How a St. Ansgar woman became a published author

Published 8:20 am Monday, May 28, 2012

Sherrie Hansen leads a busy life running the Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar Iowa which she owns and penning several mystery novels. -- Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

ST. ANSGAR, Iowa — The title of Sherrie Hansen Decker’s first published novel, “Night and Day,” is practically a mirror image of how she lives her life.

By night, she’s a master wordsmith — writing, editing and blogging in an attempt to perfect her next book. By day, she’s the owner and full-time innkeeper of the Blue Belle Inn Bed & Breakfast in St. Ansgar, Iowa.

“My grandma always said I was a night owl because of my Danish blood,” Decker said. “When it’s midnight in Minnesota, it’s daybreak in Denmark.”

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While being a business owner and published novelist are full-time demands each on their own, Hansen, 55, plays yet another vital role: she’s a preacher’s wife, married to the Rev. Mark Decker of Zion Lutheran Church in Hudson, Iowa.

“I’m not sure it’s so much motivation as it is keeping my head above water,” she chuckled when talking about her busy life.

The Never Neverland Room at the Blue Belle in. -- Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

Juggling all of these roles was certainly not something Decker planned. Like her favorite hobby, quilting, one ambition just led to the next — building the quilt that’s become her life — one

block at a time.

It started 20 years ago, when she bought the abandoned three-story Victorian home with no heat or electricity, a gutted kitchen and a peeling paint job.

“This business was my brainchild,” she said. “I’d enjoyed staying in B&B’s in Colorado and Europe, and it was a way to support myself and stay in a rural area near my family.”

Decker’s love of books paired with long and unique hours at the B&B eventually led to her writing career.

Over the past five years, she’s published four fiction books. Her biggest challenge was trying to write her stories without getting boxed into specific genres. While her fifth novel, “Love Notes,” a Christian Inspirational, will release this spring, Decker’s got three more books brewing in her head.