Sharon was added to my list of favorite authors after reading, Every Good & Perfect Gift, and this book confirms that decision. As a reader, I became emerged in the story because of her ability to create vivid and real characters. I love the friendships between women in her novels.
As a writer, I admire the skill she brings to the page, making it look effortless. Although Sharon tackles difficult and painful subjects, she also provides humor, hope, and a story that’s entertaining.
I highly recommend reading Lying on Sunday.
Back Cover Copy . . .
After learning her husband died of a heart attack – in another woman’s bed – Abbie is faced with a choice: she can give in to despair, or she can create a new life. Abbie does both.
As she searches for healing, Abbie fights to protect her daughters from her husband’s infidelity. Then a shocking revelation threatens to undo everything she’s accomplished. Will the power of the truth really set Abbie free, or is forgiveness too far out of reach?
AN INTERVIEW WITH SHARON
1. In your previous novel, Every Good & Perfect Gift, you address the tough issues of infertility and catastrophic illness. Again, in Lying on Sunday, you've tackled a tough subject, that being infidelity. Why do you choose such tough topics?
I like to write stories that speak to women on deep and personal levels. None of us gets through this life without being affected in some form by sadness, loss, a sense of failure over one issue or another, and having been failed. I think when we know we're not the only one going through these types of situation--and it's so easy to feel that you are alone--it gives us hope that we really can come through, not necessarily unscathed, but certainly stronger and more equipped to help others.
2. Do heavy topics equal a heavy reading experience?
Definitely not. I firmly believe that pleasure reading should first and foremost be entertaining. Time is a precious commodity. I hope that readers who choose to spend some of their precious hours in the pages of my books will thoroughly enjoy the experience.
So even though I tackle tough subjects, I infuse enough humor to keep those subjects from becoming an albatross around the reader's neck. Conversely, I love to read for pleasure, but I want to take something away from the experience.
3. What would you have readers take away from Lying on Sunday?
In one day, Abbie Torrington has the underpinnings of her world knocked out from under her. Everything she thinks she knows about her marriage turns out to be false. It leaves her reeling in the aftermath. Years ago, while dealing with health issues in my own life, a close friend gave me a Precious Moments figurine entitled "Light at the End of the Tunnel." In Lying on Sunday I want to show that even with issues as devastating as betrayal there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me that Light, of course, is Jesus.
4. Lying on Sunday deals with the betrayal of infidelity, but are there other forms of betrayal that the book might speak to?
Types of betrayal obviously vary, but the end results can be equally devastating. Any time a trust is broken between people in relationship, someone is going to be hurt. We can either allow those hurts to hinder us, or we can allow the Lord to use them as lessons to make us better and stronger. That brings to mind the old adage "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Well, through her own devastating experience Abbie becomes a stronger, more independent person than she knew she could be.
5. Once again you've written a story with a strong and vital friendship that's central to the story. Was that coincidence or by design?
Absolutely by design. I'm all about relationships and so are my characters. Having gone through a period in my early adulthood without a close friend, I know how important friends are in our lives. In fact, I've recently reconnected with two friends from high school, one I hadn't seen in 25 years, and the other in over 30 years. But relationships between women, while vital, can be very complex. That's certainly true for Abbie. Besides her close friendship with Shawlie Bryson, she has a close relationship with one daughter and a challenging relationship with the other, mostly because of the very different emotional place these girls are in while dealing with the death of their father. Not only that, but Abbie has a strained relationship with her own mother for reasons she eventually discovers. I'm certain that women of each one of these generations will relate to one or the other of these characters, especially the woman caught in the middle, where she's both the daughter and the mother.
6. Truth is a theme you deal with extensively in Lying on Sunday. In a book that deals with betrayal, wouldn't forgiveness be a more fitting theme?
I believe forgiveness is the key to getting beyond the kind of hurt Abbie experiences - which doesn't necessarily equate to restored relationship. (In Abbie's case, of course, that's impossible anyway.) But the discovery of truth is a huge first step in the process. In any difficult situation we can choose to ignore the facts and try to keep life on an even keel. But there inevitably comes a day of reckoning. For Abbie to arrive at the desired destination, there are some unpleasant truths she must acknowledge and deal with. She's dogged by a scripture from John 8:32 that says the truth will set you free. Only she can decide whether or not she'll let it.
7. What is the most satisfying thing that comes out of your writing?
I love hearing from readers, especially those I don't know, who say my stories have touched them in one way or another, and most importantly, have helped them see more clearly how good and loving our Lord is.
8. What are you working on now, and does it continue in the style of Lying on Sunday and Every Good & Perfect Gift?
My work in progress, Unraveled, is another contemporary novel about a young woman who gives a year of her life to help teach children in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe. While there she experiences a crisis of faith (the story ultimately deals with human trafficking). And yes, it continues in the style of my previous novels.
9. Is there anything you'd like to add?
Naturally I love to hear from readers. You can email me through my website: http://www.sharonksouza.com/ . If you're in a book club and choose to read any of my books I'll send a complimentary book to the person who contacts me on behalf of their group. Then, after you read the book I'd love to participate in your group discussion, either by phone or in person if you're close enough for me to drive to.
If someone were to listen in, they’d hear things like:
“That scene doesn’t work for me.”
“Love the tension on this page.”
“Boring. Cut it.”
“Needs more conflict between the characters.”
“I’m soooo into the story.”
Honest feedback from people you trust is not only helpful - it’s vital to the process of creating a strong, compelling story.
If a section needs to be fixed in a manuscript, we can backspace or cut what isn’t working and replace it with something better. A hurtful comment can be softened. An inappropriate action can be eliminated. A broken relationship can be fixed with a few taps on a computer keyboard.
If only I could so easily edit experiences in my life.
I would have . . .
been nicer to a girl who was outcast during High School.
broken up with my teenage boyfriend with more kindness.
pursued a different college degree and career path.
changed jobs sooner than later.
always focused on pleasing God, instead of people.
not said or done hurtful things to the people I care about.
Do you ever wish you could make edits in your life?
We may not be able to change our past, but we can choose how we treat people and handle situations today and in the future. We can choose to follow God’s direction for our lives and look to Him for guidance in making daily decisions.
Each day you write a page in your own life story. What would you like people to “take away” from reading yours?
Make it a good day!
Do you ever grow weary of standing in line at the grocery store? Or become frustrated with people in front of you at the coffee shop because they can’t decide what pastry they want that morning?
Janelle Elms, of the Seattle area, has a different view. She believes we can be so consumed in ourselves and getting to the front of the line, we can forget there are others behind us.
Several years ago while getting coffee at a Starbucks, Janelle paid for the person in the car behind her. The woman, angry and confused, confronted Janelle, who explained she just wanted to bless the lady. The result was that a woman who was on her way to an important doctor’s appointment - alone - found someone who cared enough to buy her a cup of coffee. It made a difference.
After that experience, Janelle created “In Line Behind Me.” The organizations’ tag line is, “Sometimes it just takes a cup of coffee to change the world.”
The thought behind the movement is similar to “showing random acts of kindness” or “paying it forward.” Pay for a stranger’s coffee – or perhaps even his lunch or fee at a toll booth. Leave a note or a small card with an explanation for the cashier to hand the stranger.
Be creative. There are things you can do to help someone without having to spend any money. A man shared on the radio this morning what he does when it’s time to renew his car tabs or driver’s license. Instead of pulling just one number that will put him in line to wait, he pulls two numbers, knowing he may have to wait an hour or more before his turn. When he sees someone who will benefit by moving ahead in the line – like a mother with small children – he gives her one of the numbers and tells her go ahead of him. He blesses the person and is blessed by knowing he’s helped make her day a bit easier.
Find out more about “In Line Behind Me,” and read stories of people who have done something nice for the person behind at http://www.inlinebehindme.com/
Sometimes it just takes a cup of coffee to change the world.
I read that statement on someone’s Facebook page tonight.
We can hold on to jobs, money, material possessions, bad relationships, and even dreams so tight, we can’t see how crippled our lives have become.
When we lose something important, it can feel like God just ripped it from our hands. Even more so if the loss is unexpected. We may become angry, depressed, or bitter. But if we can trust that our loss may become our gain, then God can do a work in us and for us.
Sudden unemployment may open the door to a more rewarding position.
A loss of material possessions may bring an appreciation for a simpler lifestyle.
Letting go of a bad relationship may free you to discover a healthy one.
And turning our dreams over to God will allow us to embrace His perfect plan for our lives.
Are you clutching something so tight that you fear if you let go, your world will fall apart?
Take a deep breath.
One by one, release the tight grip each finger has on whatever it is you think is so important. Feel the tenseness in the muscles ease.
And then with open hands, receive what God has in store for you.
Have an awesome week!