Local author pens more than a hundred books and still has more to tell. –Cassandra Sturos
New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods has written 149 novels, numerous of which are romance. Having grown up in Arlington and enjoyed summers at her family’s home in Colonial Beach she found inspiration from the surrounding areas. After 14 years in journalism, Woods wanted a change. “I’m not the hard luck slaving in the attic story,” Woods says. “A couple of years ago I found a second grade report card that said … I was deficient in making up stories. Now I’ve got 100-plus books to prove I can do it.”
What motivated you to make the transition from journalism to fiction?
“Unless you’ve been doing creative writing all along, it’s a shocker to sit down with a blank page … my first reaction [was] where are my quotes, where are my facts. It was a hard transition at first. I could put words in people’s mouth and no was going to yell at me.”
Q: What appealed to you about romances?
A:“I read all the Silhouettes and the category type books. The concept of the smaller books which were just a hero [and] a heroine aiming towards a happy ending was a much more manageable goal. That’s critical for anybody who wants to write—it better be something they love to read … otherwise you’re straining against the grain and chasing after a market that may not be there.”
Q: Do you draw on your experiences of being a journalist?
A:“The training I had in listening to people taught me a lot about writing dialogue. Also that ability of observing all the time … always looking for a story. I can have a conversation tomorrow with somebody who will tell me how they met their husband … and the next thing I know I am working on a story.”
Q: Do you feel like you have a whole slew of ideas on new ways to fall in love?
A:“While the romance is a core element of those stories, they’re more tied into women’s issues. I used to get really taken aback by people who described the category romances that I started out writing, as being formulaic: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl breaks up with boy, boy gets girl back, but I try within that basic structure to tell a very different story every time. … I had this conversation with somebody the other day, they said ‘have you been married,’ and I said, ‘no, which has given me a lot more dating experience.’ I fall in love a lot. What I’m aiming for is a story that women can relate to.”
Q: Are there any stories or characters that you yourself fell in love with?
A: “’Amazing Gracie’ … bringing in the real Colonial Beach and the characters … One of my friends said, ‘It felt like I was sitting on your front porch and watching all this happen.’ … [Also] ‘Chesapeake Shores’ that’s built around a very large Irish family. Every time I go back and do another book in that series it’s like going home to my own family. I was an only child [and] I grew up thinking I belonged on Little House on the Prairie. … ‘Sweet Magnolias’ is built around the strength of women’s friendships and that bond. I’ve grown up with a large group of very strong friends that I’ve known for most of my life. I think that’s another way we create our families.”
On Shelves Now
A breast cancer survivor and single mom learns to juggle a high pressure job, a pregnant daughter and an old-flame.
‘Home to Seaview Key’
This much-awaited sequel to Seaview Inn follows a recently divorced woman who returns to the place she loves for friendship and gets more than she bargained for in love.
‘The Devany Brothers’
Two brothers from a broken family don’t think much of love, until they meet the right women, giving them a chance to reunite and possibly be a family again.