Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Losing Hope Virtuall Book Tour

Leslie J. Sherrod, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is a wife, mother of three, and a licensed social worker providing therapy to children and families. Her novels include her newest release, Losing Hope; Secret Place, which was featured in Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library Writer’s LIVE! Series as well as local CBS and NBC affiliates; and Like Sheep Gone Astray, which was featured on AOL’s Black Voices and received a starred review from Booklist. She has also contributed to the bestselling A Cup of Comfort devotional series and has a short story, “The Jericho Band” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.

Losing Hope is the first book in a series that follows a social worker who comes to the rescue of the most vulnerable on her caseload, all while trying to come to terms with the regrets of her past. In this first book, Sienna St. James goes rogue trying to find a little girl who may or may not exist, and at the same time tries to track the whereabouts of her estranged husband. All she has to go with for both missions is a new foster child client who thinks someone is trying to kill her and a package from Portugal that delivers more questions than answers. Before she knows it, Sienna finds herself in the middle of a city-wide scandal. At center are two suspicious foster parents, a mega-church ministry leader, and Sienna's own fragile emotions over a man who changed the direction of her life. It's a test of her professional and moral will as Sienna seeks closure from a love she never understood and answers about whether a little girl named Hope ever existed. And if she did, where is she now?

How did you start out your writing career?

I began writing my first novel shortly after the birth of my first child. I’m not sure that I was actually picturing it as a finished book when I started; I never imagined I would actually get published. However, about halfway through that first manuscript, something in me clicked. The idea, the notion that maybe I really could finish an entire book, and that this was not just a fun, personal exercise. The Lord began working in me, giving me both signs and encouragement that writing for Him was not just a hobby, but a ministry, a calling. After really seeking His will and praying, doors began to open. It has not been an easy road, but God still has me on the path. For that I am honored, grateful, and excited to keep the pen (well, computer keyboard) moving!

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I want to establish Sienna St. James as a memorable character with a story to tell. I am hopeful that readers will be intrigued enough about her past to care about her future so that the series can continue… at least until I feel like her story has been fully told. I want to establish her adventures as both suspenseful and meaningful as it addresses such issues as hope, identity, and purpose; relationships, life-changing choices, and disappointment.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

Sienna St. James came to me with her story intact, i.e. I could not separate the character from the plot. She was a package deal. The premise of the series greeted me one day while I was finishing my Masters degree in Social Work. I’ve always loved a good suspense novel, and the idea of a social worker, who works with the whole gamut of humanity, playing a mock detective with her caseload, immediately appealed to me. Her personal story line – the mystery surrounding her estranged husband – made sense as it gave her character depth and an opportunity to share life lessons beyond the novel’s central plot.

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to getting published? How did you overcome it?

My first novel was published by a major publisher without the assistance of an agent and without a single rejection letter. I did not know at that time how much of a rarity and blessing that was. Following that initial release in 2006, so many aspects of the publishing industry changed. When I shopped around my second novel, I began receiving letters from publishers who liked my story, but were themselves closing up shop and are not even around anymore. There was a five year gap between my first and second novel, and there were many moments when I questioned whether I was supposed to keep at it. However, every time I was close to giving up, God would crack open a door just enough for me to know I had some more steps to take, that I was still on the right path. He is faithful. I have learned to trust His timing. What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer? A fellow author who is also a dear friend of mine has taught me the value of dreaming big. One of my “issues” that comes from some of the challenges I’ve faced in my life is my tendency to set low expectations and constantly prepare myself for the worse outcome. However, as simple as it sounds, listening to this writer express her dreams and expectations from God ignited something in me. Whether it’s about a story plot, a book signing, or even another detail in my life outside of writing, it’s okay to dream big, because I serve a big God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or imagine!

Five questions about books:

One book that you have read more than once: Abraham’s Well by Sharon Ewell Foster One book you loved as a child: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor One book that made you laugh: Church Folk by Michele Andrea Bowen One book that made you cry: The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve One book you wish you'd written: Jubilee by Margaret Walker

Anything you'd like to say to the readers of SORMAG?

I want to thank everyone who helps make up SORMAG. It is because of you that writers like me have a chance to share our work. Your presence is affirming as you are a visible reminder that there really is an audience who receives what we do. Writing can be a very solitary exercise. When it’s just me, my computer and Microsoft Word blinking on my screen, it can be difficult to believe that anyone outside of my personal writing space will even care what words are being typed out on my screen at 10 p.m. or 2 in the morning. Seeing dedicated readers like those who make up SORMAG reminds me why I will be up late once again, even tonight. You are not just readers. You are supporters and the very foundation that holds up the writing industry. Thank you.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Facebook Page:
Twitter: @lesliejsherrod

You can also find me on Goodreads, and more information about all of my literary works is available on my

Amazon author page: Finally, I started a blog where I post some of my poetry from time to time. Check it out if you want:

I love to hear from readers, so please do contact me!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow...everything sounds intersting. I m in B'more and have not heard of your books. That not i just ordered this one.

Thanks Queen LaShaunda for bringing me a new author :)


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