I am positively thrilled to introduce you to FaithWriters member, Joanne Sher. Incidentally, Joanne lives only a few miles from me and I first met her about 3 years ago at a local coffee shop. She is a total sweetheart and has a heart of gold. Many of you may know her as head Jeweler (the Jewelers are a group of members committed to commenting on general article submissions and encouraging new members). If you’re attending the FaithWriters conference, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting Jo for yourself.
For now, sit back and get to know a little more about her.
LYNDA: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
JOANNE: Lessee – I was born and raised in Southern California, in a Jewish family. I moved to Michigan right after I married my Michigan-native husband, Marc. We both got saved about 11 years ago. He is currently on disability because of a brain tumor and complications from it. We have two wonderful children: Andrew is 9 and Annika is 6.
LYNDA: How did you get your writing start?
JOANNE: I was an English major in college, but I’ve always enjoyed writing. I was on my high school and college newspaper, and worked as a “real” reporter for a while – the beginning of my salvation story actually happened as a result of a story I was writing for the local daily paper.
LYNDA: Anything published?
JOANNE: Besides tons of newspaper articles in the past, I’ve had a few stories published in magazines here and there, as well as a few anthologies – Faithwriters’ and otherwise.
LYNDA: What is your ultimate writing aspiration?
JOANNE: To be an author. I have one book written about God’s provision during my husband’s health issues, another (a novel) in progress set during the time of King Saul, and half a dozen ideas for others. I’m currently working to get my first ready to pitch at the Faithwriters conference in August.
LYNDA: How did you find FaithWriters and what do you love most about it?
JOANNE: I found Faithwriters FOUR YEARS AGO (wow!) through a search for a Christian writing website (I think – I know I was searching for something). I love SO many things about it. The fellowship of Christian writers is INCREDIBLE. The writing challenge has been a huge part of improving my writing. I’ve had awesome opportunities to use my spiritual gift of encouragement at this site (In fact, George Parler, a fellow FaithWriters friend, was the person who first made me aware encouragement WAS my spiritual gift). The conference is AWESOME. I didn’t really have to pick just one, did I?
LYNDA: That was a trick question. There really isn’t only one answer to that question. LoL.
So tell us how the Jewel Chest came about?
JOANNE: I have always been an encourager by nature. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to be sure that as many entries in the writing challenge had comments on them. I would cover one to two levels a week, but always felt bad when I heard of people in other levels who didn’t get comments. So, I approached a few friends who I also knew were encouragers to help me. The group has grown and changed over the past couple years, but it is always our mission to encourage writers at the site – both in the writing challenge, where we started, and also in general submissions. (By the way, the Jewelers are taking a break for the summer) Each of the Jewelers reads a bit in general submissions and sends in a favorite or two, which I share in the cheering section of the FaithWriters’ message board on Fridays.
Finally, just for fun, how would you reply to these few fun facts:
Favorite ice cream flavor: Fudge Brownie from Baskin Robbins
First job you ever held: I was a “gopher” for an artist – cleaned up for her, helped organize her stuff, and watched her kids.
Something you’d change about yourself if you could: I’m forgetful – hate that I can have something one minute, and have no idea where it is the next.
LYNDA: Thanks again, Jo, for letting us to get to know you a little better. Looking forward to seeing you again next month at the FaithWriters conference!