Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Books & Writing -- Welcome the Dynamic Duo, Sherrie Ashcraft & Christina Berry Tarabochia

Welcome! Welcome! 

I'm thrilled to have Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia here today! I've known this mother and daughter team for many years, and they are two terrific people. What a privilege to introduce them to you!

I've never done an interview with two people at one time, but I'll bet you have done a lot of duo interviews. This ought to be fun.

One thing I know about you two is that you know how to have fun. Just to give us a peek at the real Sherrie and Christina can you tell us about the most memorable moment you've faced together?

C: What HAVEN'T we faced together? 
S: We were missionaries to Nigeria, West Africa in Christina's younger years, which meant facing 
culture shock, many poisonous spiders 
and snakes, homeschooling,
and a witch doctor 
cursing us off a mountain
in the midst of Christina's 
seventh birthday party. This 
photo was taken just before
he showed up.

C: Since then, we've gone through Mom's depression, 2 1/2  months of my pregnancy bed rest with Mom as live-in help, my divorce, and my brother being convicted to years in prison for something he didn't do. 
S: Oh, and did we forget to mention that we shared a multi-generational house for five years?

Wow! You have experienced a lot together. Some of what you've been through would have shipwrecked another's faith, but you ladies are still rocking for Jesus. Amen to that!

I first met you both at an OCW Summer Writing Conference . . . years ago. We sat down at a table together to talk about a book you were working on. You impressed me and so did your writing. All those years ago, you were working together on a book. Is that the new book that's just released?

C: Yes, Bonnie, this is the book we first showed you over a decade ago around that table. But at the same time, it's NOT the same book! The backbone of On the Threshold remains, but the story line has been fleshed out and written in a completely different way during those ensuing years. 
S: We kept going to conferences and learning how to be better writers, then coming home and applying what we learned. By the way, your encouragement about our enthusiasm during that meeting pushed us to keep that energy up at every meeting thereafter.  J

How good to know that I could be an encouragement. I had so much fun talking with you.

Can you tell us about the book and how you came to write it?

S: Once we decided to write a book together, we knew immediately that we wanted to show various sides of a mother-daughter relationship, as well as tackle a subject not many Christian books cover in a realistic fashion--depression. 

Don't worry, as it's an uplifting book and has humor scattered throughout, but we wanted to spotlight a tough subject. Over the years, we created three strong characters: a mother, an adult daughter, and an oh-so-likeable cop. We each wrote each point of view and kept our theme verse in mind. 2 Peter 1:19b ". . . as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." Yes, we took our characters into a dark place, but we also get to show the glory of God shining in their hearts. Eventually, that is. 

This definitely sounds like something I'd like to read.

Suzanne--a mother with a long-held secret. Tony--a police officer with 
something to prove. Beth--a daughter with a storybook future. 
When all they love is lost, what's worth living for?

Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband's love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.

Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne's facade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God's grace in their lives?

Sounds wonderful! As soon as I finish here I'm going to download one onto my Kindle!

Read to the bottom of this post to find out how you can 
win a copy of On the Threshold!

How did you become a writing duo?

S: Since we share one brain but were separated at birth, it's been pretty easy to write together! Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago I said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month I would make the 250-mile drive to Christina's house and we'd work on it in person. 

I'm so glad you're such a good team . . . er, I mean that you share a brain. Yep. That's what I mean.

You two have a fabulous mother/daughter relationship, but even in the best of circumstances mothers and daughters don't always agree. When you're working on a project together how do you handle differences in style and focus?

C: We agreed from the get-go that both of us needed to be proud of every single word of every single line in the book. In fact, we didn't even need a reason not to like it. If it didn't feel right, it was out of there! One advantage about co-writing was that one of us would do a chapter and give it to the other for editing. We split the word count evenly and gave each other doable deadlines. This process blended our styles, which are very similar anyway. By the end, we honestly couldn't remember who wrote some of the chapters.

What a good workable plan and so organized. I'm in awe. And I love the commitment to excellence.

I've had the privilege of attending a retreat with both of you as speakers. You guys are terrific. Our time with you was full of fun and inspiration. Do you speak often and what kind of topics do you like to share? Are you available to speak and how can you be contacted?

S: As the Women's Ministry Director at my church, I have the joy of teaching two weekly Bible studies, as well as speaking at women's events and retreats.
C: As the mother of five, I don't have as much freedom at this stage of my life, but both of us love to speak together as much as possible.
S: The two of us recently led a retreat called Doing the Impossible, based on the book of Nehemiah. We also did one on Taming Your Emotions for your church, Bonnie. We've shared on Following Your Dreams as a day event. Plus, I've led retreats having to do with the Christian view of sex (just call me Dr. Ruth of the Bible!) and on how to blend the practical and spiritual parts of a woman's life.
C: My favorite talk I have is the one I gave this February for the first time: Who's Your Daddy--Finding Your Way to a Father's Love.  it felt as if every single experience I've had in my life prepared me for that topic.

Drop an email to either sherrieashcraft@ashberrylane.net or christina@ashberrylane.net and we can talk details if you're interested in having us speak.

I'd love to hear a little about your individual lives. I know you are both busy women. What have you been up to? Are you working on a new project?

S: I'm the grandma of eight, and even a great grandma of one, and they all live within an hour of me. In the  middle of June our granddaughter and her toddler will be moving in upstairs while she
goes to Pacific University, so we'll be multi-generational once again! My parents live nearby, so there's always a lot of family time, which makes me feel rich beyond imagination. Being able to be involved in the lives of the women in my church as the Women's Ministry Director simply adds to my sense of fulfillment.
C: Two years ago, I remarried. My husband and I blended a family of five kids and one cat. Needless to say, we don't have many uninteresting days. I met sweet Dave on eharmony--he was matched to me within five minutes, and it was deep admiration at first "site" as we already knew a LOT about each other from our emails and questionnaires. Occasionally I still get to talk to book clubs (by phone or in person) after they read my award-winning debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, but most of my time is spent freelance editing, which I love.
S: New project? Well, we have plans for a sequel or two to On the Threshold if it does well. This story begs for more to be told. And Christina always has scenes for half a dozen books running around in her head!

Where can you be reached online?

You can sign up for our infrequent, Humorous Newsletter, where we take the infrequent part seriously, but the humor not so much! Head over to www.ashberrylane.net to do that. Not only will that keep you informed about our latest writing ventures and the release date of our print version of On the Threshold, but it will also be a way for you to enter a fun contest we've got going on.

Basically, anyone who posts about, buys, reads, or reviews the book will be entered proportionally to win a Kindle loaded with both books, On the Threshold and The Familiar Stranger AND 1,000 customer-designed business cards from Tekieme Studios. All the details are here http://christinaberry.net/christinas-blog/blogger/.


Sherrie and Christina are offering a free copy
of their new book On the Threshold to the winner of 
this week's drawing!

All you have to do is leave a comment along 
with your email address and I'll draw for
the winner one week from today!


  1. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Thank you for introducing me to these new to me Authors. Who knew the PNW had so many authors! I will go over to their site and check it out!

  2. Anonymous7:52 AM

    Wow, so admire both of their faiths. Most would come unglued under all those experiences. Thanks be to God that there are those of you who stand strong in Him, it inspires others to go on. Would love to read your story. juanitawickey@gmail.com
    Thank you.

  3. One of the things I love about Sherrie and Christina is their transparency. They've taken the risk of revealing the dark things in their lives in order to help others. We need more people like this in the world.

    Thanks, you guys.

  4. Thank you so much for hosting us, Bonnie! And what good timing as we JUST found out that On the Threshold is available in paperback on Amazon as of this morning. :)

    MB, I know! It's the literary hot spot of the US, I'm pretty sure.

    Juanita, without our ever-loving Father, we would have crumbled. SO glad we can share what He's done in our lives.

  5. A wonderful interview with two of my favorite ladies. I remember meeting Sherrie & Christina at, what I think, was their very first OCW One Day Conference. So thankful the Lord placed us at the same table. What a blessing to see this book come full circle.


  6. Anonymous6:46 PM

    What a wonderful interview with two very special ladies. I would love to win a copy of their book. Thanks for introducing them and the give-away.

    Ann Ellison

  7. Anonymous12:14 AM

    Bonnie, this was very interesting. I don't see how it can be easy for two people to write in the same story, but know others do this too. I would love to read their book. Thanks for this chance.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com