Diva said...

my best friend would hav eto be my sister! =)

nicolemarielum @gmail.com

Janna said...

And the winner is...

Valorie (morbid romantic)

Congratulations!!!

This giveaway is now closed - feel free to enter all the other giveaways!