Intimate Conversation with Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Multi-published author, wife, mother and teacher, Sherryle Kiser Jackson strives to be a fresh voice in Christian Fiction. Born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, Sherryle went on to get a degree in Elementary Education from from Salisbury State University. Her triumphant debut novel, Soon and Very Soon (2007) was followed up by her sophomore release, The Manual (2009), Soon After (2010), Taylor- Made (2011), Land of Promiscuity (2012) and Path to Promise (2013) for Urban Christian Books. She lives in Maryland with her family.
BPM: What topics does your latest book address? Why?
I started with what it meant to be a missionary. My sister is the President of the Missions Ministry at my church and has been on several missions’ trips. We’re so different in that respect. To be real, I know I am not selfless enough most of the time to shed my comfortable existence to the degree where I can be of service.
My question when starting this novel became can servants also be self-serving in the process of helping others. I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to see a totally selfish person try to navigate that landscape. I mean, imagine your most self-absorbed friend or high maintenance family member leaving their cell phone, tablet or priceless wardrobe pieces behind for the barest of necessities.
My main character sets off on a mission’s trip to Haiti with the goal to find his birth father. He’s a fatherless child trying to answer a lifetime of questions about the man that helped conceive him. In the midst of that struggle I layered an interracial love story and all the issues that brings. I’ve connected with some great people on Pinterest who support the missionaries in their lives and found a community dealing with the absentee of loved ones similar to that of military families with a loved one on a long deployment.
BPM: Did you conduct alot of research for this book, Submissionary (Seek. Find. Release)?
Yes! Have you heard of Symbaloo? It's like a dashboard of websites all in one place. Some might find it interesting to see the sites I used to get insight into pre and post quake Haiti. Check it out: http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/submissionary
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
I write personally poignant and hopefully impactful and uplifting literature. It’s my version of Christian fiction that is neither preachy nor compromised. My goal is never to write a salacious story. I think many equate that with being a really good story. In reality most of us don’t live on that extreme. With storylines centered around the root of my character’s decisions and the impact on their relationships, my literary work speaks to women and Christians specifically. I call it my brand of soul satisfying reads.
BPM: You believe strongly in:
I believe strongly in showing faith in action which is not an elaborate Hollywood set washed in white light, full of one-liners and magic tricks. I am also on a mission to take the dirty laundry off the clothes lines of our community, sweep the streets clean of other people’s business and bring virtue back.
BPM: Faith allows you:
Faith allows me the freedom to hope and face life’s challenges, to call out inconsistencies in the world, but particularly, inconsistencies in my life that are contrary to what God ordained and promised. I suppose ( in fact, I know) I can get as arrogant, self-absorbed or ratchet as the next person, BUT, something reminds me to, “act like I know.” I have to act like I know Him, and that I am profoundly different because I know Him. Yep, I preach to the choir. It’s characteristic of my brand. I am the one that gives you the gentle reminder - Seriously, you better act like you know!
BPM: Criticism makes you:
Criticism makes me reassess. I’m sure it depends on the spirit in which the criticism is given. I can’t say I am one with great discernment of people’s motives. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I receive it in love. I get my feelings hurt sometimes. Ultimately, I know what to take from critism and what to discard.
BPM: Do you consider yourself a role model:
Everyone is to a certain degree. I mean, I am a teacher as well, and not just by profession. I am keenly aware that we have a role to edify one another. So when I see people follow my RSS feed, or on social media, I am conscious of the message I put out.
BPM: When you are afraid, you will:
When I am fearful I become unproductive. Fear is something I work to get under control right away. Besides the fact that the Bible suggest that fear is a fabrication because the Lord hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, for that reason, a wise woman once said, “I aint got time for that.”
BPM: What surprised you the most about becoming a business owner?
It surprised me that it is completely different from my natural, creative being. Although, publishing yourself can both work to lessen and add to your stress. You have the leeway to let a story unfold organically, but you have the added pressure to put out a quality product and be responsible for all parts of the product. You have to take note of the persuasions in society to be seen and heard among the rhetoric of the day.
BPM: The greatest threat to literary freedom are:
The greatest threat to literary freedom are those that try to silence the story tellers Choked out of major and mom and pop bookstore shelves alike that are closing by the dozens, we fail to recognize the soul and essence of who we are. We feel all our stories must somehow have to be the same. We sometimes become divisive in our pursuit to compete with each other for readers. It is important that our work be as diverse as we are. It is also important that the authenticity of our stories, and not solely money or notoriety be the aim of the storytellers.
BPM: How has your writing evolved:
I now know I don’t have to hammer every point. Readers desire a distraction not constant direction. I am a wordsmith that can sometimes get happy in the turn of a phrase, but I’ve learned I cannot forget my audience.
BPM: Do you view writing as a gift or a career:
A career may be the hope, writing is a definite gifting. It’s cathartic. You may hear some writers speak of the words to a story just flowing at a point in their process. I think this is an accurate account of what gifting truly is. There is a natural ebb and flow to things. When you are working in your gifting there is a point you can tuck into the flow and the story comes out naturally.
BPM: Advice you would give a new author:
Read. Write. Be brave and find your own voice.
BPM: Your greatest accomplishment as a writer:
Besides the seven novels, and one anthology, I am most proud of my offerings to my church magazine, Kingdom Living Magazine. In one edition I wrote an article called, “What is Special Needs” that highlighted those differently-abled members of our congregation and their caregivers. Many family members came to thank me for the recognition the article garnered them.
BPM: What you know for sure:
I know for sure that God’s Word is true. Do I understand every part of the Bible? Do I understand why people don’t get along and most of us have to suffer great pain in our lives? No. The Word says, now, we only know in part like looking through a glass darkly, but one day we will know as we are known. Deep, I know.
BPM: Life's greatest teacher is:
Life’s greatest teacher is experience
BPM: Success means:
You attempt to live out your purpose.
BPM: Your writing educates, illuminates or entertains:
If I am successful it will do all three; educate, illuminate and entertain..
BPM: Will the printed book ever become obsolete:
The printed book may become obsolete, but a well-written story doesn’t lose its potency if you engage the mind of the reader.
BPM: What legacy do you wish to leave future generations of readers:
My literary legacy will show that words live beyond the pages if they are true and authentic.
Purchase Submissionary by Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Submissionary is the first Indie release on her own imprint Holy*Ghost*Writing* Besides the Christian values and romantic leanings readers are accustom to with Sherryle's work, Submissionary dares to take a look at the struggles of pre and post quake Haiti. Submissionary is one of the projects Sherryle is imagining for a short or feature film.
Watch the Submissionary movie trailer: http://youtu.be/Ty75E4eiG-g
Visit Sherryle Kiser Jackson's website: http://www.sherrylejackson.com
Books by Sherryle: http://www.amazon.com/Sherryle-Kiser-Jackson/e/B004G1X9HU