If you've ever wondered what it looks like when a big dream comes true, well, let me introduce you to my friend, Karen Schreck:
Something about that photo just makes me giddy. That's Karen the day she got to hold her book in her hands. What an incredible feeling to see all that work finally materialize!
I was thrilled to chat with Karen about this dream coming true...and I'm even more thrilled to offer you the chance to win an Advanced Reader Copy of her new book Sing for Me. Read on to find out more!
Was there ever a time you thought you couldn't/wouldn't be able to pursue this big dream of writing a book?
I have been writing for over thirty years, so there have been dark nights of the soul all along the way. Some of those nights extends into weeks, months, whole seasons of my life. I am no stranger to self-doubt, in other words. But I consider my writing a kind of relationship, and like any other long-term relationship, there are challenges to face. A grace-filled combination of will, tenacity, and faith has sustained me. When I’ve taken on challenging jobs, faced certain health issues, or struggled against the discouragement of rejection (and, yes, I am one of those writers with a lot of rejection letters to my name), I have found that ultimately, I am far less whole when I give up the dream, and far more whole when I simply choose to set the next word down on the page.
Did anyone ever tell you couldn't or shouldn't do this? How do you handle the discouragement?
I’ve been blessed with parents and friends and a husband who have said, time and again, “Do this.” But I must say I had a few teachers along the way who let me know loud and clear that I wasn’t cut out to be a writer. “Yuck,” I remember one teacher writing over and over again in the margins. I respected him deeply and felt terribly . . . what? Ashamed, I guess that’s what I felt. I realize now that I was trying to write like who I thought he wanted me to be, and that didn’t serve either of us very well. Funny, though, how the words of those teachers linger in my mind—my inner critics who raise their voices at the most crucial times. I work to recognize who they are, and then politely ask them to take their criticism elsewhere and leave me in peace. More and more, this proves to be an effective tactic.
What's it feel like to put yourself out there like this--to take the risk to make your big dream come true and actually hold it in your hands?
This book, SING FOR ME, has taken many years to write and publish. After so much time—nearly twenty years since I first wrote the story that inspired the novel—I am incredibly happy and grateful that it’s entering the world. I really do feel like I’ve done the best work I can do, page by page, with this material. I’m delighted to release the book, and let it have its own life now. Bon voyage, dear child. Safe travels and fare thee well. That’s kind of what I’m thinking.
What would you say to anyone with a big dream who hasn't worked up the courage to get started?
Have faith and keep writing. The work is a gift you will give to yourself and share with others when the time is right.
Is there a quote or verse that's helped you keep moving forward?
“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
About Sing for Me:
When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music—as well as a handsome African American man—she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.
Raised in the Danish Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen knows it’s wrong to sing worldly songs. But Rose still yearns for those she hears on the radio—“Cheek to Cheek,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”—and sings them when no one is around.
One day, Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club, where she discovers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose worries it’s wrong—her parents already have a stable husband in mind for her—she can’t stop thinking about the African American pianist of the Chess Men, Theo Chastain. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered the role of singer for the Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister, Sophy, who has cerebral palsy—but at what cost?
As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope’s with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God’s call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith suffer because of her worldly ways?
Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love and embracing—at all costs—your calling.
So...about that giveaway...today I'm thrilled to add an ARC of Karen's new book to the Big Book Giveaway that's going on all week long!
To enter today, just leave a comment on this post! That's it!
For more chances to Win, LIKE Karen's FB page, Tweet,Facebook, Pin or Blog this giveaway and then come back and leave a comment for each one you do! That's a lot of chances and this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can also scroll down and enter on Lynne's post below.
More books to come! :)