I think you’ll enjoy reading about today’s guest. Sheila Roberts is an author and also a songwriter. She pens heartwarming stories about love and friendship, one’s even been made into a movie for Lifetime TV. Here she is to tell us about her writing and current release, The Snow Globe. And be sure to visit Sheila’s Web site at www.sheilasplace.com
Susan Palmquist (SP)-I love reading about what people did before they became writers so I was fascinated to see that you owned a singing telegram business…do tell us more.
Sheila Roberts (SR)-Yes, when I was first married I started a singing telegram with my best buddy from high school called Serendipity Song Senders. Our singers wore tuxes and delivered flowers. I had a great time writing the jingles we sang for all those important occasions in people’s lives and, because I am the queen of hams, I had a great time singing to people and embarrassing them. I sang to all kinds of interesting people like Roy Clark the country singer. I even sang to Mickey Mouse on a Navy destroyer. Now, that was cool. It was a wonderful creative outlet.
SP-And you also played in a band. What instrument and what type of music?
SR-I played keyboard and sang. We were a country/rock band and played a lot of the “animal clubs” like the Eagles and Elks in addition to local honky tonks. At least once a night I’d hop down from the stage to get out in the crowd and join a line dance. It was great fun!
SP-You still write songs. Have any been published? How does that process differ (maybe it doesn’t) from writing a novel?
SR-I still write songs, but mostly worship choruses for church. And I’m very happy doing that. (Although I still like to dabble in writing country songs.) Breaking into songwriting is ten times harder than breaking into publishing. I have a couple of songs languishing in dusty vaults at Nashville publishing houses but my only claim to fame as a songwriter was having a Christmas song make the cut for a “Christmas in the Northwest” album – a regional fundraiser popular for years in the greater Seattle area. It got made into a music video which aired on a Seattle station and that was great fun.
SP-How would you describe the types of books you write?
SR-Well, my advertising slogan is “Read Sheila for a Good Time” and that probably sums it up pretty well. I write about subjects that women can identify with – rather like a chick flick in a book. I hope the books are both fun and encouraging.
SP-Tell us about your latest book The Snow Globe. How did it come about?
SR-I’ve always loved snow globes and I thought it would make a wonderful premise to write a Christmas story about one that gave people a glimpse of what they needed in their lives. I think it turned out both fun and heartwarming and I think readers will enjoy it.
SP-You’ve written a book called Small Change and while it’s fiction it includes money tips and recipes. It sounds a perfect read for these tough economic times. Could you tell us about it? How you got the idea, and do you have any great tips to share with us?
SR-I love that book, mainly because helping people learn to live well on what they have is something I’m passionate about. I think we can live large no matter what our income and that most of us are richer than we realize. That’s not to say that many of us aren’t going through hard times right now. And I can identify with that. My husband and I went through many lean years when we were raising our kids. At one point he got laid off from supposedly secure jobs twice in a five year period. Those were challenging times indeed. But we still managed to have fun. Now with the holidays coming up I’d encourage people to find ways to enjoy the season that don’t involve spending large amounts of money. There is so much you can do to have fun that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Have a caroling party and serenade the neighbors, get together with your girlfriends to make Christmas gifts (I have some great recipes for just that in “Small Change”), have a backyard bonfire, a neighborhood snowball fight, a chick flick night – the possibilities are endless. And, speaking of chick flicks, my novel “On Strike for Christmas” was made into a movie and is slated to air this December on the Lifetime Channel. I am planning a huge chick flick party. We’re all dressing in our best bling and going to have “red carpet interviews”… on a piece of sample carpet. Then I’ll post the fun on YouTube. Cheap fun!
SP-You live in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite spots to visit. So many great writers reside or were born there, what’s the secret, is beautiful scenery an inspiration?
SR-It is gorgeous out here! I’m a Seattle girl, born and raised, so I’ve always lived in the Northwest and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Many of my friends wound up out here though because someone moved here, loved it and invited them to come check it out. It’s not for everyone though. We do get a lot of rain. I don’t mind that. The rain is what keeps everything so green. And, all those rainy days are great for writing. And maybe that’s why so many writers live out here.
SP-While I was checking out your Web site I couldn’t help but notice so many photos of you with fellow writers who also happen to be your friends too. Do you think it’s important to get together with other writers? And what have you gained from your friendship with them?
SR-I think writers gravitate to each other because we have so much in common – love of story, that burning drive to write. And no one understands the ups and downs of this business like another writer. (Believe me you can slide over the career cliff in a heartbeat!) So it’s great to have someone to console you and talk you down from the ledge during the hard times and to celebrate your successes when times are good. I have the best friends on the planet. Many of them are writers and I’m thankful for each one of them. I haven’t always had a lot of money, but I’ve never lacked in the things that count, like friendship. Because of the wonderful people in my life I consider myself a very rich woman.