Brown’s Sensible Shoes Series Expands, Continues to Draw Readers

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

shoesReaders familiar with Sharon Brown's Sensible Shoes novels will find the same deep heart and love for Jesus in Brown's third in the series, "Barefoot: A Story of Surrendering to God." She continues the spiritual formation journey of familiar characters Mara, Charissa, Hannah and Meg.

"My goals for this book and series are the same as they were in the beginning: that readers would encounter God as they read and that the books would cast a strong vision of what community can be like," said Brown, who lives in Ada. "I longed for the characters to be a reflection of our own fears and hurts and changes."

The four women meet at a spiritual retreat—all there for different reasons and at different places spiritually—and embark on a journey that cements their newfound friendship as they each grow closer to God.

The novels offer more than good stories. Companion guides accompany the second two books, and there will be a 12-week, 5-day-a-week study guide to "Sensible Shoes" releasing in Winter 2018.

"We began hearing from readers working through the companion guides, which are a step deeper than a book club would go," said Brown. "And we heard from book clubs saying they wanted a deeper experience so began using the companion guides."

Brown also heard from readers saying that God met them in the Sensible Shoes books. "I am amazed at how many readers wrote to describe what God was doing in their lives. They were saying that this is where God met them, they were being healed and that they saw things about themselves and about God," she said.

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Brown's publishing journey began when she self-published "Sensible Shoes" in 2010. Brown approached IVP about republishing it, despite knowing the house didn't publish fiction. But IVP saw the book as a good fit for its Crescendo line of books for women and rereleased it—newly edited and with a new cover—in 2013. The second book, "Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope," came out in 2015, with "Barefoot" out in October 2016.

"An Extra Mile" will come out in Winter 2018, and Brown hasn't completely ruled out a fifth. Sales for "Sensible Shoes" total 41,000 for print and e-books, with sales for "Two Steps Forward" at about 12,000. Reprints have already been ordered for "Barefoot" after an initial 6,500 print run.

Brown and her husband Jack were co-pastors of Redeemer Covenant Church until recently. Jack Brown now works at Compass College of Cinematic Arts in downtown Grand Rapids, and Sharon Brown leads Abiding Way Ministries that provides spiritual formation retreats.

She speaks at 40-50 events a year including women's retreats, book clubs, banquets, and ministry conferences. In 2017 she'll visit Australia, Kenya, and many places around the U.S. Readers can see her schedule, get free downloads and learn more about Brown and the series at Look also at Facebook pages for Brown and the Sensible Shoes series.

The books are available at Baker Book House, other local bookstores, and online.
Author Information
Ann Byle
Ann Byle is a freelance writer and owner of AB Writing Services. She writes for a number of publications including WMCN, Publishers Weekly, CBA Christian Market and Grand Rapids Magazine, and is author or coauthor of several books including The Baker Book House Story, The Call to Care: A Compassionate Response to Caring for Vulnerable Children (2018) and Christian Publishing 101 (2018). She and her husband Ray, a science teacher, have four young adult children.

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