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INTERVIEW WITH SHAREE STOVER
What triggered the idea for the Secret Past?
I wanted to write a story involving Witness Protection and although I’d read several books with characters in that predicament, I needed more facts. That sent me on a research journey which can be dangerous because for me, I start out Googling one topic and before you know it, I’m all over the place. Occasionally, I end up on Pinterest and DIY projects which have absolutely nothing to do with my research but it’s fun to do. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in this particular story, but I digress. I wanted facts and what better way to find those than to start with the program itself?
I found great information right on the US Marshals website including the fact that the program had been around since the early 1970s. I also searched pictures, movies and books and somewhere along the line, I came upon a black and white picture of a child with his mom in a story about the program. That’s when my I started to play “what if”. What if my character was placed in the program as a child and grew up always under protection? If that was normal, if her family didn’t want her to know the truth…as an adult how would that affect a person? When is a good time for a parent to tell their child the truth? And that posed my target question: What if you’d be raised in witness protection and never known it?
How long did it take you to write Secret Past?
Overall, I’d say about four months to create the first draft, but it went through several months of edits after that.
Who’s your favorite character?
My favorite character is Katie because I relate easily to her sense of humor and attitude. I love Katie’s courage to do things I’d probably be terrified to experience. She’s willing to fight and speak up when she needs to.
Tell us a little bit about your “Day Job”.
I work part-time for a REALTOR board which is a new job for me, so the learning curve has been steep. But it’s fun, and I’ve learned a ton. The group I work with is supportive of my writing and that makes a huge difference.
When did you start writing?
Ha! I started writing as soon as I could write, but I didn’t take it seriously until after the birth of my youngest child. The best way I can describe it is having a fire that starts out small and just keeps increasing. It was crazy how things came together and the way that God continued to fan that flame for me. My husband has always been my greatest cheerleader and it was his encouragement and support that gave me the courage to try living the dream.
What is the hardest part about being an author?
Writing is a very personal experience. We pour our words out over hours and hours of time and sharing them with the world is scary and wonderful. I want to write something that touches readers and stays true to my Christian convictions. I’m a private person so stepping out of my comfort zone in public functions where I have to be an extrovert is a challenge. But talking with readers is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Who is your favorite author?
This one is really tough. I have so many authors I enjoy, and I read lots of different genres. So, if I can be difficult I’ll tell you some of my favorites in genres. For women’s fiction, I’ve read just about every Lisa Wingate and Julie Cantrell book I could find and of course, my friend Karen Sargent (her book, Waiting on Butterflies, is ah-maze-ing). For suspense, I love Lynette Eason, Ted Dekker, and Carrie Stuart Park’s books. Historical would be Mary Connealy and Kristy Cambron. And for Romance, Denise Hunter and Rachel Hauck.
What is your favorite book?
I’ve never had a book touch my heart as deeply and powerfully as Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home so it’s my all time, very favorite number one.
Now for the important questions:
Pepsi or Coke?
Eeek…dare I confess…neither? I prefer Sprite, 7-up and especially Squirt or Cherry 7-up.
Candy, cookies, or cake?
Um…yes! I have a major sweet tooth so all of the above and in no particular order.
Mexican food is my favorite. I especially love green chili but have found that a lot of folks in the Midwest have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s amazing and goes on everything like a delicious spicy Mexican gravy.
Coffee or Tea?
Both but if I’m only allowed one, coffee is a must-have. And I’m a creamer snob…must have my creamer and I love a bunch of flavors like almond joy, Italian sweet cream, but in pumpkin season pumpkin is a must.
We took our family to Florida many years ago and went from Cocoa Beach up to Daytona and over to Orlando. It was so much fun. Great memories too!
Favorite TV show?
Friends is my all-time favorite. I can watch it anytime and still laugh. In my house, we joke that we speak Friends.
This one’s a little harder. I love 80s movies, especially the old brat pack ones (Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, etc.) but I can watch Forrest Gump over and over. And Steel Magnolias makes me cry every time even though I’ve seen a hundred times.
Did I see you have a big fur baby at home? Tell us about this handsome fellow.
Oh yes, I love bragging on my one-hundred-pound puppy. Ok, he’s not a puppy anymore…Niko is a 4-year-old German Shephard. He’s my buddy, (even though he loves my husband most) and walking partner. He flops on the floor like Lilo (from Lilo and Stitch) and shakes the house, like a giant temper tantrum. But he’s super loving and just the best fur baby I’ve ever adopted.