JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Sharon Tubbs, author of Living in the Pink
(Lift Every Voice Books/Moody Publishers)
Living in the Pink is a collection of humorous and insightful short stories. They each explore temptations that lead women to straddle the fence on their spiritual journeys.
My characters, for example, wrestle with issues such as adulterous relationships, drug-addicted children, church gossip and jealousy. In short, they’re “living in the pink.”
What does that mean? It’s simply the stage where so many women get stuck between what the Bible calls that “scarlet stain of sin” and striving to become pure or “white as snow.”
They say they believe in God but only enough to call themselves “spiritual” without having to make significant changes in their lives. They want to believe, just not too much.
Laura “Sister Pinky” Pinkston is a central character, a wise “church mother” whose mission is to guide women out of their pinkish state and into God’s light.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Living in the Pink?
Sharon Tubbs: Inspiration comes from my own triumphs and pitfalls in living out my faith and in simply observing the world around me. I see so many women who are worn out, unhappy and struggling.
In my view, the problem is that we don’t recognize our potential in Jesus Christ. Too often, we complain and feel sorry for ourselves, blaming other people and our circumstances for life’s disappointments. None of that gets us anywhere. We’re still in the same ol’ place, doing the same thing and feeling the same way. I know, because I’ve been there.
Living in the Pink is about looking within to find how we can improve and ultimately be victorious, despite our circumstances.
JP: What sets Living in the Pink apart from other books in the same genre?
ST: The most obvious difference between Living in the Pink and other Christian fiction novels is that this is a collection of short stories. Although Sister Pinky and a few other characters and settings reappear in several stories, they actually can be read independently.
Another difference: The stories are entertaining but also designed to make readers think about their own lives. Discussion questions at the end of each story further inspire self-reflection.
Living in the Pink is not just a book, but a broader concept involving a website, online devotionals and a fun PinkyMeter quiz that helps women gauge whether they are actually “in the pink,” or rather at “code red” or “pearly gate” status.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Living in the Pink getting out to the public?
ST: I’d say faith and perseverance. I initially launched a Living in the Pink website in 2009 and released short stories for free over the site each month. I would write a story and work with a friend who designed the website for monthly updates.
I sent out a newsletter and devotionals to women on my contact list and to new subscribers. It was a lot of work that cost time, energy and money, too. Yet I saw it as my calling for that time, and the positive response from a small group of women was enough to keep me going.
After a year, I felt led to seek partnership with a traditional publishing house. That meant more work in crafting a detailed proposal and researching the industry for publishers that might fit.
After choosing several, I sent off my proposal. Then I waited, and waited. After four months, I began calling and touching base with those publishers. One company finally sent me a response: No. I never heard from another. But, thank God, Lift Every Voice Books (Moody Publishers) shared my vision for the project.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Living in the Pink?
ST: I actually work during the week as a newspaper journalist, so I reserve weekends for recreational writing. I actually prefer some level of background noise, so I find my groove in working by laptop at cafes or cozy restaurants and letting my thoughts flow onto the page for several hours.
I re-read stories again and again, and have been known to totally re-work a story or throw it out altogether after the fourth or fifth read. With Living in the Pink, about 25 percent of the groundwork had been done in 2009 as part of my website project. From there, it took me about four months of hardcore writing on weekends and week nights to complete the manuscript. Of course, that was before more editing suggestions from the publisher.
JP: What’s next for Sharon Tubbs?
ST: I hope to write more fiction and devotionals. I also have a nonfiction project in mind. Currently, I have some ideas floating with publishers, so I’m waiting to see what happens.
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