Meet author Sherry Shindalar

Sherry loves to take her readers into the past. She is an avid student of the Civil War and the Old West. When she is not busy writing, she is an English professor working to pass on her love of writing to her students. Sherry is an award-winning writer: 2023 Genesis finalist, Maggie finalist, and Crown finalist. She currently resides in Minnesota with her husband of thirty-nine years.

What inspired you to write Texas Forsaken?

Twenty-five years ago, I read the real-life story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the most famous captive of the 19th century. The story haunted my heart for a couple of decades. I knew I had to do something about it. So I created a character who was similar to Cynthia. Fingers ready at the keyboard, I started at the moment of crisis and wrote a different trajectory. I couldn’t heal Cynthia’s heart, but I could give my character, Eyes-Like-Sky a nuanced happy-ever-after. Eyes-Like-Sky’s is not a seamless, sparkly everything worked out as she originally hoped. Instead, it is the joy born of spring and sunrises after a long dark winter, all the more appreciated for having gone through the darkness. However, it was my reading Lori Benton’s Mountain Laurel that sparked my decision to write the book at this point in time. Lori’s novel so impacted my heart that I wanted to write a book that would capture my reader’s emotions and impact them as her book had.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Seven years ago, Maggie Logan (Eyes-Like-Sky) lost everything she knew when a raid on a wagon train tore her from her family. As the memories of her past faded to nothing more than vague shadows, Maggie adapted—marrying a Comanche warrior, having a baby, and rebuilding her life. But in one terrible battle, the U.S. Cavalry destroys that life, and she is taken captive again, this time by those who call themselves her people. Forced into a world she wants nothing to do with, Eyes-Like-Sky’s only hope of protecting her child may be an engagement to the man who killed her husband. Enrolled in West Point to escape his overbearing father, Captain Garret Ramsey has graduated and finds himself assigned to the Texas frontier, witnessing the brutal Indian War in which both sides commit atrocities. Plagued by guilt for his own role, Garret seeks redemption by taking responsibility for the woman he widowed and her baby. Though he is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them, is he willing to risk everything for a woman whose heart is buried in a grave? Or is there hope she might heal to love once more?

What genre do you focus on?

I write Christian historical romance because I want to be able to share my faith in my writing, I am captivated by history, and I love romance.

Why do you write?

I believe this is God’s calling on my life.  I’ve been making up stories in my head since I was nine years old. Five years ago, God worked in my heart to reawaken my love for writing. It’s as if He said, “Now, is the time. Go do it.” I believe that fiction can penetrate and touch hearts in ways and depths that nonfiction cannot reach.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My heroine is Eyes-Like-Sky. Her name was Miss Maggie Logan before she was kidnapped by the Comanche at age fourteen. She has adapted and married a Comanche warrior by the time the story starts. The name just came to me. I wanted a unique name that made her stand out. Also, it matches the color of her eyes. She’s brave, determined, and feisty, and she will do almost anything to protect the ones she loves.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I’m a full-time English professor at a small Christian college, so my writing time is in the evenings and on the weekends. I neglect my house, social engagements, TV, and more. I treat my writing as a second full-time job. And I love the summers! Once graduation is over, and I’ve finished grading all of those freshman essays, I write several hours every day, except for when my husband and I are traveling to visit family.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part is working alone for years, pouring your heart into your work, and not knowing if it will ever be published or how it will be received by readers. The Lord has blessed me with a writing critique group these last several years. I no longer feel as if I’m on this journey alone. Every week, I submit a scene or chapter to my group and receive their feedback. I offer feedback on their submissions, as well.  In addition, this provides me with a deadline. If I don’t turn in my 2,500 to 3,500 words by Sunday night, my partners will know. I connected with this group through ACFW. ACFW has made a world of difference in my writing.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

The best part is those hours and days when the characters come alive in my head. They take over the story and fight and love like real people. During those times, I can feel their hurt, their joy, and everything in between. The next best part is hearing from my readers about how they got all caught up in the characters or that the story touched their or kept them up at night.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was nine years old.  I used to swing on my swing set for hours making up stories in my head. I started off with creating new episodes of Star Trek, and then I moved on to romantic adventures. When I was in my twenties, I got an idea for a book after visiting a historical house in the Shenandoah Valley. Ten years later, I started writing the book. However, when it didn’t earn a contract right away, I put it in a box under my dresser and went back to college and graduate school. Five years ago, the Lord worked in my heart, and I fell in love with writing all over again. That next month, I wrote 50,000 words. In the years that followed, I rewrote my first book twice, and then I wrote Texas Forsaken. The publication of Texas Forsaken is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of writing Book Two in the Lone Star Redemption Series. The second book, Texas Divided, will be set in 1863-1864 Texas.  I’m writing a total of three books set in Texas in the 1860’s. Eventually, I plan to revise and publish my first book, Shenandoah’s Daughter, set in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. However, my heart is in Texas for now.


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