CELEBRITY AUTHOR                                                                                


Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Red Rose tea and we’ll get started. I have an assortment of finger sandwiches, but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to make the peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But I do have your Peanut Butter and Banana pie for dessert. I’ve included your recipe at the end of the interview. Thanks for sending it!

Q  Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A  I was born in sultry South Carolina and raised in sunny Southern California.  Growing up, I divided my summers between Huntington Beach, California and Surfside, South Carolina, so I’ve always considered myself a beach gal.  I was living the good life in Huntington Beach with my husband of twenty-four years when, six years ago, an inner desire surfaced to return to my southern roots.   Now, instead of waking up to palm trees and the Pacific Ocean, here we are, waking up to pine trees and a pond in our back yard in Lexington, South Carolina.  Besides my children, a few accomplishments I’m proud of is finishing a half marathon and living to tell about it—that small victory gave me the confidence that I could accomplish anything; receiving a degree in theology when I was sixty; and publishing my debut novel, Lady and the Sea, at sixty-five, proving that it’s never too late to fulfill another dream.

Q  Are you a traditionally published or indie author?

A  After much research and prayer, I indie-published because it empowers me to have more control of my book.  Instead of waiting months (or years) for my book to be accepted, then waiting one (or two) more years for publishing, Lady and the Sea was published in seven months.  The whole process is on my time schedule—including the marketing—which is a plus for me since I find myself moving a bit slower at sixty-six.

Q  What are your hobbies?

A  I love to travel—by boat, plane, train, car, bike—as long as I’m moving.  Since turning forty, I have traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden for a year while attending Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, trekking through Israel, and volunteering on a World War II ship that allowed me to sail the seven seas and a few oceans along the way.  Our last three-week trip took us to Sweden and Istanbul.  Other hobbies:  reading, writing, watching my favorite movies over and over, spending time with family and friends, and drinking lots of coffee.

Q  Tell us about your current book, Lady and the Sea.  What was your inspiration?

After volunteering fourteen months on the World War II vessel MS Restoration in 1994-95, I knew I had to tell the story of this miracle ship—her story was my inspiration.  When the government put the lock-knot ship in mothballs after the war, she thought her glory days were over, until forty years later when a retired Alaskan sea captain bought her, then gave her to a church in Sweden to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel.  God saved the best until last for the old gal, showing the reader that the best is yet to come for us 40+ gals and guys.

Rosie Atkisson is the main character in Lady and the Sea, a novel based on a true story.  After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California.  But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration.  A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia, to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life?  In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie says yes to that inner Voice that is saying GO!

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship—from a hurricane to symptoms of a heart attack, from miracles to the M word – menopause – and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor—Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.

Q  How did you become a writer?  When did you start?

A  In sixth grade when my mother gave me a diary for Christmas.  I’ve been writing ever since.

Q  How long did it take to finish your first book?

A  After finishing a half marathon some twenty years ago I was inspired to write my first book which took five months to finish on my Smith-Corona typewriter.  I dropped the phone when Zondervan called to announce that they were considering publishing Lady on the Run, a story that parallels running your spiritual race with your physical race.  A week later I dropped a few tears when they called to inform me they had chosen a well-known author’s manuscript with a similar theme.  Due to several personal events, I had to shelve the manuscript, but now I’m dusting off Lady on the Run so she can run the race that is set before her.

Q  Where do you like to write?

A  In my cozy office on my iMac that my husband gave me, on the back porch overlooking the pond on hubby’s Book Air; in local coffee houses on my man’s iPad; on the west coast, on the east coast, and anywhere in between, on my little iPhone.  I guess you could say I live in an Apple orchard!

Q  Favorite author(s)?

A  Bodie Thoene is my all-time favorite because I love historical fiction, sprinkled with adventure and romance. I devoured the Covenant Chronicles series while I was a volunteer on the MS Restoration for fourteen months because the purpose of our journey was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. Her books gave me tremendous knowledge of Jewish events surrounding the holocaust.

Q  How many books have you written so far?  Do you plan to write more?

A  I have written three books.  Lady and the Sea was published September 2011; I am rewriting/editing Lady on the Run, and Victory Run (YA), and somewhere in between I will write a sequel to Lady and the Sea.

Would you share a link where we can purchase your books?,,

What about a link to your website?


Here’s the first chapter from Lady and the Sea

Chapter One ~ July 1995

Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the Haifa Harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel.  As two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.

The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”

Rosie grabbed the rail.  “Do they think we’re terrorists?”

Jesse touched her arm.  “Rosie, calm down.”

“Do they think we’re pirates?”

“Just calm down,” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.

“Will they make us jump overboard?  I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.

“Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”

Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who had brought her on this unpredictable journey.  Jesse’s right; what’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  She didn’t dare leave his side.

The ship, her fellow crewmembers, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination.  No more troubled waters.  No more hurricanes.  No more delays.  On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.

Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck.  “Isn’t this ironic?  We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”

“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.

Within seconds, they were dead in the water.

Rosie’s stomach churned.  She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip.  After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm.  She’d heard stories about people who had experienced close calls.  Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war.  “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” Talmage said.

Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.

Here is Sharon Leaf’s favorite dessert recipe:

Peanut Butter & Banana Pie       


1 ready-made piecrust (found in the frozen section)

5 large bananas (found in the produce section)

2 large jars of peanut butter—smooth or crunchy, depending on if you have dentures (found in aisle 6)

Smash bananas, then stir and smash in peanut butter; pour into pie shell; eat immediately before bananas turn brown—a good excuse to eat the whole pie in one sitting.

Serve with banana tea (slice half banana into your favorite tea).

All I can say is “YUM!!”

FYI: This recipe is also my favorite tea sandwich–just serve on crust-less bread!


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carole Brown
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 14:09:03

    Great interview. Interesting and inspiring how Sharon persevered in spite of everything! Love it.


  2. Nancy Jill Thames
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 14:20:05

    Thank you Carole. Sharon is an amazing lady, I agree! So glad you liked the interview. Have a lovely day!

    ~Nancy Jill
    “Queen of Afternoon Tea”


  3. Deborah H. Bateman
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 14:32:50

    Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for sharing it. The pie sounds good too. I love both bananas and peanut butter, but have never had them in a pie. Blessings, Deborah H. Bateman-Author


  4. Nancy Jill Thames
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 14:47:01

    Hi Deborah,

    I know. I’ve had peanut butter pie, but not with bananas! Looks rich, doesn’t it?
    Glad you enjoyed the interview with Sharon.

    ~Nancy Jill
    “Queen of Afternoon Tea”


  5. Roxie
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 19:18:19

    Another fab interview Sharon! Tea and pie, a perfect pastime 🙂
    Elvis would be proud to taste the dessert! Delightful site, Nancy Jill!


  6. Kim Blum-Hyclak
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 20:47:14

    Nice, Sharon! Lady on the Run sounds interesting – look forward to reading that one, too.


  7. sharon
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 21:16:56

    Kim, I’ve been so busy running around getting our new house in order that I haven’t written as much as I would like. Oh, it’s time for hubby to come home; gotta run! 🙂


  8. debbie Kreitzer
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 22:20:18

    Love your stories. Love your testamony. Love to write more, but I’m off to Marie Calendars, on a search for Banana Peanut Butter Pie.


  9. Brother John
    Jun 19, 2012 @ 17:32:29

    GOD Gave ME a wonderful Sister And the banana & Peanut butter Sandwiches are what we grew up on, and are still tasty today , LOVE U BROTHER JOHN


  10. sharon
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 19:14:53

    Aww, thanks Brother John. I’ll look forward to having a P&B sandwich when I visit you in Zion in a few months. *big hug*


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