Please welcome Shirley Corder to my blog today. Shirley's book is being featured in the ACRBA tour this week. There is also a chance to win a copy of her new book.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Scotland and brought up in Southern Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then called. I travelled to South Africa when I was eighteen to study nursing and there I met my husband-to-be. We were in full-time ministry for 36 years before he officially retired six years ago. (Note, I said officially!) We have three married children who of course aren't children at all, one son-in-law, and two daughters- in-law. We also have four grandchildren to date ranging from 19 to seven. In 1997 I received a diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer with spread, and my surgeon didn't expect me to survive a year. At that point, my life did a U-turn from active RN to full-time writer. In addition to Strength Renewed, I am contributing author to ten books to date, and have had hundreds of articles published. I also run an online writing group for Christian Writers of South Africa (http://tinyurl.com/CWOSAfrica). My husband and I live close to the beach in South Africa's "Windy City", Port Elizabeth.
2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
Not book, but author. I think I read every book Enid Blyton ever wrote. I loved the Faraway Tree series and often rubbed the legs of armchairs to see if I could get them to fly. I was confined to bed with Rheumatic Fever for nine months, and I drove my parents scatty trying to keep me in books. (Jenny here I loved the Faraway Tree Series I read it so many times and wanted a tree like that)
I love reading Christian novels, especially those based in the present. I also enjoy writing novels, although I have never tried to get them published. I know—silly! But I don't seem to find the time to do everything. My writing successes have all been in the non-fiction, especially inspirational, genre.
4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
Once again, I have to mention Enid Blyton. She influenced my creative side, and if I'd started writing younger I would have loved to write those sort of stories. Otherwise not really. I loved annuals, adventures, mysteries, fiction and narrative non-fiction. As long as it had a story, I enjoyed it. I was an impressionable youngster, so whatever I read influenced me. Even today I have to be careful what I read. (Jenny again, Enid Blyton was wonderful I really loved her books she was amazing.)
5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I look back, I realise I've been writing since I was about seven. However, I didn't see it as writing. If I needed something for Sunday School, or later in one of our churches, I wrote it. That just seemed logical to me. During cancer treatment I started journaling, and a year after treatment ended I sensed a call from God to start writing about my experiences in an attempt to come alongside others who faced cancer.
6. How did you go about becoming an author?
I did a creative writing course by correspondence a few years before cancer. (I see God's hand in this, as I had no intention of ever getting published.) But when I decided to become an author, I got onto the Internet and joined several Christian writers groups. I did online courses, joined a critique group, and I wrote. A few years later, I started a Christian non-fiction critique group, and I kept writing. After all, that's what writers do, right? I have been blessed with two writers' conferences in the States, one as a result of a scholarship, and one as an amazing gift. At the second, The Florida Christian Writers Conference, I met the acquisition editor for Revell/Baker, and as a result, Strength Renewed was published in October last year.
7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I'd love to be a graphic designer. I was born before computers ruled the world. Much though I loved nursing, I think I would probably have gone that way if that option had been around when I was looking into careers.
8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
Playing with graphics on my computer, walking on the nearby beach with my husband and dog, playing table tennis, and making plans for a group for over 50's that we run in our church. I also enjoy the occasional game on Play Station with my husband. J
I would love to visit Switzerland. That has been a life-long dream, and I think it's going to have to remain in my dreams.
10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
This is a challenging question. Jan Kern, who was one of my first critique partners before she was published. She and I somehow clicked, and have spoken on Skype on a number of occasions. I'd love to talk with her face to face. Penelope Stokes, who is the author of the first book on writing I ever owned. I think she would challenge me to have courage and step out of the box, which is certainly what she's done with her writing. I'd also love to spend time with Karen Kingsbury, as I love the way she tackles real issues under the guise of fiction. I think of an a-cephalic baby, breast cancer, Alzheimer's, Christian young people messing up their lives . . . and many more.
Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that willbe coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.
Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer is founded on Isaiah 40:31 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles." One review says, "From ants to eagles, nothing escapes the author's attention in this transparent spiritual diary through the valley. Her honesty and spiritual depth will encourage the reader, no matter the trial at hand." The 90 devotions combine Scripture with a wide variety of anecdotes from my own experience. The book can be read in sequential order through a typical cancer journey from diagnosis through treatment. The individual chapters also stand alone. I have received a lot of feedback from people who have not had cancer, but claim the stories in the book have helped them in their own particular time of crises. That thrills me, and it proves God's hand in the book—I intended it for those in the cancer valley.
You can find me at either of my websites:
http://www.shirleycorder.com, to inspire and encourage writers and readers and
http://www.riseandsoar.com, to inspire and encourage those in the cancer valley.
Both of these have their own blog, and you can get to either of them via the menus on both sites.
I am also on Facebook (ShirleyM.Corder), and Twitter (Shirl_Corder and RiseAndSoar).
North American Giveaway:
We have a giveaway for an North American read all you need to do is answer a question from Shirley and leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaway open til April 25th. (You need to answer the question to be entered)
Shirley has a