“What’s Your Dream?” Nov. 10, 2020

“What’s Your Dream?” Nov. 10, 2020

For days now I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you something that I promised to tell you a long time ago, if it ever came to pass. Which, much to my surprise, it finally did.

All right, I’ll just say it: I finally published my novel.

Yes, that would be the novel that I’d been planning to write (off and on, though mostly off) for most of my adult life.

Occasionally, over the years, I would mention in a column that being married to a high school basketball coach with three active children and a full-time job left me little time to breathe, let alone to focus on finishing a novel I hadn’t even started.

Then I’d get a stack of mail from readers like you telling me: “Never give up!” “Follow that dream!” “Write that novel!”

Readers can be tough on a writer. If you’re one of the kind souls who sent me those notes, let me assure you, I am grateful. Encouragement is the oil that keeps the wheels of a dream turning. Some of us need it more than others. It didn’t give me more time for writing. But it gave me hope that someday, somehow that time would come.

Have you ever noticed how dreams often seem to come true at the end of a long hard road? Here’s the story of how I finally published my novel.

In 1998, my husband, the coach, lost a four-year, hard-fought battle with cancer. Our three children were in their early 20s. I was a reporter for a local newspaper and wrote a weekly syndicated column.

After he died, it took me a while to figure out who I was without him. My kids and I were close, but losing their dad drew us closer. I had also lost both of my parents, and had felt it draw me closer to my sister and brothers. I began to realize that while grief brings pain, it also brings gifts. I wanted to write about both.

Soon the story that I’d been writing in my head—about the bond between a woman and her grandchild—began writing itself in my heart, growing deeper and truer than anything I had imagined.

That fall, I rented a cabin on a mountain lake near where I was born, and spent four months writing like a house on fire. At the end of those four months, the story still wasn’t finished.

But neither was I. I took a break from working on the book to marry my former editor and we moved to Las Vegas, where he worked for a newspaper and I wrote columns.

Meanwhile, our kids (his two and my three) started getting married and having babies. Eight babies in nine years. So my husband retired and we moved back to California, to take on full-time careers as Nana and Papa.

My life was so full and so good I almost forgot about the novel. Then, out of nowhere, I got an email from Heather Lazare.

Long ago, when I was a reporter and Heather was a budding writer in sixth grade, her mother asked me to meet with her to talk about writing. So we met and talked, hugged each other and said goodbye.

Twenty-five years later, Heather emailed me to say she had grown up to be an editor at a publishing house in New York. She and her husband were starting a family and had moved back to California, where she was starting her own editing and publishing business.

So we met again to talk about writing and books and babies. And I hired her to edit my novel. Then I hired her as project manager to publish it. I wish I could hire her to run my life.

We all have a God-given ability to pull for one another, to bear each other’s burdens and rejoice in all the joys. I’m grateful to all of you who nagged me to finish my novel. Please don’t feel you need to read it. Unless, of course, you really want to.

What’s your dream? Share it with someone who will nag you to finish it. Nagging helps. But in the end, I think you will find, just as I did, it’s mostly up to you.

"The World and Then Some: A Novel" book cover.
“The World and Then Some: A Novel” by Sharon Randal is available on amazon.com.


  1. Michael Johnson says

    Sharon,I worked with you at the Herald. I was a district manager. I always looked forward to reading your column. I believe I met your husband on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. And you have a talented actor son. Happy for all your success. Don’t know if you’ll have any book signings but I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  2. Victoria A Bayne says

    Congratulations, Sharon!
    I have just discovered your good news!
    And I immediately ordered your novel from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN!
    My husband and I first read your column years ago in the Evansville Courier and Press. We enjoyed reading you so much and we would often read it aloud to each other. We were very perturbed when the newspaper dropped your column.
    Looking so forward to receiving The World and Then Some!
    I wish you continued success and happiness!

  3. Lynn Laseter says

    This is so exciting! I am proud of you and can hardly wait to read it!! Please keep your readers posted as to how to obtain your book. Love you!

  4. Good for you, Sharon! Congratulations! Neva and I can’t wait to read it. Continued blessings.

  5. Congratulations on your new novel. I can’t wait to read it. You are such a great columnist and I enjoy reading your articles. I love the new photo!

    Robin from Concord, North Carolina

  6. Brenda Crowe says

    Love the new picture which accompanied this article. The old one did not do you justice, as it really didn’t look like you. Thought maybe you used it so folk would not recognize you and approach you when you traveled. I’m excited about the new book; an early Christmas gift to me. What a special gift you and your writing are to all of us. Thanks.

  7. Roberta Little says

    Hey, hey Sharon! Wonderful for you. I’m ordering it right away and can’t wait to read it! Thank you for being you.

  8. Richard Kellogg says

    Congratulations upon such a major achievement. “The World and Then Some” is a rare treasure for readers of all ages. A family saga extending from 1898 to the mid 1960s, the novel reminds the reader that religious faith, a strong family unit, and a sense of community can nurture our children to become strong, productive, and resilient adults. Cora Lacy, the central figure in the story, is destined to become as famous as Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch.

    In your debut novel, the dialogue is crisp, the characters are realistic, and the action flows as smoothly as a mountain stream in North Carolina. You are a wordsmith of the first order, and your story illuminates the southern landscape and culture with clarity and grace. ” The World and Then Some” is coming into the world as the ideal Christmas gift. Again, congratulations on a job well done. You have made your family and friends very proud.

  9. George Balint says

    Dear Sharon #2
    Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations on sticking with it, even if it take a while. I’m sure it was worth the wait.

  10. I have read your column for years and then our newspaper dropped it. I was lost without your life journey stories. When I finally moved into the modern age of lap tops, I found you again and have been so happy. I know I’ll love your book and can hardly wait to get it. Thank you for completing it and please never stop writing. You are an inspiration to us all.

  11. Well look at you! Now a novel under your belt! Fantastic! Proud of you! Yes, I plan to read it. This gives me hope and encouragement. I have been praying to the Lord
    ” establish the work of my hands.” Let it unfold, Lord.

  12. Kate Sciacca says

    What a delightful surprise…. and your novel will be the perfect antidote to the chaos going on in the world. Timing couldn’t be better 🙂

  13. YAY!!!!!! I have your first book and I purchased multiple copies of it years back and gave them away as gifts and have been waiting…not so patiently 😉….for the next book!!!! Can’t wait to read it, Sharon!!!!! 💚👏💚👏

  14. James W Peterson says

    Ms. Randall,
    Will you be doing a book tour and stopping in El Paso, Texas? I would like to purchase an autographed copy your book.

  15. SYDNEY S LOVE says

    Oh how wonderful. I have read your columns since I found you about 23 or 24 years ago. You have always been amazing and my favorite. I am so excited about your book. I can’t wait to order it. I loved your Bird Baths and Paper Cranes. I wouldn’t even loan it to anyone as I was afraid I’d never see it again and that couldn’t happen. I am so happy for you with your novel. I have no doubt that it will be wonderful. You are the best Sharon and I wish you the best with your writing. Thank you for all the wonderful reading material you have provided for me. God Bless you and your family.

  16. I will enjoy reading it.

  17. Fred Hernandez says

    I read Sharon’s novel and was moved and delighted. The story follows a strong woman – stronger than you can imagine. Or at least stronger than I could imagine. The writing is delightful. That won’t surprise you because you’re already a fan of Sharon Randall.
    I’m a man, and I was moved to tears several times.
    Do yourself a favor, buy this novel. Even better, buy a bunch as Christmas presents for people you know who love to read and who love the magic of a surprise treasure.

  18. Congratulations Sharon!! Can’t wait to read it!!
    Now you need a new dream to work toward!! 🙂
    But also keep the weekly columns coming!
    I look forward to them every week!!

  19. Sheila Thompson says

    Congratulations!!! I recently wondered if you were still working on your book. And I just ordered it too. Can’t wait to read it!

  20. Patsy Styers says

    I can’t wait to read it!! Thanks so much Sharon.

  21. Dee Meadows says

    I have followed you since the stories you wrote about your first husband’s illness and death. I remember when you cut back on your columns to finish your novel some time ago. From time to time, I wondered it you were still working on it. I am the Granny of two boys and I moved from Mississippi to North Carolina (of all places) to be close to them. I could not have made a better move. Congratulations on your novel. I am headed to Amazon to order the Kindle version. I love reading about North Carolina.

  22. So excited! I just ordered it! Thank you! Your columns have helped me do much with losing my husband and falling in love again! Bless your kind heart!

  23. Kathy Smith says

    Congradulations I can’t wait to read it!!!

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