Author Leslie J. Sherrod is a living witness that there is a blessing in pushing beyond your fears.
“I know fear. I know how it can paralyze and cripple. I also know that it can motivate and inspire once a decision is made to push past it,” said Sherrod whose latest book The Man of My Schemes will release later this month. “If you find yourself within fear’s grip, study it. Where has it come from? Challenge it. Do your fears really hold truth? Is that terrible thing you are imagining will happen really likely to happen? And what if it does? Aren’t you already a survivor of many things? Seek wisdom and counsel in all things. Wisdom is bigger and stronger than fear. If you know what you need to do and how to do it; if you know this is a dream that God has sparked within you, meaning that He is with you and for you, what can really stop you?”
Pushing beyond her fear has allowed Sherrod to experience a publishing journey she never imagined.
“I’ve always loved to write, whether it was sentences for spelling words for grade school, depressing poems in high school, or lively short stories in college. Never once did I imagine I’d have a career in writing, no more than one would imagine having a career in breathing,” she said. Writing is something that has been so basic to me that getting published has been simply an astounding and amazing beyond-my-expectations experience. My first novel came out in 2006 following my attendance at a writers’ conference where I learned more about the industry and how to begin perfecting my craft. With much prayer and pushing, God truly opened doors and windows. Since 2006, I’ve been fortunate to have seven books in print.”
Her latest novel is a departure from the edge-of-your-seat thrillers she normally writes.
“The Man of My Schemes is a fun and funny read about a woman’s failed plans to pretend she’s found love,” Sherrod said. “She doesn’t mean to start living a lie, but once the fib begins, it grows and takes on a life of its own until she’s completely entrapped—with both horrifying and hilarious consequences. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, and she’s left to explore how her own self-perceptions, society’s expectations—and even church politics—have contributed to her loveless demise. Covering everything from race relations to bad hair days, The Man of My Schemes is meant to be a laugh-out-loud read with just enough seriousness to provoke reflection on the meanings of love.”
She is hoping the story will connect with readers just as much as her others.
“The biggest compliments I’ve received from readers have been when they tell me my stories made them self-reflect about various issues, including their relationship with God. I don’t claim to have all the answers to life’s big questions, but I feel it is my responsibility as a Christian, social worker, wife, mother, and writer to tackle big, sometimes uncomfortable topics, while offering hope along the way. I want readers to leave my stories feeling both entertained and inspired. I want robust discussion. I want to provoke genuine thought and reflection. Most of all, I hope readers find some healing and a nudge toward purpose and joy-filled lives in my pages. And, it’s important to me that readers find my books to be well-written. I’ve found that a beautifully crafted sentence can do wonders for the soul.”