Today, I welcome Author, Shelia Lipsey. I'm excited about having Shelia with us, because Shelia is not only one of the author's who launched the Urban Christian Imprint, but she's also a very sweet person who truly exemplifies the spirit of Jesus Christ. Shelia is also 2007 SORMAG Choice Awards Winner and the Author of the Year for 2008 for Conversations Book Club. Both very distinguished honors in a time when over 400,000 books are published a year.
Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction Blog, Shelia. Tell us about your latest novel, My Son’s Wife.
My Son’s Wife is a novel about the lives of imperfect people. First Lady Audrey Graham, of Holy Rock Church believes she's found the perfect woman to become her only son, Minister Stiles Graham's wife. Sweet, sensitive, kind, and of course a fine Christian girl, Audrey couldn't ask more of lovely Rena Jackson. But skeletons start to fall from the closet when Audrey and Stiles discover that Rena is secretly in love and committed to a troubled, rebellious, ex-con. My Son's Wife is more than a love triangle, it's a time bomb set to explode with twists, turns, entanglements and sinful revelations that only a loving God can make right. My Son’s Wife hit bookstores nationwide October 1, 2008.
What are your other titles?
I am the author of the novels, Into Each Life (Urban Books Jan. 07, and the scintillating novel, Sinsatiable (Urban Books, Aug. 07). They are also available wherever books are sold including online. I have a self-published nonfiction book entitled, A Christian’s Perspective-Journey Through Grief.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to pick up any one of my novels, at any time, read it and come away with a lesson in life, love, relationships and living. I want them to know that the journey is real and my characters, much like everyday people and events, are traveling that journey as well.
Tell us when and why you began writing?
I began writing seriously when I was an adolescent. My teachers had a hard time believing that I wrote some of the essays and papers myself that were assigned to me. To this day, I often wish that I had kept those papers. I began my writing as a means of escape into a fantasy world of my very own where I could make my life the way I wanted it to be and not the way it was playing itself out. You know, during the time I was growing up, not only was I physically challenged, there was rampant segregation and prejudice. I was the only physically challenged person in elementary, junior high and high school so I stood out like a sore thumb. Polio has a deforming effect on parts of your body and the part that was affected most for me was my legs. I limped and wore leg braces. I sought to be like everyone else so I fantasized and dreamed a lot. My mom called it daydreaming and I would venture off into my own private world without a moment’s notice. I was a teenager when I discovered that reading and writing provided me a means of escape into my own world, my own way of doing things and being who I wanted to be, when I wanted . When I was writing, I was in control of what people did or did not say. It became a great outlet for me to escape the cruelties of the world.”
Very moving story, Shelia and the depth of your knowledge and experiences shows in your writing. I've enjoyed both of your previous titles. Tell me do you believe you have a specific writing style? More times, than not , the title of my books come first, and from the title my characters evolve. Even when I compose my inspirational speaking messages, I find myself thinking about what the title or topic will be and go from there. I’m most comfortable with writing fiction, especially Christian fiction. As for a particular style, I can answer that by saying, I write according to what God places in my mind, spirit and heart. I write in third person but each novel that I have weaved is uniquely designed and laid out by the Holy Spirit.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
It has played a major role in my writing. The protagonists in my novels, like myself, are and will be physically challenged yet they have a strong spiritual side as well. All of my life, I wrestled with the fact that I have polio. I fought many an emotional battle before I came to accept me for me. I believe my life long emotions, experiences and thoughts play heavily in the way my books are written. Also my spiritual upbringing and total reliance on God has been the reason that my writing has taken on the form it has and I hope this will always be evident in my writing.
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I love J California Cooper. She has the innate ability to craft a story that keeps her readers turning the page. I like the message that is delivered through and in her books. I like the fact that her books are “real life” kinda stuff. The girl is my mentor and doesn’t even know it. My life experiences; and definitely my mother, who always instilled in me that I could do whatever I set out to do, regardless of my handicap, as long as I keep God first.
You are quite a prolific writer. Tell me, what do you do to set the mood for writing? I really like to be alone, sitting at my computer, house quiet with a tall glass of ice tea sitting next to me, no phone ringing, no doorbell, just quietness and total solitude. On the other hand, I am gifted to weave my novels when the house is filled with people (but I prefer my solitude). It’s like once I sit down at the computer, everything else, fades away and it’s only me, the computer, and my thoughts.
Thanks so much for stopping by Shelia. Tell us how can you be contacted if someone wants to invite you to a book signing, conference, seminar, or other literary event, including church events?
Thank you for having me, Rhonda. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.shelialipsey.com/; www.myspace.com/shelialipsey; http://www.uchisglorybookclub.net/. And of course, you can feel free to ‘google me.’
Shelia is a native Memphian. She attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude with a BBA degree. Lipsey, a published author, professional copyeditor and inspirational speaker has been actively writing and speaking most of her life. Lipsey has written several short stories and over 200 poems which she has plans of publishing in the near future.
Among Lipsey’s list of literary accomplishments and affiliations, she was awarded Conversations Book Club 2008 Author of the Year (thebestbookclub.info), Dallas Morning News Bestselling Author ’07, Urban Knowledge Memphis Bestselling Author ‘07; Founding president Memphis African American Writers Group (MAAW), president UC His Glory Book Club (uchisglorybookclub.net) Founder of Living Your Dreams Now (livingyourdreamsnow.net) online member of Black Writers Christian Network (email@example.com), Booknibbler_Christian, Black, Copy Editor (http://www.shelialipsey.com/). Lipsey is also a contributing writer for Sankofa Literary Society(sankofaliterarysociety.org) guest columnist at Blogginginblack.com, as well as several other online literary groups.
Shelia's book are available wherever books are sold, including online at such sites as walmart.com; target.com; bn.com; Waldenbooks.com; and more.