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Interview: Sherree Funk, Author of Peter: Rock Star of Galilee

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Sherree Funk is an author and is extremely passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of God’s word. Her latest release is Peter: Rock Star from Galilee. To find out more about her and her work visit http://www.servingonelord.com.

Have you ever belonged to any writing organizations? If so, have they helped you with your work?

I have been a part of St. David’s Christian Writer’s Association and have learned a lot from attending its writing conferences. Another wonderful conference is the Write to Publish conference, directed by Lin Johnson. Some excellent feedback from professional friends has helped my writing greatly.

Do you weigh the reaction of your audience when you are writing and change anything because of it?

Well, I always write as if I am talking to a young teen. As I lead studies with young people, I pay attention to what they like and what confuses them. I then use that to improve the study in order to have the most impact. If I read over a section and realize my audience would be bored, I start over, keeping it simple and direct.

What types of books do you read and how have they influenced your writing?

I love good books about dynamic characters. I love a good novel like say, The Help, in which the characters compel you to care about them. I love anything by Peter Mayle or Rebecca Wells because the characters are so alive. But I also love good biographies by David McCullough – John Adams is one. Last year’s excellent biography by Eric Metaxas piqued my interest in Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I think all these books influence my writing about Biblical characters as I seek to make the characters come alive for young teens. When we can relate to the characters, we are more likely to apply the lessons God has for us.

Who are some authors you don’t feel get the recognition they deserve?

One of my favorite writers now is Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. Her writing is so fresh and relatable. I’m sure her career is just beginning to unfold.

How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?

I have only been writing for publication for about four years. I had been teaching Junior High Sunday School for a while, when a few students wanted a Bible study on Saturdays. But I struggled to find good study materials. Most were either too childish or too adult. So while working on my own Beth Moore study guide homework, I realized how much I enjoyed her person-to-person writing style, and felt that I could use the same style with a study for young teens. My first study was about Lydia whom Paul met in Philippi. I then wrote studies on Joshua and Ruth/Boaz. Peter is my fourth study for teens.

Are there any specific things in your past which influenced Peter: Rock Star from Galilee?

Peter has always been one of my favorite Bible characters. I can relate to his impulsiveness and enthusiasm. I can make big mistakes with plenty of flair, just like he did. I am prone to pride of accomplishment, just like Peter was. But I love how Peter got over himself and truly became the leader Jesus knew he could be. And I hope that God will use me in just a fraction of the ways he used Peter.

Have you ever met any famous authors? If so, how did you react? If not, who would you want to meet?

About a year ago I attended a lecture by Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence and The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism. It was interesting, though not surprising, how his presentation style matched so closely his writing style. He was very approachable and willing to sign any books for his fans.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love to play Words With Friends on my iPhone. I have a couple of friends who are so good, I just try to lose by a hundred points or less. Then I do win a few games from others. Talent? Not so sure.

Many writers draw inspiration from music. Do you listen to music when you write? What music inspired Peter: Rock Star from Galilee?

Music inspired the title, of course, in that Peter had something of a rock star personality. Each week of the study includes a playlist of songs, both contemporary and traditional, that complement the themes of the week. So music informs the Bible study and the study enhances listening to or singing the songs. All of us, but especially teens, are influenced by music. It is my hope that by linking music with Bible study students will more deeply assimilate the lessons from God’s Word.

What are three things that your fans would be surprised to find out about you?

  1. I have two degrees in geology and worked for a major oil company for eight years.
  2. I love tennis, and played on three USTA teams this year.  (Don’t ask about my win/loss record, though)
  3. Vagabond is my favorite ski run; it’s at Steamboat, Colorado. The view from the top is a wide open panorama of snow-covered peaks.
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About Tracee Gleichner

  • Thanks for this interview. I’ve read the book. It’s wonderful. I hope people check it out. I’ve suggested it to our youth minister.