Thanks so much for having me here, PJ. Believe it or not, I didn't even go into journalism intending to be a writer in that field. I wanted to do graphic design. It fascinates me how plans change. At any rate, when I left journalism in 1980, I intended to experiment for a few months. One of those experiments was writing a romance novel...or two. My first books were published in 1982 and I've since written well over a hundred in both the romance and mystery genres. I'm still astounded.
|March 30, 2010|
Ever since A Slice of Heaven, the second book in the original Sweet Magnolias trilogy, readers have been asking for a story about Ty Townsend and Annie Sullivan. I protested for the longest time that they were way too young, but now they've had time to grow up, live a little and make some real mistakes. In Ty's case, his mistake has cost him Annie's love and respect. Ultimately this is a story about forgiveness and reconciliation between these two lifelong best friends.
I admit to being one of those who had been eagerly anticipating Ty and Annie's story. I'm so glad you decided to write it even though you sure didn't make their journey easy. You don’t shy away from the tough topics in your stories. Do you begin a book with the intent of covering serious issues such as eating disorders, betrayal and spousal abuse or do you follow where your characters lead?
I tend to write with a lot of humor in my books, but occasionally a topic comes along that I feel is so important to women that I have to find a way to share it. In this particular collection of stories I found myself dealing with unfaithfulness, verbal abuse and physical abuse. Hopefully because there's still plenty of humor among the friends, the books won't feel dark at all, but will give women hope and show that people going through such difficult times in their own marriages can do more than survive. They can triumph.
You've done a masterful job of blending the humor with the drama. While these books tackle serious issues, they do feel hopeful, not dark. Many of your books in recent years, including the Sweet Magnolias series, have been set in the South Carolina Lowcountry. What draws you to this area?
Years and years ago on my first visit to Charleston, SC, I was walking through the historic district and immediately felt comfortable. At that point I hadn't even considered writing a book, but I had this image in my mind of living in an old carriage house and writing. Ironically -- and believe me with no real planning on my part -- my first book and my 100th wound up being set in Charleston. If nothing else, these books mean I get to go back to that region and visit on a regular basis. I love the charm and friendliness and the old traditions and architecture.
|April 27, 2010|
Absolutely. I don't follow astrology all that closely, but I know it's a trait of those born with Cancer as a sign to cling tenaciously to people they care about, and I've done that all my life. I have friends going all the way back to elementary school. I don't see them as often anymore, but the minute we see each other or get on the phone, it's as if the years just slip away. I think friends are an incredibly important part of everyone's support system. I always feel bad when someone gets married or seriously involved with someone and starts letting those friendships slide. I just know they'll come to regret it. I suppose there's a downside to having someone know all our secrets, but I think to the contrary that it's reassuring to have all those shared memories.
The second and third books in this series, Sweet Tea at Sunrise (I love that title!) and Honeysuckle Summer are being released in May and June, respectively. I’m sure all of the fans of this series are just as excited about that as I am! What will these stories be about?
|May 25, 2010|
I'm looking forward to reading both of their stories. What are you working on now?
Right now I'm finishing up three new Chesapeake Shores books for spring 2011. Besides loving to write about friendships, I also love digging into family dynamics. If you read the Adams series for Silhouette, you know exactly what I mean, and the O'Briens are just as complex and, hopefully, just as much fun. In fact, those already hooked on this series, will be happy to know that Mick and Megan are set to walk down the aisle in A Chesapeake Shores Christmas, due out at the end of September...unless Connor gets his way.
Being from a large family myself, one of the things I've most enjoyed about your books is the exploration of family dynamics. You do it so well! Here at The Romance Dish, we all have our favorite comfort reads – those books that we return to time and again. What book is guaranteed to always bring a smile to your face and a sigh to your heart?
It's interesting that you say that. I have authors I turn to when I want a comforting, quiet read -- Maeve Binchy, Jan Karon and Joan Medlicott come to mind -- but I rarely read the same book twice. Maybe that's because I'm totally daunted by the size of my to-be-read pile and always want to plunge into the next story.
I have one of those mountainous TBR piles too but there are a couple books that I always return to for comfort. Binchy, Karon and Medlicott are all wonderful writers!
People talk about Bucket Lists, those things that they want to do during their lifetime. What are three things on your list?
Oh my, I suppose they'd all have to do with travel. I want to rent a house in the south of France sometime, I'd love to cruise the Greek Isles, and I want to go back to the Irish countryside. There will be no daredevil stunts for me!
My passions (besides reading, of course) are my dogs, photography, travel and baking. Besides writing, what are your passions?
Movies, theater, baseball and tennis. The baseball aspect probably shows up in my books more than anything else. There are Major League players in many of them, including in this latest trilogy. Ty plays for the Atlanta Braves and Sarah's hero, Travis McDonald, played for Boston.
Sherryl, thank you so much for visiting with us today and best of luck with the new Sweet Magnolias trilogy. Is there a question you would like to ask our readers?
Thanks so much for letting me stop by. I'd love to hear how they feel about continuing series.
Okay, readers. What do you think? Should a series have a natural end or do you think they can sustain stories indefinitely?
For more information about Sherryl and her books, please visit her website.