Monday, April 12, 2010

Sherryl Woods


With two other careers to her credit before becoming a novelist and four states in which she's lived for extended periods of time, Sherryl Woods has collected friends and memories, along with way too much unnecessary junk.

"The friends are the only things I've brought with me through the years that really matter," she says. "I could probably live without one more chintz teacup, another tin-litho sandpail or another snowglobe, but I need those friends."

The theme of enduring friendships and families is always central to Sherryl's books, including her latest Chesapeake Shores series — THE INN AT EAGLE POINT, FLOWERS ON MAIN and HARBOR LIGHTS.

Author of more than 100 romance and mystery novels, Sherryl Woods grew up in Virginia. Over the years she had lived in Ohio and Florida, as well as California. Currently she divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida and Colonial Beach, Virginia, the small, river-front town where she spent her childhood summers.

A graduate of Ohio State University School of Journalism, Sherryl spent more than ten years as a journalist, most of them as a television critic for newspapers in Ohio and Florida. For several years she also coordinated a motivational program for the more than 8,000 employees at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Her first book, RESTORING LOVE, was published in 1982 by Dell Candlelight Ecstasy under the pseudonym of Suzanne Sherrill. Her second book, SAND CASTLES, under the pseudonym of Alexandra Kirk, was published later that same year by Bantam. She began using her own name when she moved to the Second Chance at Love line at Berkley Publishing. In 1986, she began writing full-time and also began her long career at Silhouette Books with the Desire title NOT AT EIGHT, DARLING, set in the world of television which she covered for so many years.

In addition to her more than 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition, she has written thirteen mysteries — nine in the Amanda Roberts series and four in the Molly DeWitt series.

When she's not writing or reading, Sherryl loves to garden, though she's not at her best on a riding lawn mower. She also loves tennis, theater, and ballet, even though her top spin has long since vanished, she's never set foot on a stage, and she's way too uncoordinated to dance. She also loves baseball and claims anyone who's ever seen Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham" can understand why.

Sherryl, thanks for stopping by Romance Author Buzz to talk about your latest release, Home in Carolina.

Is there a back story to Home in Carolina? Can you tell us about the Sweet Magnolias series?

Sherryl: I began the Sweet Magnolias series a few years back with a trilogy about three women who've been lifelong friends in a small South Carolina town. I loved the way these women interacted and supported each other and readers seemed to relate to them, too. I added a fourth story after that, but readers continued to plead for a story about Ty Townsend and Annie Sullivan, who were barely teenagers in the second book, A Slice of Heaven. I told everyone they were way too young to have a story of their own. Now they've been out in the world and lived a little and, in Ty's case, made some monumental mistakes. So, their book, Home in Carolina, is a story about reconciliation and forgiveness. Two other women in the next generation of Sweet Magnolias will be featured in Sweet Tea at Sunrise and in Honeysuckle Summer in May and June. And, of course, all the old familiar faces will be around as well with a couple of surprising twists.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you.

Sherryl: I have to do some plotting just because of the way I write my proposals for my editor, but believe me, it's a pretty loose, short-story version of the book. Then I just sit down and fill in the many huge gaps.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

Sherryl: I started writing back in 1980 after quitting my newspaper job, and sold my first books fairly quickly. The first two, in fact, came out in 1982. Believe it or not, I never really anticipated writing novels. I loved journalism, but I think that trained me to look for stories everywhere. Maybe that's why, over 100 books later, I've never really run out of ideas.

What are you currently working on?

Sherryl: Right now I'm deeply involved in next spring's Chesapeake Shores trilogy, a follow-up to the three books that were out in 2009 and to A Chesapeake Shores Christmas, which will be out in late September of this year. These are continuations of the stories about the O'Briens, a family that also seems to have struck a chord with readers.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Sherryl: I honestly don't. People who know me well say they can find a bit of me in many of my characters, and I try to make each book both better and even more creatively challenging so writing each one stays fresh for me.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

Sherryl: The absolute best thing is hearing from readers who can relate to something in one of my books or who tell me how much a particular book has helped them through a rough spot in their lives. There's nothing more rewarding about this job.

As for the hardest, it's staying on top of all the business aspects of publishing. I believe in being actively involved in those decisions, even though it would be a whole lot easier to pretend that books succeed through sheer magic.

Describe a day in the life of Sherryl Woods.

Sherryl: I live in two different cities, so my days vary a bit depending on where I am. In Miami, I'm at the gym in my building by 5:30 a.m. a few days a week (hating every minute of it, by the way), at breakfast with friends by 6:30, back home at 7:30 answering emails and then writing until I hit my page quote for the day -- anywhere from 10 to 15 pages, depending on where I am in the manuscript. In the afternoon I do all the business related stuff.

In Virginia I have breakfast, try to fit in a bit of gardening, then pick up my day with emails and writing on the same schedule as Miami.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

Sherryl: That scenery counts. I have to be by the sea, whether it's the Atlantic I can see from my balcony in Florida or the Potomac River across the road from my house in Virginia. I actually visited a cousin in North Carolina on my way north last week and fell in love with her house and her neighborhood, but there wasn't a speck of water in sight, at least not the kind I'm used to. I couldn't imagine being content without the sound of waves to lull me to sleep.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

Sherryl: That I always tried to write stories about real women encountering real problems and not just surviving, but triumphing.

What are you currently reading?

Sherryl: The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Sherryl: That if they happen to know Trace Atkins or Rafael Nadal, I'd like an introduction! Of course, Nadal, who for a few blissful moments was seated just a few rows behind me at the Sony-Ericsson tournament watching the Roger Federer match, is young enough to be my son...okay, grandson...but he has the best smile on the tennis circuit. As for Trace, hey, I'm not immune to those bad boys, either.

Sherryl, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

For a list of Sherry'ls currect books, check it out here.

To purchase Sherryl's books, they can be found at EHarlequin

To win a copy of one of Sherryl's books, stop over on her Facebook page and tell her you read her interview on Romance Author Buzz and come back here and post your contact email.
Contest Ends May 15th.


Mary Anne Landers said...

Thanks for the interview! My email addresses are and Or you can contact me via my Facebook mailbox. My home page URL is

Keep up the good work!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, Marilyn. I'm dropping in to say this is a great interview; it was fun to read. Thanks for the e-mail about it; I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Kara said...

Here's my contact email...

ktulanko AT aol DOT

Christine said...

I left Sherryl a message on facebook. I'd like to be entered.
contact me at

Thanks, Christine

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed the interview and posted on Sherryl's FB page.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Mary Anne, you're the winner. Email seattlesnoops at aol dot com with your details. Thanks.


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