Sidney W. Frost is a Stephen Leader, a Stephen Minister, and a member of his church choir at First United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Texas. He has served on the session at a Presbyterian church, and has been on the vestry at Episcopal churches.
While singing with the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus, he was in 42 productions. He and his wife, Celeste, sing with the San Gabriel Chorale and have been in several Berkshire Festivals.
- He is an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College where he teaches computer courses. He received the adjunct teaching excellence award in 2005.
- While attending the University of Texas in the 1960’s he worked part-time at the Austin Public Library driving a bookmobile after completing service in the U.S. Marines.
- He is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Writers League of Texas, and the San Gabriel Writers’ League.
- He has a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Long Beach.
- Awards for Where Love Once Lived include First Place — 2007 SouthWest Writers Contest in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category, First Place — 2007 Writers’ League of Texas Novel Manuscript Contest, Romance Category, Third Place — Fourteenth Annual Lone Star Writing Competition, Northwest Houston Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Inspirational Romance Category and Finalist — 2006 Yosemite Writers Contest Novel Category
When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve been writing for so long, I’m not sure when the desire became so strong for me that it became something I had to do. Perhaps journaling would have been enough, but instead, I wrote for publication whenever I could. My bosses recognized my writing talent and often assigned me to do documentation of computer projects when needed. Once, I wrote an college application letter for the daughter of the company president. I’m not proud of doing it, but she is a lawyer now.
Early on in my life, I found it easier to use written communication than oral communication. I had a knack for persuasive writing and did some advertising work. But, deep down, I wanted to write a novel. I tried several times over the years, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I actually started one in earnest.
What is the greatest challenge you face?
My greatest writing challenge is proper grammar. I have two college degrees. One in mathematics and one in computer science. Even so, my knowledge of grammar is more from reading than formal studies. In writing, I tend to mess up tense repeatedly, and I never know where to put a comma. I hire the best editor I can find and then try not to make any last minute changes.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I worked as a bookmobile driver in the 1960s part-time while I was a student at the University of Texas. There was a librarian who was what you might call a real character. She was funny and she didn’t follow the rules. She was a sloppy dresser and didn’t care much about her hair looked like. I think the administration put her on the bookmobile just to get her out of the library. She was also tough on the drivers at times and none of the other drivers wanted to be assigned with her.
Pretty soon, I was the only one who went with her. I saw a part of her the others missed. I saw how she treated the patrons along the route. She knew everyone by name and she asked each one how they were. She spotted their problems and looked for ways to solve them.
I made notes at the time. This basic true-life story was the basis for Where Love Once Lived, even though the librarian was eventually relegated to a supporting character.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I would like readers take away several things from my book. First, with God’s help, it is never too late to find true happiness. Second, happiness is only possible when you find God first. Third, helping others is a reward in itself. Fourth, for true equality of the races, we must treat everyone the same.
How do you weave your faith into the story?
The story begins thirty years after Brian and Karen break up. We learn that after they split, she turns closer to God and he turns away completely. Brian comes back home, back where he once felt love and tries to win Karen back. Everything he does fails until Liz the Librarian and George, the seventy-eight year old father of his best friend start praying for him. Eventually, Brian learns that only with God back in his life is he able to achieve his goals.
If you self-pubbed, what led you to go independent?
Where Love Once Lived won two manuscript contests and placed in two others. At each event I was given an opportunity to talk to agents and editors. Nothing developed from these meetings. My writing instructor told me about White Rose Publishing and I worked with them for over a year. I cut about a third of the book to make it more acceptable to them. But, finally, I could cut no more. I felt they were my best bet at the time, so with the rejection, I decided to self-publish.
How long did it take you to write your manuscript?
For this book, it took six years from start to publication. However, I was learning as I went. I took a number of online classes during that time. My second book was completed in less than a year. The Vengeance Squad, complete but not ready to be sold, is a Christian mystery.
Tell us a little about your editing process?
I write fast based on a rough outline. I use first initial only for character names and don’t worry about quotations. When I finish a scene, I clean it up, often editing as I go. Once I think I’m through with the book, I set it aside for at least a month and then go back through it from start to finish. I eventually stop and say it is done even though I think I could edit it forever. It is at this point I turn it over to a professional copyeditor.
What genres do you write in?
Where Love Once Lived is a Christian coming of age novel, but, since no one uses that genre, I call it a romance. The Vengeance Squad is a Christian Mystery/Thriller.
What types of books do you read?
I like many types of books, but I read more Christian fiction than anything else. I’m in a neighborhood book club and we read both fiction and nonfiction. I also review books for two Christian book publishers.
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