INTERVIEW | Sharon Oliver

Sharon, describe yourself for our visitors.

I was born in Baltimore, MD and raised, for the most part, in the Landover, MD/Washington, D.C. area. After graduating from high school in Summerton (Clarendon County), S. C., I returned to Maryland. Later, I lived in Columbia, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C., and currently the Atlanta, GA area for the past 14 years. I’ve worked for various federal government installations from the time I was 16 at the Pentagon until taking an “early out” from the Social Security Administration, retiring my duties as a Systems Administrator in 2003.

One of my hobbies used to be drawing, but I’ve gotten quite rusty and probably couldn’t draw a stickman right now. Decorating is still a favorite thing to do. When it comes to music, I’m a child of the seventies. I cut my teeth on super groups/funk bands like Earth, Wind & Fire; WAR and Parliament-Funkadelic, etc. Needless to say, I appreciate old school music including sounds from the eighties and nineties.

But there is nothing like gospel music to soothe the soul and move you into a praise mode. Namely for me, its Richard Smallwood, Chris Tomlin, Israel Houghton and Kirk Franklin, just to name a few.

Writing is my ministry and this includes contributing articles to an online magazine. It is my prayer that my writings bless God and blesses the audience He selects to read them.

How do you find time to connect with God?

I make the time throughout the day, including praying my car or wherever, reading an online prophetic board daily, etc. Sometimes He makes the time, especially through dreams. But that’s another story (laugh). All I can say about that is God is real and He is awesome. Prayer walks are a favorite pastime of mine. Often times the Lord will give me a revelation after I come home from walking, praying and singing songs of worship. Also, whenever I’m near water that’s almost a guaranteed time to soak in His presence.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite Books?

Agatha Christie, Walter Mosley and Elaine Viets. I can get lost in a good mystery novel. My favorites are everything Agatha Christie and Elaine Viets’ Josie Marcus – Mystery Shopper series. British cozies (Christie) murder mysteries with comical lines and situations (Viets). I also enjoy books penned by Kimberla Lawson Roby, Tiffany L. Warren and fellow Urban Christian author, Sherri Lewis. I’m sure I’ll be adding more of my label mates to the list as time permits me to sit down and read their works.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

One day while in Borders I picked up the latest (at that time) copy of Kendra Norman-Bellamy’s book. After discovering the name of the publisher, I read their submission guidelines once I got home and logged onto my computer. The imprint was not familiar to me and I learned that it was fairly new. Shortly after submitted my manuscript, I received a phone call from the editor and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tell us about your current book?

The story is set in South Carolina because of my familiarity and love for the people AND the food. Keep Your Enemies Closer is a humorous tale about how folk in a fictional town in South Carolina learn how to deal with life’s interruptions and deceptions without falling apart or killing one another. When the pastor skips town with the church’s money and a pair of twin sisters mysteriously disappear right along with him, the protagonist, Charlotte Morley’s summer vacation almost turns into a nightmare on Elm Street. However, with a little help from an acid-tongued friend of the family, a millionaire cousin, her skeptical best friend and a host of others, Charlotte is able to show a reason to hope to an impoverished community. Eventually, she and her family discover the truth surrounding the disappearance of the conniving twins, who happen to be Charlotte’s cousins.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

Actually, some of the ideas came from memory of actual events and people. For instance, and without giving much away, I can remember traveling with my family as a kid and we always packed a lunch. At the time, I didn’t know the history behind that, but I tell it in the book. The story is message driven with plenty of recollections and imagination.

List your three most recent books (if applicable).

My second book, which is a follow up to the first, is entitled Deliver Me From My Enemies. It is set for release in March 2009. Currently, I am working on a third book with a different set of characters, location, etc.

What’s next for you?

More writing I hope, but we’ll see where God leads me.

Where can visitors find you online?

www.sharonoliver.net and www.myspace.com/sharonwrites