Sally Chambers and her husband call Florida their home. A business owner, she retired from a career in insurance in 1997 and returned to her love of writing. Sally enjoys writing inspirational contemporary suspense woven through with light romance for Young Adults/ New Adults—women of all ages.
Sally and I are meeting together to discuss her writing journey. Listen in. Better yet, pull up a chair. I’ve put her favorites on the table—iced water with lime and a slice of chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake. l’m having an end piece of that cake with my coffee. Can I serve you some?
HC (High Cotton): Sally, what top three things would describe you as a person?
Loving, faith-filled, and loyal.
Sally Chambers and The Stonekeepers
HC: You have been instrumental to many writers. I actually met you with CWFI (Christian Writers Fellowship International) a number of years ago. I appreciated your tireless work on behalf of writers then and now.
Your first work of fiction, The Stonekeepers, released this year. What was the inspiration for this project?
At one point in my life, I mentored junior high school girls at high risk of dropping out of school. I wanted the girls I was mentoring to know and feel Jesus’ love for them.
And I wanted them reading the Word of God, to learn they could trust and lean on Him.
The girls I mentored would probably never meet the girls in my Sunday school class, but through story maybe I could show them the way to Jesus and inspire compassion in women for the Lord and each other
Hallmark of Faith in the Writing Journey
H: You’ve written numerous devotionals, Sally. What part does faith play in your writing journey?
My faith is everything in my writing journey.
No detail is too small or too big to ask the Lord about.
One example: after a character was born and I knew what part he would play and I’d named him, Aaron Cohen, (which I felt was a solid Jewish name), I needed to give him depth and a past. I’d decided on the year he’d built his house on Nantucket Island and I “knew” that was the year after he’d emigrated to America. So, I went (online) to Ellis Island to The American Immigrant Wall of Honor to dig and search for a man named Cohen who’d arrived here in 1831.
There are no words to describe my feelings when I found Aaron Solomon Cohen, Point of Origin, London, England and later learned Cohen means priest.
This scripture, from Philippians, speaks to my faith in writing.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God . . .” (Philippians 4:6a NKJV)
It’s difficult not to become anxious in all the facets and phases of writing, and Paul’s admonition and advice is a great help.
HC: Tell us the steps to writing this first fiction work.
- Fast-forward from 1995 through 2013, through years of writing. I wrote one and a half other novels during those interim years and edited The Stonekeepers. Joined ACFW to soak up all I could to improve my writing. Spent time with critique groups and partners who believed in me and my writing, encouraged and helped and pushed me across the years.
- In 2004 I signed with Hartline Literary Agency and have agent, Diana Flegal working with me.
- In 2008, I created a website and joined Facebook with no thought of platform.
- Mid-2012 I joined Pinterest. The Stonekeepers was submitted to a number of publishers, all of whom rejected it.
- In 2013, the novel had been edited and polished. I increased my activity on Facebook and Twitter as a way to connect.
- A small press royalty publisher, Elk Lake Publishing. They accepted The Stonekeepers, for a contract in February of 2014.
- I continued building a platform, launching my WordPress blog, “Everyone Has a Story,” in July 2014, also joining Goodreads, Google+, and Linkedin.
- In May of this year, 2015, Elk Lake released The Stonekeepers with a cover and format I love.
HC: Recently, I’ve read that today’s writer needs to be ready to do 80% of the marketing. What are your thoughts/experience on this?
Guess I don’t think about percentages, Diane, but there is a tremendous interest on both my part and the publisher’s part to do a good job of marketing our books—and expectations from both.
Fred St. Laurent of Elk Lake did some forward-thinking in acquiring a young, getting-established, small press and blending it with his successful venture (The Book Club Network—TBCN). He’s set up a strong, secure, Christian atmosphere where book-lovers and authors participate to their mutual benefit.
HC: You are a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and former moderator for CWFI. Do you recommend membership in writers’ groups?
I definitely recommend membership in writers’ groups.
- Support, encouragement, prayer
- Qualified help
- Skills honed, polished
- Critique partners
HC: What is the “Sally Chambers’ goal” for this year? Five years?
This year? Now you’ve stopped me and made me think, as I’d reached the best goal ever in the publication of my novel! But for the rest of this year, you made “goal” singular, so . . .
In any way I can, I want to continue to be an advocate for my new book through the end of this year. (And beyond, of course.)
And the goal for five years—I’d like to rewrite a finished manuscript and complete another manuscript that’s halfway there.
HC: What’s the last word you’d like to leave with us, Sally?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Dreams are the stuff reality is made of. Remember what Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Never, ever give up. You have not come this far to fail.
Please leave questions or comments below for Sally. She’d love to hear from you.
Sally’s contact and media information:
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/sallychambers