JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Sherri Lewis, author of Selling My Soul
When Trina Michaels returns from her two-year mission trip in Mozambique, other than longing to see her mother and her best friend, her heart aches to fly back to the place that now feels more like home than anywhere sheâ€™s ever lived and to the man whoâ€™s stolen her heart. Her dreams are short-lived when learns that her mother has been diagnosed with cancer, and the cost of treatment is expensive.
Sheâ€™s forced to return to her career in public relations and is assigned a damage control client â€“ the bishop of a mega-church where an associate pastor and deacon were accused of sexually abusing young boys. One of the young boys has grown up to become her best friendâ€™s husband and a popular gospel recording artist.
Representing Bishop Walker could cost Trina her most valued friendship, her reputation and a future with her new love. As she plows deeper into the scandal and the bishop blackmails her to cover the churchâ€™s secrets and lies, Trina realizes it could cost her soul.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Selling My Soul?
Sherri Lewis: Selling My Soul is actually a sequel to my debut novel, My Soul Cries Out. In the prequel, Trinaâ€™s best friend Monica comes home to find her husband, the minister of music in the church, in bed with another man. She discovers that heâ€™s been struggling with his sexual identity ever since he was molested by two deacons in his church as a young boy.
The Bishop of the church attempted to cover it up because he built his church on the anointed praise and worship of Kevin, Monicaâ€™s husband. The Bishop canâ€™t afford to lose his mega-church status over such a scandal. Readers enjoyed My Soul Cries Out immensely and in every email I got about the book, they asked for a sequel.
Selling My Soul was written at their request and dealt with all the issues they felt needed to be dealt with after the first book. In Selling My Soul, all the pressing questions are answered â€“ what happened to Monica and Kevin? What happened to their best friends and Trina? And what happened to the Bishop and those dirty deacons?
JP: What sets Selling My Soul apart from other novels in its genre?
SL: I like to write edgy Christian fiction that deals with real life issues. Both My Soul Cries Out and Selling My Soul are edgy and push the envelope for what many are comfortable with in the Christian fiction genre. I also donâ€™t write preachy Christian fiction thatâ€™s all religious and churchy â€“ Selling My Soul doesnâ€™t even have a church scene in it. In spite of being edgy and â€œunchurchyâ€, Selling My Soul has many deep spiritual messages that I hope will take readers to a more intimate place in their relationship with God.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Selling My Soul getting out to the public?
SL: Marketing doesnâ€™t come easy to me. I love the creative process of writing, but hate the job of selling. I understand itâ€™s a necessary evil, so I have to work extra hard to overcome this and really rely upon advice from friends who are especially gifted in this area.
I do a lot of connecting with readers over the internet, do blog talk radio shows, blog tours and try to travel as much as possible. I find that I most enjoy connecting with book clubs and also speaking for womenâ€™s groups and churches. Face-to-face connections and building relationships with readers is the most important way to get my books out to the public.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Selling My Soul?
SL: After I come up with an idea for a book, I spend a lot of time getting to know the characters. Before I write one word of the story, I do an in-depth character profile for the main players in the book. I get to know them inside out and then let them drive the story.
After that, I plot as much of the book as I can. If I know where the story is going, I can avoid writerâ€™s block. Once I know the characters well and know the major plot points, I sit down and let the creative process happen. I actually completed the first draft of Selling My Soul in two weeks.
I spend a lot of time editing to tell the best story I possibly can, so Iâ€™d say the entire process for the book took two months. Itâ€™s the fastest Iâ€™ve ever written a book because I was motivated to finish quickly and because I knew the storyline and characters well before I started writing.
JP: What’s next for Sherri Lewis?
SL: Iâ€™m about to go on the adventure of my life. I had always had a desire to go to Africa as a missionary. Even though I had never set foot on the continent when I wrote Selling My Soul, I had heard stories from missionary friends and read books by my missionary heroes about it.
In July of last year, I had the opportunity to visit West Africa. Strangely enough, a young woman from Cameroon had read Dance Into Destiny and said the youth group in my book reminded her of her youth group in Cameroon. We chatted online for months, and I was invited to come preach at a retreat for them.
I fell in love with the people and the country and returned in November of 2009. I will go to Nigeria for a preaching tour in July and then will return to Cameroon in September to start a school of ministry. Itâ€™s definitely a dream come true.
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