Please join me in welcoming Sharyn Kopf to the blog today!
Sharyn Kopf didn’t discover her author’s voice until God showed her how to turn grief into hope. That meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find happiness in God alone.
It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. Sharyn published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 the next spring. Her second novel, Inconceived, came out last year. She recently completed the Spinstered trilogy when she released Altared over Labor Day weekend. Sharyn’s work has also appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.
Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.
Sharyn’s latest book, Altared, is the third book in her Spinstered series
“If God is so good, why am I so unhappy?”
It’s a question Uli Odell seems to ask herself a lot lately. Because she should be happy—lately, her life has included a vacation on a gorgeous Belizean island with her best friends and an upcoming wedding to a man who says he loves her. Sure, she doesn’t have a job, but once she’s married she won’t necessarily need one, right? Why, then, does she feel so … incomplete?
Uli’s friend, Catie Delaney, has her own struggle with happiness as she prepares for a hysterectomy to fight uterine cancer within days of returning home from their island vacation. But perhaps the biggest struggle will be deciding what to do with her life once she beats this disease, and how to come to terms with her single childlessness.
When Jolene Woods went to Nashville, she never expected to come back to Colorado with a fiancé and a daughter. And grandchildren! Now she has to figure out if she should leave the mountains and her dream job for a new life with her family in Tennessee. And she can no longer just consider what she wants but what’s best for her and the man she loves. But whatever choices Uli, Catie, and Jolene make, each of their lives—in one way or another—will be Altared.
Hi Sharyn! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Sharyn: Apples … no sticky fingers! Unless I use caramel dip. And let’s not kid ourselves … I often include caramel.
Carrie: Well… if we’re all being honest here… I do too.
Sharyn: Winter because humidity is my Kryptonite.
Carrie: amen and amen. yes! me too.
Sharyn: Love both but currently share my home with a purr-ific gray cat named Neal Diamond.
Carrie: haha! If you’re going to have a cat, Neal Diamond is a great name 🙂
Sharyn: Well, maybe the occasional glass of good Southern sweet tea, but I’m not a big fan of either. I’m more of a diet Mountain Dew girl.
Carrie: Diet Coke girl here. No shame.
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Sharyn: Years ago, there was a reality TV show where people competed to see who had the best superhero persona. I decided I would be Lyrica—who would rescue people through the power of words. Because the pen is mightier than the sword! And, by God’s grace, He can/will use my stories to provide hope and healing. That’s my prayer.
Carrie: I love that!
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Sharyn:I have been known to get lost in the Christian fiction section of a bookstore. It’s like I enter a different time zone … and come out of it an hour or two later, completely dazed with no idea what day it is. Then I spend too much … and want to go into another time zone where money isn’t an issue!
Carrie: LOL!! I think we can all relate to that dilemma 😉
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Sharyn: They would probably be more annoyed than anything. “Just because bad stuff happens to you doesn’t mean it has to happen to us!”
Q: The third book in your Spinstered series, Altared, recently released. What inspired you to write this series?
Sharyn: All my life I dreamed of writing romance novels. Then my 40s hit and I was still single. So single, in fact, that I’d never experienced a love of my own. That was a difficult reality and, eventually, I realized I was going through a grieving process as an unmarried, childless woman. And if I was sad, there had to be other women in the same grief.
Soon, I felt God’s tug on my heart to write about this, something I had no interest in doing. At first. But it didn’t take long to realize this might be what God had planned for me all along. Spinstered started as a nonfiction book using the seven stages of grief as they relate to singleness. I’m a novel writer at heart, though, and I soon knew I had to write that story too.
Carrie: I am married (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the day lol) but I’m also childless and I absolutely relate to the stages of grief concept as it pertains to realizing I probably I won’t be a mom. I’m so glad you’ve written this series for others with the same grief you’ve experienced!
Q: Between Jolene, Uli and Catie, which woman do you relate to the most? Which one would you most like to be friends with? And which one was the most difficult to write?
Sharyn: There’s a little of me in all three. I relate to Jolene’s sense of humor, passion and straightforwardness and, I think, she’s the one I most want to be like and would want to be friends with. Uli is like me in that she’s creative, sarcastic, almost always broke, a struggling artist and a hopeful romantic.
Then there’s Catie, who, unfortunately, shares the same broken heart as me. She rarely dates and feels that, for the most part, men look right through her. I’ve cried more over Catie than other any character I’ve ever written. Years ago, driving to a writers conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I heard a song that told me the main plot of book one … and I sobbed and apologized to Catie for about an hour. Not a great idea when you’re maneuvering along a winding mountain road!
Carrie: LOL sobbing and mountain roads aren’t a good combination, you are right.
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from the Spinstered series?
Sharyn: Wow. So much. Each book has a main theme, and each one really gets to the heart of this trilogy:
- God is enough. When it comes to our dreams, we can’t see God as the One who will make our dream come true. He is our dream come true.
- God forgives. No matter what we’ve done, He forgives and forgets. And His mercy is unrelenting. So how can we not forgive ourselves?
- God is good. Even if everything we’ve ever hoped for crumbles at our feet, God is still good. In fact, MercyMe’s song “Even If” expresses the theme of this trilogy perfectly. I had chills and cried big tears the first time I heard it. Okay, make that pretty much every time I hear it.
Carrie: I adore that song. And those truths. Yes.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Sharyn: My next project is to write a romantic novella about a secondary character from the Spinstered series. If it works out, this will be part of an anthology where each story is set at an Airbnb-type vacation rental in a different location from anywhere around the world. Mine will be at a castle in England. (If there’s an author out there who wants to be a part of this anthology, I’d love to hear from them!)
For my “day job,” I’m writing a history for an international Indiana-based business.
Sharyn is offering a signed copy of the first book, Spinstered, to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? Which of the three characters Sharyn mentions are you most looking forward to meeting in the series?