1) Can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Sheila, an ordinary gal who grew up in South Dakota on a dairy and grain farm with my family of twelve! I’m a wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, a stepmother to two children, and a grandmother to four grandchildren as of now.
I’m passionate about helping others to seek the Lord in their times of need and to put their hope in His promises. It is my hope that my experiences during trials that I faced will inspire others to believe there is power in prayer. I encourage others to put their trust in the Lord, to have faith in His loving care that He will provide for their needs, and to develop a relationship with Him through difficulties they may face.
I’m the co-founder of the Prayer Capsule and author of “Growing Through the Storm.” I’m a Christian Mentor, a Support Group Facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association, a member of the John Maxwell Team certified to coach, teach, speak, and train, and a three-time attendee of the She Speaks Conference hosted through Proverbs 31 Ministry.
I enjoy quiet time with the Lord, being with my family, listening to music and inspirational messages, and being in nature which helps me connect with my passion for writing.
2) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was passionate about expressing myself through writing as a young girl already. I realized I wanted to be a writer later in my adult life while going through a difficult situation that led to an awakening about God. I developed a personal relationship with the Lord and a passion to teach others about His love and goodness. It became an experience I wanted to share through writing my first book.
3) How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me ten-plus years to write my first book, “Growing Through the Storm” from the time I started to its completion. The storm seemed never-ending, for I battled not one, but two troubled marriages. I patiently waited for a happy ending to complete my book as I believed the lessons I continued to learn needed to be shared in my story.
I’m currently working on a sequel to my first book. I anticipate having it complete within a year and published thereafter.
4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My work schedule when focused on writing involves alone time without distractions which is hard to come by as family is a priority for me. Most of my first book was written while I raised my two children. Now I have grandchildren that I thrive on spending time with!
I take time to write in the morning after reading my devotionals and working out. This is a good time to connect with any thoughts or ideas that may have entered my sleep during the night. When the weather permits, my favorite place to write is outdoors, usually in my backyard on the patio.
Taking a break, whether it’s going for a walk, spending time with the Lord, my family, or a friend or tending to chores, helps to keep my writing fresh as the break allows my imagination to be creative.
The best time for me to write is late at night when there’s no distractions interfering with what my heart wants to express.
5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
An interesting quirk of mine is I can’t have distractions, yet I like music playing quietly in the background and prefer to be outside or looking out a window.
6) How do books get published?
I learned publishing a book involves a lot of work! After writing a rough draft for my first book, I rewrote the content into a story form. From there, I chose a self-publishing company and had it edited. I read my story over and over until I had no more additions or changes to make. At last, it was time for my publishing company to do the page layout, help with the cover design, and print my book!
7) Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The information and ideas for my book, “Growing Through the Storm” came from real-life experiences of mine. I also included scripture from the Bible and quotes from well-known people. My second book that I am currently working on is based on my experiences as well.
It’s important to me that I invite God into my writing. By doing so, I believe what I share and how I share it is God inspired.
8) When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book while going through a difficult struggle during my adult life between the ages of 20 to 50 years old. I published “Growing Through the Storm” at the age of 56.
9) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, you’ll find me spending time with my family or gardening, cooking, baking, cleaning, sewing, scrapbooking, taking a walk, riding bicycle, working out, or sharing conversation with a friend over a coffee or lunch date. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much, but being with my family or outdoors is as good or better than any vacation to me!
10) What does your family think of your writing?
My husband and my children are very supportive of my writing. They are my biggest support when I need encouragement and inspiration!
11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
In creating my first book, one of the most surprising things I learned was how much it grew my faith to reflect on my experiences as I shared them through writing. Often, I sat there in tears because of my gratitude toward the Lord for all He has done for me and taught me through my struggles. It was healing and therapeutic for me. I certainly became more appreciative and aware of how God works in my life!
It is the same experience while I am creating my second book.
12) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
So far, I have written one book, “Growing Through the Storm.” I am currently working on my second book which is about my experience of being my parents’ caregiver during the years my mom battled dementia and continuing to care for my dad after Mom’s passing.
While both of my books include valuable lessons, encouraging messages, and blessings, my favorite may always be “Growing Through the Storm.” It’s the one that describes the experience of my awakening to the Lord, an experience I will forever be grateful for!
13) Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
My suggestions to help you become a better writer are to use proper grammar, captivating sentences, clarity, creativity, and organization. It’s important to stay focused on the topic and have a good flow of content. Create the scene in your story using descriptive details so your reader feels as though they’re experiencing what you’re expressing. Be mindful, however, of unnecessary details.
When it comes to non-fiction writing, I believe honesty, authenticity, vulnerability, and confidence is essential! Your reader will relate and connect better to you and your story if they see you as someone willing to admit imperfections and mistakes.
Most importantly, invite God into your writing! He will guide and lead you!
14) Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love to hear from my readers! I’m often told how my story helps them to look at their struggle with a new and positive perspective. I’ve been told how they can relate to my struggle even if their struggle is different than mine. For every struggle opens the door for us to wallow in self-pity, grow bitter, lose hope, doubt, fear, and worry, and to feel unworthy, inadequate, and trapped.
I often hear from my readers how they needed to hear a certain message from my book at that time in their lives. I am pleased to hear that the prayers and comments written at the end of every chapter offer comfort, encouragement, and inspiration to my readers.
We all face trials, but prayer is the answer to every trial we face!