Author, Sheila Malsam, interviewed by Readers Choice
Q1. Hello, can you please introduce yourself? Readers would love to know more about you.
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 and also a mother to one son and one daughter, a stepmom to two children, and a grandma 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 the 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 family, listening to music and inspirational messages, and being in nature which helps me connect with my passion for writing.
When I’m not writing or spending time with family, you’ll find me gardening, cooking, baking, cleaning, sewing, scrapbooking, taking a walk, riding bicycle, working out, or mentoring a friend, or simply sharing conversation with them over a lunch date.
Q2. What were the key challenges you faced while writing your book “Growing through the Storm”?
Because “Growing Through the Storm” is based on actual events, I was challenged with discerning what to share and how to share it. Number one, it was not my intent to cause hurt or damage to anyone, but rather to teach others valuable lessons I learned. Number two, by sharing my story, I risked what others would think of me. I was simply a broken woman desperately seeking God’s will for my life.
Q3. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
The Bible influences me far more than anything I read! My favorite reading material comes from devotionals. “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young is one of my favorites. Max Lucado, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Lysa TerKeurst, and Bruce Wilkinson are among some of my favorite authors.
Q4. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
My favorite spot to visit is my family farm where I grew up. I haven’t had much opportunity to travel, but the country is definitely my favorite place to be where my heart resonates with the peace and quiet and the sounds of nature. One of my favorite spots on my family farm is by the pond where I did a lot of writing and talking with God as a young woman.
Q5. What inspired you to write the book ‘Growing through the Storm’?
While going through the storm of struggling in a dysfunctional marriage and feeling unworthy, insignificant, pitiful, afraid, and trapped, Jesus revealed His love and truth that led to an awakening in my spirit. My perspective on my life changed. Feeling empowered and encouraged to live with hope in my heart for a fulfilled life, I developed a passion to share God’s goodness with others which inspired me to write and share my story. It was written with the intent to offer hope and to draw others closer to the Lord.
Q6. How long did it take you to write your book ‘Growing through the Storm’?
It took nearly twenty years after I got started on “Growing Through the Storm” to complete it. The storm I battled seemed never ending, for I didn’t experience just one divorce. I experienced two divorces! I didn’t want to end my story without a happy ending. I believed the lessons I continued to learn needed to be shared in my story to complete my book. Therefore, I was patient and took my time.
Q7. On what platforms can readers buy your books?
“Growing Through the Storm” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple iTunes. It is also available through my website: sheilamalsam.com
Q8. Tell us about the process of coming up with the book cover and the title ‘Growing through the Storm’?
I chose “Growing Through the Storm” for the title of my book because I did just that, I grew through a storm. I wanted to teach how we can grow through a storm rather than die like the devil intends. John 10:10 (NIV) says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I chose a flower growing through an unlikely spot, a crack in a cement wall, for my cover design to teach that, “With God all things are possible” as promised in Matthew 19:26 (NIV). I chose this design also to encourage that God can bring beauty and good from broken people and situations.
Q9. When writing a book how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
When writing a book, I like to keep things fresh by taking frequent breaks in nature which helps me to get grounded. It also helps when I take a time out to spend in God’s Word. It’s incredible how God will speak to me through a Bible verse, a song, or a Podcast that relates to what I’m writing about. Also, I like to include humor when I write by sharing funny stories. This prevents my writing from getting too serious or boring.
Q10. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?
“Write for your eyes only” has been the most valuable advice I’ve been given about writing. When writing for my eyes only, I am able to express myself freely without the fear of being rejected, judged or criticized. It allows my voice to be heard and opens the door for healing which then offers a new perspective to teach and grow me. It is then that I am better equipped to teach and help others.