Shelia Stovall

Why I Started Writing:

Years ago, while participating in a Bible study session meditating on the question “What does God want you to do that you don’t want to do?” the idea to write a booked popped into my head. My hands trembled because I knew I didn’t have the necessary skills to accomplish this task. If I’d known then the hard work and perseverance required, I’d have run. Friends might say I did run, because I signed up for a mission trip to Niger, Africa. Since starting the writing journey, I’ve traveled to Africa seven times, and I’ve attended countless writers’ conferences.

As I’m writing a story, my goal is to draw readers in so thoroughly they are unaware I’m sharing God’s plan for salvation. When readers finish one my books, I hope they consider their personal relationship with God. My desire is that a non believer will be transformed by praying a simple prayer that will lead to life everlasting. I believe fiction can be one of the most effective evangelical tools available to Christians today.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

As a librarian, it’s a challenge to select authors who have influenced me because there are so many. After considering similarities between my work and other novels, I’d have to list Jan Karon, Philip Gulley, Charlene Ann Baumbich, Joan Medlicott, and Ann Gabhart.

Small-town life with quirky characters are a feature of all my books. My Weldon series is different from Jan Karon’s Mitford series and Philip Gulley’s Harmony series in that the main protagonists in my stories are not pastors—but there’s still drama within the meddlers in the church family.

In each of my books, there’s an elderly woman of faith who speaks truth but is so loving you can’t help but admire her. I suspect this thread comes from reading Charlene Ann Baumbich’s Dearest Dorothy Partonville series.

Each of the books in the Weldon series (and in a series I’m exploring set in Sassy Creek, just down the road from Weldon) features the friendships of strong women, and, of course, they often share a delicious dessert. This inspiration is from Joan Medlicott’s The Ladies of Covington series.

Ann Gabhart is a dear friend and mentor. Although I love all her books, The Scent of Lilacs influenced my writing more than any of her other books, as the small town of Hollyhill could be my childhood hometown. We’ve all been told to write what you know and Ann’s book inspired me to create my own make-believe town of Weldon.

To summarize, the authors above have inspired me to write stories of hope featuring the friendships of strong women, within a Southern small-town setting, filled with quirky characters, meddling church ladies, and an elderly wise person of faith. The grapevine and prayer are intermingled, and humor is sprinkled in amid the mishaps. But with every calamity, there’s always a thread of hope.

Books I Have Written:

Every Window Filled with Light – A Weldon Novel

Librarian Emma Baker, a young widow, believes her dream to build a family is impossible. Then she discovers twelve-year-old Harley, abandoned by her drug-addict mother, hiding in the library. Emma becomes Harley’s foster parent and healing begins.

It’s been two years since a student accidentally stabbed to death Emma’s high-school teacher husband, and her grief has stifled any interest in romance —until she meets Luke Davis. But when Luke hands Emma a letter from her husband’s killer, her temper ignites.

Luke, a pastor, encourages Emma to forgive, but her heart will not yield. When she sees the same poisonous emotions in Harley, Emma seeks advice from Minnie, her aged mentor and friend. Meanwhile, a young mother is made homeless by an apartment fire, and Emma opens her home again. One person and one prayer at a time, Emma discovers hope as she realizes there are many ways to build a family.

The Good Liar – A Weldon Novel

Former runway model Casey Bledsoe was raped by a powerful and influential man, which resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. Her biggest regret is allowing fear to influence her decision to give away her child and keep the whole thing a secret. Hope for healing begins when she receives a letter from her eighteen-year-old daughter days before Christmas.

Since the assault, fear of intimacy made the dream to marry and build a family seem impossible, but since she’s been dating Daniel, a policeman, Casey’s discovered trust and love—but she worries how such a noble man will react when he learns her secret. Only her best friend Emma knows of her chain of lies.

When Casey discovers there are other victims, she’s torn between stopping the man who haunts her nightmares and shielding her daughter from the stain of the father’s sin. Will she discover the courage to tell the truth and heal broken lives—or will she continue to be imprisoned by her lies?

What I'm Working On Now:

Welcome Home – A Weldon Novel

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