Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

Multicultural Fiction

Faith and Love Resolution

An Interview with Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Sherryle Kiser JacksonIt’s another New Year. Most of us want to start the year by leaving some of our bad habits behind: weight loss, money management, finding balance, or having better relationships with our loved ones. This month we chatted with Christian fiction author Sherryle Kiser Jackson about her novel Taylor Made.

This book is a great novel for Christian readers contemplating change for the new year, especially with finances. It’s also a great cautionary tale for Christians.

Tell us in fewer than fourteen words what the story is about.

A young couple learns to love and heal their past through the mirror of marriage.

Why is Taylor Made a great novel to start the New Year?

Taylor Made would be an excellent read to start the year because it’s about a young couple who must come to terms with some unresolved issues in their past to save their marriage. The first of the year tends to be when we take a hard look at ourselves and what we’d like to do better, whether changing old habits or enhancing relationships. My novel gives insights into modern, high-maintenance women and the men who love them. Pamela “Pill” Taylor presents herself as shallow and superficial, but she shows layers that get painfully close to our own lives. You’ll shake your head at Pill’s predicaments and learn from her mistakes.

Is Pill based on someone you know? If yes, why did you think she was perfect for this novel? If not, whom does Pill represent?

Don’t we all have some Pill in us, or better stated, aren’t we a bit of a Pill sometimes? Literally, I’ve had friends finish the book and ask me, “Am I Pill?” I wanted her to be universal, flaws and all. I believe a lot of us are one daily stressor away from coping or escaping life with a full-fledged addiction. Hers just happens to be shopping. As you read the novel, you find she’s covering up huge secrets under her fly façade. I am proud that Pill’s character resonates with so many people, because while I was writing it, I didn’t think Pill had many redeeming qualities until I got into her psychology.

Why is Pill’s story relevant for today’s Christian woman?

I love to write about two things: burgeoning love and burgeoning faith. Pill lives on the extremes. She’s a young married woman living like she’s single (with no regard to her husband’s feelings or the family budget). Her loving husband provides for her, but she is not content. She’s a commercially successful hairdresser and fashionestta, but she often lives by the survival codes of her old neighborhood. To paraphrase the Bible, we Christians should not try to conform to the world or the world’s standards, but be transformed. Pill straddles the fence in many ways. I think women can learn from her transformation as a babe in Christ and new wife to a faithful Christian woman that God will show her true contentment.

Then there is the diva aspect. Women have a special place in the kingdom. Femininity is God’s design. We put a big emphasis on beauty and fashion. We can see that not only with my character Pill but also with the First Lady of Corey and Pill’s church home, First Lady Rawls. Sometimes we women can get carried away and make our adornments our idols. First Lady Rawls, a recurring character in two of my other novels, is the first to admit she battles a shopping addiction. I think one of Pill’s older patrons says it best: “Our need to beautify ourselves should be about order and not about vanity.”

What advice would you give to married couples who are in a situation similar to Pill and Corey’s?

Marriage is a ministry. A couple can get through a lot of tough times if the pair could just buy into that notion. We throw out the word ministry so much that it loses its relevancy, but I see it as my way of serving Christ. I cannot serve Christ if I am neglecting my spouse. Like I say in my acknowledgements, it

requires heart service and not lip service. Part of the novel is a cautionary tale against lack of communication and neglect in the marriage that can damage the fabric of a marriage. Once that happens, I believe the couple needs a common desire to make their marriage work and a whole lot of faith. A couple should seek counseling from a professional, like my characters did.

Have you attended a Marriage Care Class at church? Why is it helpful? What did you learn that you didn’t know before?

I had about six sessions of marriage counseling. At our church we have monthly married couple’s ministry activities, retreats, and Bible study that my husband and I often support. I remember my pastor said that half of the problems in a marriage can be averted Taylor Madeif we treat our spouses with the common courtesy we give a stranger, office mate, or an acquaintance. We’re at the very minimum courteous. We respect them enough to hear them out and give them their space. We picked our spouses and declared to everyone that this person is extra special in our lives, but we don’t greet them when they come in the door. Corey and Pill got into a tit for tat rut very quickly because they forgot their vows, or never understood them to begin with. They didn’t realize that the vow that they made to each other was also made to God and that it came with an obligation. Love is active. Some other Christian reference books I used for reference were The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and The Language of Sex by Dr. Gary Smalley and Mr. Ted Cunningham, which provide a formulaic approach to successful relationships. I suggest these references for any couple.

What is the spiritual takeaway from this novel?

Nothing is too hard for God! Not even a relationship that seems to be coding or in need of life support. How you treat people and, in the case of my novel, handle fiscal responsibilities have a direct correlation to your spiritual life. Give it all to God, ask Him to help you, and be prepared for Him to show you yourself in the process.

What’s your novel writing process?

Write when I can! I literally drive myself nuts trying to find blocks of time to write, but I do it daily. I outline my novel for the purpose of turning in a book proposal to my editor, which has proven helpful. I open a blank document and begin plugging away. I pretty much draft in order, but I find myself embedding lines, whole scenes, or bits of research in the middle of the manuscript to be used or expanded later. Music and visualization are as much a part of the process as writing dialogue and narration. I usually create a music playlist of songs whose lyrics remind me of my characters. Basically, I obsess over the possibility of my characters’ lives until it is done.

What’s next?

I am in the thick of my fifth novel, The Land of Promiscuity. I sent in a proposal and received my contract that should cover this book and its sequel. I am so far gone with these characters, uber-obsessed and excited about the story they will ultimately tell.

What would you like Christian Fiction Online Magazine readers to know that I haven’t asked you?

Every one of my novels have a spiritual takeaway and ministry activity to hopefully bring people closer to God. It’s nothing I set out to do, but it helps me take my characters on a spiritual journey and come out a less-flawed Christian. I’ll let you find the heart service journal idea embedded in Taylor Made. While you are searching for that, you can find me online at, on Facebook, or e-mail at