8/19/2009

An Interview with Sharlene MacLaren

I loved Maggie Rose so much I sent Sharlene a few questions to help us all get to know her more...

here we go.

CL Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a retired schoolteacher who after 31-years of teaching decided to say, “Bye-bye, students!” and “Hello, writing world!” I actually started writing in the summer of 2000, but did not publish with a traditional publisher until the winter of 2007, so it was several years of writing, honing my skills, attending writing seminars and conferences, connecting with other writers, and studying the entire publishing industry. It’s a process, let me tell you. But God has been so very good and faithful, and I know I’m doing exactly what He called me to do for this season of my life. I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 34 years, have two married daughters and three grandchildren. We live in Spring Lake, Michigan and enjoy our church, friends, and family. We have a big, loveable collie named Dakota and a lazy ol’ cat named Mocha.

CL Maggie Rose was about orphaned children in the early 1900's you also included the "orphan trains". How did you decide to include that, and how hard was that to research?
I’ve always been fascinated by the “orphan train” era, which originated in New York City back in the middle 1800s because of an overabundance of abandoned, orphaned, and destitute children. Orphanages sprouted up all over the city to try to provide a safe place for these children, but the need was great; thus, the idea to start putting these kids on trains heading west to match them with families eager to foster and in some cases adopt these children. The orphan trains remained in existence for approximately 75 years! There are many books available at your local libraries if you want to learn more about this era.

CL The fire on the ship, was that based on an actual fire?
Yes, the burning of the General Slocum was an actual event, which occurred in June 1904. Again, you can Google it and come up with a wealth of information. It was a tragedy of great magnitude, the worst New York City had ever seen—i.e. until the Twin Towers attack of September 11. News of it spread around the world, but was soon overshadowed by the sinking of the Titanic just a few years later.

CL We know that Maggie Rose was part of a series, The Daughters of Jacob Kane. Tell us about your books that aren’t in a series.
I write both contemporary and historical romances. I’ll list the titles and tell you what genre they are:

Long Journey Home – contemporary romance
Through Every Storm – contemporary romance
Spring’s Promise – contemporary romance *(coming in 2010)
Little Hickman Creek Series – (Kentucky 1895-96)
Loving Liza Jane
Sarah, My Beloved
Courting Emma
The Daughters of Jacob Kane Series – (West Michigan 1904-08)
Hannah Grace
Maggie Rose
Abbie Ann *(coming in spring 2010)
To learn more about these titles, i.e. synopses of each, please come visit my website.

CL Last question, who inspired you to step out and start writing, to send in your first story for publication?

Well, I asked the Lord what He would have me do with my life after I retired from teaching, and He began planting the notion in my head of writing fiction. I hadn’t dabbled in it since high school if you can believe that, yet, here I was at 52 feeling this nudge to give writing a try. So, that said, I’d have to answer with a resounding “GOD INSPIRED ME!” And He has been inspiring me ever since.

Visit Sharlene at her website by clicking HERE

Thank you Sharlene for your lovely interview...we do love learning more about you and will be on the look out for more of your books ~C~

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