Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree in 1971, she taught second grade for two years then accepted an invitation to travel internationally for a year with a singing ensemble. In 1975, she returned to her teaching job and then married her childhood sweetheart. Together they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying their own families. Retired in 2003 after 31 years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family, in particular, her wonderful, adorable grandchildren!
A Christian since age 16 and a lover of the English language, Shar has always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. With the teacher’s back to the class, some girl would whisper from two rows over: “Pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further and after writing for six years, finally landed a contract to publish her first faith-based novel titled Through Every Storm. Now, with more than 20+ published novels, she daily gives God all the glory.
Over the years, Shar’s books have reaped awards and nominations in several categories such as the “American Christian Fiction Writers Book-of-the-Year”, “Road to Romance Reviewer’s Choice Award”, “Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award”, and the “Retailers’ Choice Awards” to name a few. In addition, Interviews and Reviews voted one of her recent novels, A Love to Behold, “Book of the Year for 2019”.
In early 2020, Her Rebel Heart, released. It is the first in a three-book series titled Hearts of Honor. This marks her second Civil War series.
Shar does numerous countrywide book-signings and has made several television and radio appearances. She loves to speak for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she enjoys involvement in women’s ministries, and regularly attends Bible studies and other events. She and her husband Cecil live in Spring Lake, Michigan with their beautiful white collie, Cody.
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Chat with Shar
Q – How did you get your start in writing?
A – I have always loved writing, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that I began to have a recurring dream—I know, this sounds a little weird—that I had written a book. At first, I thought, how silly, but after having the dream at least three or four times I began to wonder if God was trying to tell me something. Shortly thereafter, I sat down at the computer to see if I could get beyond the first page. I did! And my first-ever novel (along with my writing passion) was born. In fact, I wrote about 90,000 words in three weeks! My husband kept me watered and fed, bless his heart. By the way, I will never write that fast and furiously again!
Q – Why do you write?
A – Precisely for the reason stated above. God gifted me with a passion and I simply can’t stop! It is my heart’s desire to write for His glory and honor. Therefore, I pray about all my plot lines, and when I “get stuck”, as every writer does, I go to my knees in prayer and ask God to renew my spirit, refresh my mind and heart, and redirect my thoughts. He has never failed me!
Q – What message would you like your readers to walk away with after reading one of your books?
A – I try to weave my Christian faith into each of my stories, and so it’s my desire that, while entertaining, my novels will also carry a message of God’s divine love and forgiveness. He wants to have a relationship with each of us, so I pray that people will come away from my books with a clearer knowledge of that eternal hope.
Q – What is your favorite Bible verse?
A – My all-time favorite verse is Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This verse really speaks to me—tells me that no matter what trial or heartache I might have to suffer, God is right there in the middle of it, carrying me, guiding me, lending me strength. And that in the end, he’s going to take that rough circumstance, turn it around, and make me stronger for it—make me thankful that I had to experience it.
Q – What advice do you have for new writers?
A – Follow your passions. Never give up! Don’t let discouragement or disappointment keep you from pursuing your dream. If God has planted a seed of yearning in your heart to write, it won’t go away. Be assured he will use that passion if you ‘give it back to him’. Also, involve yourself with others who share your enthusiasm, join a writers’ group, attend writers’ conferences, read books about how to improve your craft, and above all, PRAY! Then prepare yourself for what God will do through you!