On Monday, I uncovered a drug ring in South Minneapolis. On Tuesday, I spotted a felony theft at a country club in Edina. On Wednesday, I overheard plans for industrial espionage while staking out the back room of a workshop in St. Paul.
On Thursday, my daughter blew all my cases out of the water . . .
With these first lines from Symphony of Secrets, author Sharon Hinck ushers us into the slightly-zany mind of single mom and talented flutist, Amy Johnson. As a crime novel buff, Amy is always on the lookout for a real-life mystery to solve, yet she can’t seem to follow the clues that lead to understanding her daughter’s heart—much less, her own.
Amy is flawed and funny and filled with an overabundance of imagination. She’s a main character who works her way into your heart until you’re ready to follow her into any fictional situation. I found myself rejoicing to see her win a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony (which brings her to the attention of the handsome conductor) and empathizing with the self-doubts that swamp her as she pursues her dream.
When she attempts to discover who is sabotaging the symphony and steps out of her comfort zone to connect with the non-musical mothers of the cheerleading squad, some of her antics made me laugh out loud.
But, for me, her bravest moments come when she faces her past, acknowledges the pain she has caused, and finds a way to move forward in love.
If you’ve ever yearned for a dream, loved someone enough to sacrifice for them, stumbled a time or two on the path of life, or experienced blessings in unexpected ways, you’ll be charmed by this book.
And here’s some advice for other aspiring writers out there: read this book!
In a class Sharon Hinck recently taught for American Fiction Christian Writers, she emphasized that “one of the keys to writing was to help your reader build a relationship with the characters.”
Since Sharon demonstrates this so successfully with the creation of Amy Johnson, this story is a great study in character development. (After all, Sharon was named “Writer of the Year” at the 2007 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.)
Madeleine L’Engle once cautioned writers, “Your point of view as a human being is going to come over in your writing whether you know it or not. There’s no way you can hide it. And that’s a very scary thing, particularly true, oddly enough, in fiction. Story is revelatory.”
Sharon, too, takes her responsibility as an author seriously and shared her thoughts in our lessons:
“I think it’s appropriate to approach our story telling with a little healthy fear and trembling. When someone is willing to spend several hours in your created world, with your created characters, absorbing your world-view, you have an opportunity to influence for good or bad.
Therefore, be saturated with the Word. We work with words, but we never exhaust our need to be IN the Word—taught, fed, and shaped by the Bible.”
To learn more about Sharon and her other books, visit her website. The sidebar section labeled Encouragement links to some meaningful reads, sure to touch your heart.
Book Giveaway: Let me share this sweet story with one of you.
I made the mistake of starting Sharon’s book during a school week, and you can see by my
photos that I ended up reading when I should have been working. My copy of the book shows some outer wear from having been dragged around with me and handled by my curious students, but the pages are pristine. So if you’re the type of person who doesn’t judge a book by its cover, this is the giveaway for you!
To win my somewhat used copy of this book, you must be a subscriber or GFC follower. Then simply leave a comment below to let me know you’d like to be included in the drawing. Please include your email address. (Remember to write it like this jenniebee [at] gmail [dot] com.) I’ll run the giveaway until next Friday, October 15.