For January 2024 it is Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott.
After 35 years of educating students in several private schools in Southern California, Dr. Sharon N. Elliott put down her last dry erase marker and officially retired. The Compton native and BIOLA graduate, however, had no plans on settling down. Having started 4 companies which she worked on the side while she taught, in 2020, Sharon pursued another passion full-time and founded AuthorizeMe® Literary Agency, which as of date represents more than 50 clients across the country.
Sharon, who is author of nearly 20 books, has steadily climbed the ladder of success. In the 2021 edition of Publishers Weekly magazine, the devoted Christian made the Top 100 Literary Agents list, ranking as high as No. #8. If that’s not impressive, her most recent project, Didn’t See That Coming: When How They’re Living Not How You Raised Them, won the 2023 Christian Book Market Book of the Year award. Furthermore, Sharon’s second release from her children’s series, Mommy Cried This Morning, won Honorable Mention in the 2023 AWSA Golden Scrolls Awards (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association).
Is there any need to further explain why this amazing woman is SFSF POTM?!
LATIF TORRES-ROBINSON GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH DR. SHARON N. ELLIOTT
~ 1 ~
LATIF: You’re looking great! How are you doing?
SHARON: I’m doing great, thanks for asking.
~ 2 ~
LATIF: First of all, thank you for granting me this interview. You’re a busy woman, so I really appreciate your time.
SHARON: It’s really a blessing to think someone is interested in me, my business, and my books. Thank you for the invitation.
~ 3 ~
LATIF: De Nada! Please get comfortable, sit back and relax. Due to my current circumstances, I can’t get you a glass of water or refreshments; however, thank God for Door Dash. Are you hungry?
SHARON: I am hungry! I’ll get me some lunch after we’re through here!
~ 4 ~
LATIF: Let’s dive right on in and talk about your recent accomplishments. Your latest publication, Didn’t See That Coming: When How They’re Living Not How You Raised Them, won Christian Book Market Book of the Year. Did you see that coming?
SHARON: LOL, I totally did not see that coming. In fact, the way the awards were given, I was sure my book had lost. All the categories were awarded with Honorable Mention, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place plaques given out. When my book wasn’t called in its category, I was disappointed and I thought about the Hollywood stars whose movies lost. I was gearing up to tell people, “it was an honor just to be nominated.” Then suddenly, one more category was announced and that was Book of the Year for all categories. And that’s the award my book won. I was floored! I’m so grateful.
~ 5 ~
LATIF: Narrated from the perspective of a writer, mother, educator, and daughter, along with Biblical wisdom, Didn’t See That Coming: When How They’re Livings Not How You Raised Them has to be a powerful book. What is something a parent who disapproves of their child’s lifestyle can learn from your book?
SHARON: I want parents to learn to apply Care-frontation. Parents can love their adult children unconditionally and still disapprove of some of the things they do. Parents can focus on and celebrate all the other wonderful things about their children while still being honest about that with which they disagree. Stop talking and pray. God loves their kids even more than they do. Only God can deliver their adult children from whatever has them bound.
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LATIF: I hope you don’t mind me getting personal for a moment. You endured much pain last year, in which you suffered a devastating loss to your everyday life. However, you managed to shine and thrive through the darkness. Your relationship with God has to be solid faith in order to prevail through such adversity. How inspiring! What scriptures do you follow?
SHARON: Asking me what scriptures I follow is like asking me whether I like inhaling or exhaling better. I love all of the Bible, even the scriptures that are hard to obey. However, when my husband James died in May, I had to hold on to scriptures that could only be true if Christians die. People around the world had been praying for us for James’ physical healing. God had to let me know that James was indeed going to be healed, but not physically. James’ body didn’t get better, so he had to leave it. James is 100% healed now, he’s just free of the body that kept him restricted to this earth. See ll Corinthians 5:8 for example: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Also see l Corinthians 15:54 which says, “So when this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'” I miss my husband tremendously, but since God has left me here, I have to keep going and doing what He has purposed for me to do, and that’s writing and helping other people get their books published.
~ 7 ~
LATIF: I’ve watched you climb from the bottom to the top as a literary agent. In December 2020, I signed with your agency and I was one of 7 of your first clients. One year later, you were ranked in five categories in “Publishers Weekly Magazine Top 100 Literary Agents” list. That’s major stuff! Is that what led to you signing and adding 43 authors to your paramount representation?
SHARON: Actually, I believe God has sent people to me. I meet folks at conferences who are interested in writing books. They share their publishing dreams with me and I believe I’ve been gifted with a good sense of what messages would resonate with readers. Then I sign those writers and get busy moving them into position to be seen by publishers.
~ 8 ~
LATIF: You’ve been making noise in the parent genre, and now in the children’s arena. The second story of your 7-book series, Mommy Cried This Morning, won Honorable Mention by AWSA. Has this increased your hope of winning a children’s award?
SHARON: Yes, that first award raised my hopes and validated my own belief in my work.
~ 9 ~
LATIF: Over a year ago, you were named Acquisitions Editor at a new publishing company called Little Blessings Press. What’s it like conducting business on the opposite side of the table?
SHARON: Honestly, I haven’t been able to do too much yet because of taking care of my husband and then handling all of the paperwork involved when someone passes away. Still, two children’s series from my authors were picked up by Little Blessings Press over the past year. I expect 2024 to be even more fruitful.
~ 10 ~
LATIF: How have you handled all of your success?
SHARON: I’m excited about my success, but frankly, Latif, this business moves one day at a time and it’s a lot to keep up with. Handling success as an entrepreneur takes a lot of work. I am so busy, I’m just trying to keep my head above water. There are a lot of people depending on me. Having a “new normal” thrust upon me has been quite unsettling, so I’m moving forward while I’m establishing and getting used to a new personal schedule.
~ 11 ~
LATIF: What new and/or upcoming books from your clients do you recommend?
SHARON: Oh my goodness. Several great new books are not ready to be announced yet because they are still going through the process at their respective publishing houses. However, the newest release is Unfractured by Skot Welch will help Black people and White people expose, deal with, and rectify their racially awkward feelings towards each other so they can worship together. Then the newest children’s title is I Hate Patience by Dawn De Wulf, the first in her series teaching about the fruit of the spirit. It debuted as a top seller on Amazon.
~ 12 ~
LATIF: What about you? What’s next?
SHARON: I’m working on three narrative Bible studies: #1 – From Mite to Might: Minding and Mining the Value of Widows; #2 – Next: The Power of Second Place; and #3 – Get Jesus to Stop: How to Get God’s Attention Whenever You Need Him. I’m also working on the rest of my children’s books in my series.
~ 13 ~
LATIF: What advice would you offer a person who has been working hard at their goals for years, but nothing seems to be going in his/her favor?
SHARON: Be sure your goals are God’s goals for you. Things might not be going in your favor because you’re seeking something for yourself that God doesn’t want for you. It could be that the timing is not right and you need more prayer and preparation. But be assured: anything God has for you is for you. As you move with His guidance, you’ll see His favor.
~ 14 ~
LATIF: Well its been a pleasure. Congratulations on all of your success. Despite many challenges, you found a way to overcome and you prevailed. For as long as you exemplify resilience, perseverance, and a child of God, you’ll always come out on top. You’re an amazing woman, Sharon. We’re going to have to do this again because this was fun. I thank you so much for your time. I wish you more success and the very best. And remember, Stay Focused, Stay Free!
SHARON: Thank you, Latif. I appreciate you!
LATIF: Otra vez, de nada. Adiós mi amiga!