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Mississippi Profile: Sherye Simmons...

Mississippi Profile: Sherye Simmons Green

By: Courtney Ingle - May 17, 2023

Green’s faith has been a foundation of her writing. In 2017, she published a collection of devotionals she had written for Mississippi Christian Living and Our South magazines. She called the collection Tending the Garden of My Heart: Reflections on Cultivating a Life of Faith.

Mississippi author Sherye Simmons Green has made a writing career of embracing the opportunities she says God placed in front of her. Her own story has twists and turns and reads like a dreamy novel–with everything from being Miss Mississippi to teaching to becoming a published writer. 

Green was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where her father was stationed with the Army. In 1962, her family relocated to Jackson, Mississippi and she’s called the state her home ever since. “My dad, Heber Simmons Jr. was a pediatric dentist, the first in Mississippi,” said Green. “And my mother, Sister Simmons, was a first-grade teacher.”

Writing was always part of Green’s childhood, though she did not immediately set out to be an author. Green graduated from Jackson Prep, and it was during her senior year that she entered her first ever pageant, the Jackson Junior Miss pageant. During her freshman year at Mississippi State, she won the title of Miss Jackson, and in the summer of 1978, Green was a Top 10 finalist in the Miss Mississippi pageant. 

“In 1979, I participated in and won the title of Miss Mississippi State University. That summer, Cheryl Prewitt won Miss Mississippi, and I was named as First Alternate,” said Green. “Six weeks later, when she won Miss America, I had the wonderful opportunity to become Miss Mississippi. It was a very special year in both our lives.”

Since then, Green has had three different careers in business, education, and currently, writing. She was an award-winning public relations and marketing professional until 1996, when she began teaching. During her teaching career, Green used her passion for writing to further education. “In the years until my retirement from education in 2018, I wrote numerous course curricula, including a class on terrorism and a military medicine class,” said Green. 

Green said it was during the late 1990s and early 2000s when she started focusing more on her writing career. “Although writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, it’s only been since the early 2000s that I began to make a very concerted effort to hone my craft. I am largely a self-taught writer, but have closely studied the work of writers whom I admire,” said Green. 

 The author credited writing conferences and building a solid collection of references from authors she admired to her growth as a writer. “I began writing more as a featured writer with Mississippi Christian Living and Our South magazines,” said Green. “In 2003, I began work on a novel, Abandon Not My Soul, which I later self-published in 2012. That book was rereleased by a traditional publisher, Sunbury Press, last year.”

Green’s faith has been a foundation of her writing. In 2017, she published a collection of devotionals she had written for Mississippi Christian Living and Our South magazines. She called the collection Tending the Garden of My Heart: Reflections on Cultivating a Life of Faith.

From there, Green’s career took another turn when she was approached to help tell the tale of a woman’s escape from Nazi Germany. “God brought a great gift into my life in August of 2019 when the daughter of a World War II survivor contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping her mother tell her story. My answer was an immediate, “Yes!”’ said Green. 

Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin: One Woman’s Remarkable Escape from Nazi Germany was released one year later, in November 2020. The subject of the memoir, Mildred Schindler Jenzen, is 94 and lives in Kansas, and still tells her story to groups today. 

Green has several ongoing projects coming to fruition in the near future. “I completed a manuscript for a book on veteran suicide in February. I’m also helping a family member tell the story of her grandfather, who was a prohibition officer murdered in 1921 by moonshiners,” said Green. 

Her novel Abandon Not My Soul was part one of a three-part series called “The Timothy House Chronicles” that is soon to be published. 

“My second book,  Through a Dark Valley, though completed, is undergoing a bit of reconstruction,” said Green.  “My third book,  Higher Ground, should be completed by the end of the summer.”

Green said the culmination of the Timothy House Chronicles and the story of the murdered prohibition officer should all be published by early 2024. The author added that beyond that, she’s excited to see God reveal the mystery of what is next in her life. 

“Only the Lord knows for sure,” said Green. She added that her writing career is guided by the biblical parable of the talents, from Matthew 25:14-30.

“I most readily identify with the servant who was given one talent,” said Green. “I definitely don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back to find that I didn’t use that gift because I was afraid, as was the servant. Regardless of how much talent those three servants in the parable had been given, their responsibility before God to use the “talents” wisely and for God’s glory was the same.”

Green said that she set several writing goals at a conference a few years ago, and the chief among them was to give her very best effort, and turn the results to the Lord. 

“That has been a very freeing decision to make. Knowing that the Lord is in charge of my future takes away much of the pressure I might otherwise have,” said Green. 

About the Author(s)
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Courtney Ingle

Courtney Ingle is a veteran journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience in print, radio, and digital media. Courtney brings her talents to bear at Magnolia Tribune to cover family-centered education and to elevate those unique aspects of Mississippi culture.
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