INTERVIEW | Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Sherryle, describe yourself for our visitors.

I am a wife, mother and English teacher in the Middle school. I’ve been described as an old soul. I like to bridge the old and the new. As a self-taught quilter, I love old art forms and collecting Black Memorabilia. It is my hope to start a collection called, Church Lady Ways that preserves the graceful elegance of my nine aunts and their churching traditions.

How do you find time to connect with God?

The Lord is so awesome he allows me to connect with him through my writing.It is part of my ritual to invite the Spirit of the Lord to that fertile and  creative place within when I am writing.  Like anything you have to make time for study. I have also considered Ministry training because my fiction can be considered a ministry.

Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?

There are many that speak to me at various times but my favorite scripture is all of Romans 8 particularly verse 28 that says, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

So, basically when times get hard I just need to act like I know.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I love Pearl Cleage. She writes such intelligent characters with heartfelt plots. I also read widely in my genre with Victoria Christopher Murray, Sherri Lewis and Vanessa Miller, it shard not to!  I must admit one of my guilty pleasures is Eric Jerome Dickey, particularly the Gideon Series.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I penned my first novel, Soon and Very Soon around 1998. At that time I received  a lot of rejection letters that alluded to the reluctance at that time to pick up a Christian fiction title from a new author. I was discouraged until I picked up and  read Temptation by Victoria Christopher Murray. I knew then that there was a market for my book. I doubled my efforts and my book was offered a contract in 2003 with a major publishing house that held my book up for three years before dropping it from its roster. Eventually the Lord lead me to a an emerging imprint for Christian Fiction where I have my home today, Urban Christian. My first novel, Soon and Very Soon was published in 2007 and my sophomore novel The Manual comes out in October.

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Tell us about your current book.

The Manual is about two high school sweethearts who must reconcile their past to help raise their teenaged son. Deidre Collins is a Christian, career-driven woman who has grown accustomed to raising her son alone after her break up with his father eight years previous. She can’t seem to forgive and forget. Andre Hicks is determined to make up for time lost with his son after the death of his own absentee father. Their son DeAndre is caught in the middle and bound to make some of their mistakes if they don’t come to a meeting of the minds.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

The Manual came from the old notion that all men read from the same manual. In this case the Hicks men have a very distinct trait of nonchalant self-sabotaging behaviors. When does the cycle end. We all to a certain degree a product of heredity and environment. I challenged the notion of how far is too far if your parents go all the way.

What influenced you to write this book?

The teenaged-son is a mesh of the many teenaged males that I teach. They manage to get themselves into one predicament after another just by immaturity and a sense of  immortality.

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

DeAndre Hicks, the teenaged son I referred to and his best friends the twins Rob and Rajah. There are always two sides to every story and in this book there is three. His voice was so strong to me. It made the days of treading water as a Middle School teacher in a large Urban school district worth it.

What’s next for you? 

I just completed my third novel, Soon After, which is the sequel to my first book, Soon and Very Soon. It was kind of cool because it reads like a mystery. It picks up where the first book left off with the Harvest Baptist Church fire. Soon  and Very Soon will be released in paperback in August 2010 and then Soon After comes out a year from now. 

Where can visitors find you online?

I can be found on my website at www.sherrylejackson.com. I chronicled my journey of writing The Manual from concept to written page and on to publication in my blog www.makingthemanual.blogspot.com . For those who want to learn more about my calendar of events and signing, chat with me, and here about cool contest and giveaways can become a fan by searching Sherryle Jackson readers on Facebook.