Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I'm excited to introduce Bethany House author Sharon Hinck to my blog.

Hope you enjoy this interview. Please visit Sharon's website at www.sharonhinck.com

1. Welcome to my blog, Sharon! My first question is, how did you come up with the amazing and unforgettable character of Becky Miller?

Hi, Cheryl! Thanks for letting me visit!As I brainstormed the character of Becky, I looked hard at what was driving some of the ongoing struggles in my life and the lives of my friends. I’m part of a small group women’s Bible study, and week after week, we kept talking about the same issues (pressures, struggles with sense of worth, purpose, wanting to serve God and not sure our efforts were making a difference). So I let Becky reflect those issues in a somewhat exaggerated way — with her daydream life to give insights into some of the subconscious ways women view themselves. I wanted to see where her good-hearted but driven nature would take her – and what I might learn from her.

2. What sort of things did you do to develop her character to the point she became as real and identifiable as she is?

Before I started writing full-time, I was doing rubber-stamping demonstrations in homes – about two a week for several years. I’ve been in hundreds of homes in various circles of women. And I listened, absorbed, and mulled about how women in our culture feel today. I think some of that helped inform her development. But I’m the kind of writer who gets acquainted with the characters ON the journey. I set Becky lose and watched what she did, and that’s how she became real (so real, that at times I accidentally started to pray for her during my devotion time as I was praying for other friends – LOL!)

3. Do do you plot first? Or get to know your characters first? How do you process a novel from your imagination?

I start with "what if" questions. What if a young mom tries her hardest to do something for God, but feels like she is a failure? How will God meet her on the road? What if she makes the best choices she knows how to make and people insist on blaming her for the problems she encounters? Or in my new book . . . What if Becky and her family decide that life has become hectic and stressed, so buying a fixer-upper house in the country will solve all their problems? What kinds of things might go wrong? And what if Becky faces the same challenge many of my friends have, of aging parents/in-laws? And what if her dream job is becoming a nightmare?

4. Did you put any of yourself into this book? If so, what parts?

I think many of Becky’s friends reflect various sides to my nature. Becky’s passion and pain are very familiar to me – but the plot line is completely her own.

5. How do you decide your book's theme?

It’s such an organic process – I start with a few questions I want to explore, but sometimes new themes emerge and surprise me. In Renovating Becky Miller, I knew I wanted to look at Becky’s need to "fix" things. But later I also noticed how characters did good things from tangled motives, and I hadn’t realized that would be a theme.

6. When can we expect to see the next book on the shelves from you and where can interested readers order/buy one?

The next release is The Restorer – coming out May of 2007 from NavPress.You can visit my website anytime to see my current books in print, and what’s coming up next. I have several novels coming out in the next few years, so to keep informed, readers can sign up for my "Book Buddy" ezine. Once a month I sent a free ezine with a devotional thought, info on events and new books, behind-the-scenes fun, prayer requests, and a prayer for my Book Buddies. All you need to do is leave your name and email (which is ONLY used for the ezine) on the "Contact Sharon" page of my website: www.sharonhinck.com. The Secret Life of Becky Miller and Renovating Becky Miller are both in major bookstores around the country (if it’s not on the shelves, just ask them to order it in for you) and can also be ordered online or through my website links.

7. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

There are days I’m still not sure! :-) But I keep asking God if my writing brings Him joy, if it can be of use to comfort others, and if being a writer is the place He wants me right now. As best as I can discern, the answer is yes. It’s a delightful surprise to me, because growing up I REVERED authors. To me that was an impossible dream job. So to have God call me to contribute in this realm is scary and amazing.

8. What is your favorite scene in Renovating Becky Miller and why?

I kind of liked Thanksgiving dinner...especially when the kids chose odd items (like bloody teeth and locks of hair) for the decorations that symbolized things they were thankful for. That’s the kind of weirdity that makes family life fun.

9. Given the choice of an evening out with a group of friends, or a quiet movie evening at home, which would you prefer?

I’m a people person, but when I’m overtired, I’m a home-body. Lately I’ve needed more quiet time at home to recharge.

10. What about character Becky? What would she choose?

I think Becky feels out of the loop if she’s not interacting with people frequently. She’d LOVE an evening out with her friends.

11. What was the funnest part of writing this book?

I got to rent stacks of movies and call it "research" for the cinematic daydream scenes. I got to invent wonderful horrible remodeling disasters for Becky that I didn’t have to live through (I’ve had enough of my own over the years). I got to vicariously enjoy the rich relationships that she has cultivated.

12. What was the most challenging?

Allowing some of the conflicts and struggles to drag out for her. I like Becky, so I feel bad when I write a scene where she is hurt – and I want to quickly write a scene to fix everything for her. But that’s not good story-telling.

13. The most rewarding?

There were many times that Becky taught me things. She made some choices I might not have thought of. Watching her grow in her faith, and gleaning insights from the things that happened to her was very rewarding – and when I hear from a reader that they have been challenged, inspired, or encouraged – that’s also very rewarding!

14. What does a typical writing day for you look like?

Different every day. :-)

15. If Becky Miller could blurb you as the author who wrote his story, and how well the two of you worked together, using typical Becky style, what would she say if she had to write a back cover author blurb?

Calling all fictional characters! Come interact with Sharon – a writer who is good at listening to voices in her head. Go ahead and spin yarns in her thoughts. She’ll probably expose more than you’d like about your worst habits, but she’ll care about you and make sure your story has a happy ending. As long as she’s well supplied with pots of hot tea, she’s pretty easy to work with and she’ll let you get away with taking the story in the direction you want instead of insisting she gets her author’s way.

THANKS SHARON! I cannot wait to read your next book!!!!

Thanks again for letting me visit. These were fun questions, and I hope everyone will enjoy remodeling an old farmhouse with Becky and her family and friends.



Jill Elizabeth Nelson said...

Oooh, Sharon, I love that doing good things for tangled motives concept. Way deep, and so like life. I also like the weirdity of family life comment. Hah! Tell me about it. Great books, babe! And the Restorer series coming up, too!

Becky said...

Great interview. I'm amazed, Sharon, at all the questions you've answered.

I'm still learning more about you and your books, though.

Love the themes--you do such a good job without making the theme clunky or didactic. Skillful writing!

Becky (the real one)

Sharon Hinck said...

Thanks, Jill and Becky!
I've decided that blog tours are God's way of curing me of liking to talk about myself all the time.
I get to answer so MANY questions about myself and my writing, that I'm cured from the urge to blab about myself in real life for the next six months or so. :-)

And it's SO cool how creative each blog host has been with different questions and angles. (Cheryl, I told folks at ShoutLife to come visit your site today, because you did such a cool interview about the issue of character development).

ScrollSquirrel said...

Well your answers fascinated me and I can't wait to read the next book! I considered it a privilege to have you visit my blog today.



Mary Connealy said...

Sharon, I love your interview. It was so great seeing you last weekend and now you're hangin' around with my favorite squirl. You are totally surrouned, woman.

Valerie Comer said...

I LAUGHED myself silly over praying for your fictional characters, Sharon. How many times have I turned to one of my characters to ask a question or comment on something, only to discover (surprise!) that they aren't walking beside me.

Needed the laugh today, thanks!

Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Sharon, I love how you begin plotting your story. "What if?" is the same approach I use. It starts as an idea, then gels into characters and finally into a story. Continuing to ask "what if" as I go keeps the pages turning and the story alive.

Thanks for sharing.