Thursday, March 14, 2024

Welcome back, Sherri Stewart!

Talkshow Thursday: 
Welcome Back, Sherri Stewart!

What was your inspiration for the story? 

Secrets Deep and Dark has been on my mind to write from way before I wrote my first book. Twenty years ago, the idea for the book came to me while I was sitting in a hotel room in Phoenix, where my husband was attending a conference. A few weeks later, I mentioned my idea to a senior-high student in my journalism class. She told me the book had already been written by Francine Rivers. Great! I set the story aside until 2023. It was time to write my story.

What sort of research did you do for your story, and was there an exceptionally interesting tidbit you knew you had to include?

My main character, Maddie Caldecott is a weekend anchor on the local news station, but I had no idea what an anchor or a reporter’s day-to-day work schedule was like. My only knowledge came from old Lou Grant episodes. So, I interviewed the morning anchor of the news in our town, and he was full of information for me. I like to visit the places in my books, so my son and I traveled to Zürich, stayed at the hotel Adler, where Brody stayed, walked the hill to Lindenhof Park, which is featured a lot in the book, attended the opera where Maddie’s grandmother worked, and of course, I ate wonderful Swiss food, such as raclette, cheese fondue, and rösti.

How are your characters like you? Different?

We authors write what we know, so Maddie and I share many experiences. In a way, writing is cathartic, so many of things Maddie dealt with, I’ve dealt with firsthand or have vicariously dealt with through close friends and relatives. Like Maddie, when I was in high school, something happened that I blocked. I still don’t remember what it is, but it was so bad that I told my parents I would not return to the same school again. By the next Monday, I was living with my grandparents in a different town. Unlike Maddie, I was never raped, but I have close friends who were, and they told me exactly what they went through. What Maddie experienced was what my friends experienced.

How do you come up with storylines?

I believe God gives me storylines. Something within compels me to write a story. Normally, I have a general idea what I’m going to write, but God takes me in directions I never could have conceived of on my own. That’s why I let Him lead me where He wants to.

Why do you write in your particular genre?

My favorite genre is romantic suspense. I like the fast pace of suspense, where a character is faced
Photo: Pixabay
with issues they’re ill-equipped to deal with. My characters always have some flaw that adds to the suspense because it impedes their ability to deal with the problem that besets them. They have to draw on the Lord’s help to make wise decisions. In Secrets, Maddie hates to share her private life with the public. She only trusts two people in the world: her grandmother and her best friend, both of whom live outside of the United States. Maddie learns to trust one other person—Police Officer Brody Messner, and later she overcomes her fear of sharing her private life with the public in the most surprising way.

What is your process for writing?

I’m a pantser, which means I don’t write an outline, but I have a general idea where the story is going. I write 500 words a day five times a week. Pantsers always have to spend more time revising than Plotters—those who do outlines. I spend at least a month or two revising and editing before I send my book to a professional editor. I’m also an editor, but no one can edit their own book. I’ve learned that the hard way.

What is your advice to fledgling writers?

Let the words flow every day. Don’t worry about the final product. Join a writers’ group. Word Weavers is a good one. That way new writers will learn the conventions of fiction that are not taught in school—things like point of view and show v. tell. Also, every writer should attend a writers’ conference.

What is your next project?

Right now, I’m writing a Christmas historical romance that occurs on an ocean liner in 1910. Later this year, I’ll write the third and final book of my series of World War II books. The series hasn’t been named yet, but the first books are A Song for her Enemies (2021) and What Hides behind the Walls (2022). The last book will also take place on an ocean liner, so I’ll be sailing across the Atlantic in May.

Secrets Dark and Deep

TV anchor, Maddie Caldecott, has a secret so deeply buried within that she doesn’t remember it. But the man called Absalom knows her secret, and his threats to exact his revenge are becoming more and more intrusive. As an investigative reporter, Maddie can dig out the truth of any story, but she can’t unearth the secret she’s blocked until it’s too late.

Police Detective, Brody Messner, is at his wits end. How can he protect Maddie if she resists his every suggestion? His need to protect her has become personal. From Orlando to Zürich, he follows her, trying to stay one step ahead of her assailant—all of his notes to her, and that song.


Sherri Stewart is woman of faith who loves all things foreign—whether it’s food, culture, or language. A former French teacher, her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. She savored boterkoeken in Amsterdam for A Song for Her Enemies, and crème brûlée in Paris for its sequel, What Hides beyond the Walls, and raclette in Zürich for Secrets Dark and Deep. A widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who always has to fix her computer. As an author, editor, blogger, speaker, and Bible teacher, she hopes her books will entertain and challenge readers to live large and connect with their Savior. Join, chat, and share with her on social media:

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