Today, I am talking to Sharon Souza, author of Every Good and Perfect Gift. This is a terrific book, and it really ought to come with its own box of Kleenex (if you know what I mean!).
Here's the scoop: After thirty close years, Gabby and DeeDee's lifelong friendship holds no surprises. Except for one: Thirty-eight-year-old DeeDee and her husband have decided to conceive their first child. And despite their concerns and a struggle with infertility, DeeDee finally gives birth to a healthy baby. But while the friends believe they have faced their greatest challenge, an unexpected tragedy will alter their lives and relationship forever.
In the classic tradition of movies such as Beaches and Steel Magnolias, Every Good and Perfect Gift shares a heartwarming story of friendship that overcomes all odds. Filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between, Gabby and DeeDee's journey will strike a chord with female readers of all ages.
Katie: The friendship between DeeDee and Gabby was so powerful. Are you more like DeeDee or Gabby in your own life? And do you have a close friend like the other?
Sharon: I'm definitely more like Gabby. I've gained more security in who I am over the years, but I've always struggled with feelings of insecurity. I most definitely have a close friend like DeeDee, but these two women were really patterned after my daughters. It's funny, neither has the least problem identifying themselves -- though the one whose personality is like DeeDee's is certain the "character" is far more extreme than she is in real life. To which the rest of us say, "Right."
Katie: Ha! I'll just bet. What gave you the idea for this book?
Sharon: I wanted to write a story about extraordinary friendship between two women that would ultimately take me to the health crisis that I wanted to deal with. I didn't know such a thing even existed until a close friend was diagnosed. In starting the story I asked myself how does one woman show that kind of friendship to another woman? The answer: to help her have a child if she can't conceive. So I used the issue of infertility as a springboard, and that's how the story began. Amazingly, I've had a second close friend diagnosed with the same illness since writing the book. I visited with her recently after seeing her only twice in the past decade. The symptoms are painfully obvious, and more than ever I want to bring awareness.
Katie: I have to say, the diagnosis threw me. I thought I had it all figured out, and when the truth was revealed I was stunned. What would you like us to know about your friend?
Sharon: Since there are now two I'll tell you that before the illness both of them were so much fun to be with. They were gifted in many artistic ways, they loved to entertain, were very active in their church (one is a pastor's wife), were people magnets. People loved spending time with them, myself included. Suffice it so say that neither is even a shadow of their former selves, and this illness has drastically affected their families too.
Katie: What has been the greatest challenge for you as a newly published writer?
Sharon: For me, it's learning how to promote my book(s). My publisher does that to a certain degree, of course, but every published author knows that no one can promote your work like you. So I'm having to step way out of my comfort zone and promote myself and my work. That includes learning ways to get the book "out there." Blogs like yours are a tremendous help, and I so appreciate your inviting me to provide this interview.
Katie: You are so welcome (and I totally understand the out-of -the-comfort-zone with promoting part). What has been the best surprise?
Sharon: It's been really fulfilling to get emails from people I don't know, saying the book has touched them in some particular way. I've gotten a great deal of affirmation from my family and friends over the years, and that means so much, but when a completely objective person affirms your work, it strikes a different chord. I've also been blessed by the comments from fellow writers and people involved in the writing business.
Katie: Do you have more books on the horizon? Tell us what’s next?
Sharon: My next novel, Lying on Sunday, will be released September 1. It deals with infidelity and one woman's journey to find herself after betrayal. It's written in the same style as Every Good & Perfect Gift, with enough humor to temper the tough subjects.
Katie: I can't wait to read it! Thanks Sharon for stopping by!