My guest today is Sharon René, author of the newly released YA dystopian novel, Hesitatnt Heroes. Sharon, welcome to my blog today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Mississippi and have lived in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. I now live in Memphis, Tennessee. I am an only child and have always been very close to my parents. My father passed away years ago and my mother lives with me now.
I’ve always been very active in my church. I’ve taught in the youth department for over fifteen years. I’ve also participated in the drama, puppet and prison ministries as well as going on several mission trips.
I’m not married but share my home with my mom and one very spoiled cat named Libby Lou. Libby appears on Instagram just about every Saturday for #caturday.
What is Hesitant Heroes about?
When Christian students mysteriously start disappearing from campus, Jordan stumbles upon the shocking truth – `these students are pawns in a government plot, and she’s next on their list. Jordan and her friends journey from the European Alps to the jungles of Venezuela in a race to save the missing students and stop a political assassination. She will have to rely on her faith and friends to save the missing students and foil the evil government.
What is the inspiration behind your story?
In Hesitant Heroes a bunch of teens are placed in a dangerous situation and they must rely on God and each other to survive. The book of Esther is an inspiration to the group because they believe God placed them at their school “for such a time as this.”
The book also shows how each individual is important and can use their talents to help others.
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?
Yes, I have a day job. Have to pay the bills. I am a legal assistant at a large corporation.
It’s not easy to squeeze in time to write. I try to write on the weekends between housework. I also take my laptop to bed and get some work done that way. It’s a challenge.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I am definitely more of a panster. I started out on Hesitant Heroes with the idea of Christian teens disappearing from their high school. A group of talented teens start investigating and get involved in a government plot. That was all I had when I first started. The story just carried me along. For the first half of the book I didn’t even know what had happened to the missing students. I didn’t know if they were dead or alive.
I did more plotting to write the sequel, Relentless Rebels. I never have an in-depth outline for any of my books, but I now work off a skeleton outline.
Are you part of a writing group?
Yes. I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers national chapter. I am also a member of the ACFW local Memphis chapter. I love this group and have developed my writing skills since I joined them. I am in an ACFW critique group of young adult writers and we blog together on The Storyteller Squad blog.
Who was the first person you allowed to read your completed book?
My mother read parts of Hesitant Heroes as I was drafting it. I didn’t let anyone else read it until I joined the ACFW Scribes critique group. It was hard for me to put myself out there and let other people see my work, but the critique group was a wonderful experience.
Share your favorite excerpt from your book:
The dim light revealed several pairs of red eyes and four large shapes. Dogs, the size of wolves, filled the tunnel, blocking their path. Jordan huddled closer to Matthew and Timberlyn as the dogs stalked toward them. If they turned and ran, would the dogs chase them or allow them to flee? Jordan took in ragged breaths. She clutched Matthew’s sweaty shirt sleeve and held Timberlyn’s hand.
Hector had joked about facing zombies, but obviously, he hadn’t considered dogs and their higher body temperature. Hector kept his rifle pointed at the animals even though he’d said 186 HESITANT HEROES they couldn’t shoot. They might not have a choice. Jordan loved animals, but not enough to offer herself up as the dogs’ midnight feast.
“Victor, do you have any talent for wrestling wild animals?” Hector asked. “Let me try.”
Timberlyn stepped away from Jordan and walked slowly toward the creatures.
Hector jumped in front of the petite girl. “I was joking. You’ll get killed.”
Matthew raised his arm. “Let her try. She has a way with animals.”
Hector looked from Matthew to the snarling dogs then back at Timberlyn. He seemed to be stumped in his leadership role. Obviously, he wanted to keep them safe, and no one could believe Timberlyn’s gift until they’d experienced it. They were out of options, so Hector moved to the side.
Timberlyn stepped softly toward the growling beasts, her gentle voice filling the dark tunnel. The soothing African words sounded like a love song. The four dogs stared at her as she approached, their growls still deep and deadly. One lunged, and Jordan squealed, but it abruptly stopped before reaching Timberlyn. It shook its head, trying to decide if this human was a friend or enemy. Timberlyn continued to coo and whisper.
You’ve gifted her with taming wild animals, Jordan silently reminded the Lord. Please protect her now.
Timberlyn inched ever closer to the creatures. The growling stopped, but the dogs didn’t retreat. A spotted hound whimpered and stretched out on his belly. A drooling mutt circled her legs then lay down beside her. Timberlyn reached out her hand. The snarling dog who had lunged a moment before hadn’t yet made up his mind about the mysterious girl. He sniffed Timberlyn’s fingers, then opened his mouth. A slimy tongue extended through jagged teeth and licked her palm. The massive German shepherd lingering in the rear came and joined his buddies at Timberlyn’s feet.
“Great God in Heaven.” Hector made the sign of the cross.“That’s exactly right,” Jordan said as Timberlyn fell to her knees, petting and cuddling the once vicious beasts.
What’s next for you as an author?
Hesitant Heroes is the first book in a trilogy. Relentless Rebels and Defying Destiny will also be published by Anaiah Press. I’ll be working on edits for Relentless Rebels in the near future. I am also drafting a middle grade book about a group of middle grade girls who want to be detectives.
Where can readers find you online?
Include a photo of yourself and/or your book cover.