Featured Author: Sharla Lee Shults
- Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
A mathematician by nature is a strange beginning for a writer of poetry. Born into a family rooted in the field of education destined my life’s profession to becoming a teacher. The atmosphere of a small town kept families close and the importance of school was instilled at an early age.
As an educator, I always found myself writing but that role primarily centered on lesson plans, along with curriculum. I definitely never envisioned myself as a published writer/author. My expertise was in mathematics and science. Did I think about writing a textbook? Nah!
Almost thirty years in the education field finds me today enjoying retirement but not yet ready to cut the educational umbilical cord. Instead of a real-life classroom where I greet my students face-to-face, we meet in the virtual world of the online classroom where the students are now teachers. The most rewarding part is when my long ago eighth grade to senior high classroom students appear as students of mine once again, this time as an educators themselves. Priceless!
2. What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.
Poetry became a way of expressing my innermost thoughts to touch the heart and soul of those I love, as well as strangers. Poetic verses found themselves being generated from random thoughts, impromptu conversations, casual images or pure imagination reflecting feelings to warm the heart and lift the spirit.
My first two books, Echoes and Remembering reflect inspirational poetry. Both fact and fiction found their place with family being my inspiration: my husband for divine love and spiritual uplifts; our children for many memories, happiness as well as tears; my mother who taught me life is a bed of thorny roses; my dad for believing in me, keeping me toward life’s goal.
A shift in poetic thinking guided my third book, Awakenings, toward historical poetry. This was somewhat out of character since history had always been a back burner subject of mine so to speak. Through the years, however, a strong affinity toward America and her history developed. Therefore, the focus of Awakenings became Embrace the Past, Empower the Present, Enrich the Future.
3. How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.
Promotion has been difficult. Time and consistency are most important factors in promotion. Neither of these worked well for me over the past year. Life got in the way. As I strive to move forward, it is the social media networks that have become my sources of communication and promotion, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Writers’ Group, Pinterest, Scoop.It, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, personal blogs, personal website. Then, of course, the best is perhaps the book signings. Unlike social media, with the book signings you get to meet the author face-to-face. You sell yourself first, then, your book.
4. Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel? (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).
Oh, yes! I remember that moment well. It was the first review of my first book, Echoes. I cried. Heartbreakingly cried! It was so vindictive and definitely was written as a means to belittle me, as the author, as well as my writing. I have contacted Amazon repeatedly hoping to get it removed because it is not a review for the content of the book. No response.
On the flip side, the remaining reviews have been excellent 4 to 5-star. From heartbreaking to heartwarming. These have brought on their own share of tears but this time happily and thankfully! I truly treasure those than imply they ‘see’ what I ‘see’ when I write. Creativity arises from imagery. The words of imagery are the photographs of poetry.
5. Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.
I will focus here on Awakenings, which presents some of America’s momentous historical events in poetic verse. The rhythmic character of the verses in this book is designed to add flair to what is sometimes regarded as dull reading. History by its very nature is extremely poignant. The scene begins with the seventeenth century, a time absorbed in thoughts of death, physical love, and religious devotion. The woman’s role adheres to silence in the public arena and provides unstinting obedience to father and husband. Emotions unwind and remain somewhat unsettles as the journey through time spans five centuries.
The audience for Awakenings is somewhat limited since its very nature is poetry. The average reader is more inclined toward selecting a novel rather than a book of poetic verse. Public reaction has been slow but good. Once the purpose behind Awakenings is understood I am hopeful the audience will expand.
6. Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book? (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).
Instead of sharing one person and book, I would like to introduce all who read this interview to a group of writers. What started out as a bunch of Tweeters learning to Tweet appropriate blurbs for promotion has evolved into a blog where friends from disparate approaches to life and writing work together and share: The Write Room Blog @ http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/
From mystery to romance to poetry and more – visit The Write Room Blog for sure! Into the scary bit? At The Write Room you’ll find a hit!
7. I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ. Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.
“Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom, indeed.”
Awakenings is dedicated to those who laid the foundation and established the platform for our American freedom: those who have served in the past, presently serve, or will serve our military forces in the future. A profound appreciation is extended for the sacrifice of these brave men and women who left or will leave their homes and family to ensure America’s freedom endures.
A grave price is being paid every moment of every day of the year for all the freedom America has to offer. Let us not forget those who have fought or are fighting for our nation; they are the epitome of the human spirit called freedom!
What does the past whisper to you?
Whisperings from the Past
Whisperings from the past reveal themselves in many forms: happy whisperings from the heart, melancholy whisperings from the mind, quiet whisperings from the soul. Each of these is grounded in beliefs instilled in us by our ancestors from events that transpired years upon years upon years ago.
Food for thought…
What thoughts whisper to you
On leaving for a new place
Where everything you know
Reflects a different face?
Are you ready for choices
To be rightly made
Based on courage, faith, and hope
None of which outweighed?
Could you undergo
Trials day by day
Putting forward trust
To guide the way?
What strengths of yesterday
Uphold tomorrow’s visions?
Dreams of utopia
May need many revisions
What lights shine for you
Reflective of yearnings
Not easily dimmed
By futile burnings?
How does your place in time
Connect to the past
Reflective of groundings
In beliefs that last?
“History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living.”
—Captain John Smith (1580–1631)
*** Sharla is quite a prolific writer, a kind human being and such an intelligent and caring individual. I highly recommend her books. I personally have “AWAKENINGS”, and LOVED IT!!