Monday, April 8, 2013

Interview with Sherryl Woods

Q. What inspired the plot for your Ocean Breeze series?

This particular series was inspired by a setting -- North Carolina's Outer Banks. I've been going there with my extended family for a week each summer for the past few years. I wanted to write about it, though, from the point of view of a family who actually lives there, rather than tourists. That's how the wonderful core family of Cora Jane Castle and her three very different granddaughters was born!

Q. Is writing something you've always wanted to pursue?

I studied journalism at Ohio State, but ironically didn't intend to go into it as a writer. I wanted to do graphic design and layout for newspapers. How I ended up here, over a hundred books later, is still a bit of a shock and mystery to me!

Q. Out of the sisters from the Ocean Breeze series, which one is your favorite, and why?

I probably share one trait with all of them -- I'm terrible at balancing career and a personal life. I think it's something all women struggle with at some point and some are better than others at managing to get it right. On some levels, I felt closest to Gabi, the overachieving middle sister, whose story is told in Wind Chime Point. Just like her, I've changed careers in mid-stream a couple of times. I think it's important for everyone -- me included -- to realize that there's more than one route to fulfillment. 

Q. Where is your most favorite place to write?

I write wherever my computer lands, whether in my office in Florida which has a view of downtown Miami, plus a tiny sliver of the ocean and Biscayne Bay or on a table in a back bedroom in Virginia with robins chirping in a pink crepe myrtle tree just outside the window. The locale doesn't matter as long as the characters are clamoring for their stories to be told.

Q. What is your favorite book that you've written so far? Why?

One of my all-time favorites was Amazing Gracie. I fell in love with the hero of that book -- okay, I fall a little bit in love with ALL of them -- but he was so much fun. And the setting was near and dear to my heart, a fictionalized version of the town where I've spent summers ever since I was four.

Q. Who is your biggest writing inspiration?

I don't have one specific author who's inspired me. There are so many wonderful writers whose books entertain me -- Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Carla Neggers, Robyn Carr. I could go on and on. My to-be-read pile is more like a mountain!

Q. What are your writing goals for 2013?

I'm anxious to get back to two of my favorite series. I'll be writing a new Sweet Magnolias book for August 2014 and then another Chesapeake Shores Christmas book for October 2014. Readers get full credit for encouraging me to keep all those wonderful characters going.

Q. Do you have a writing ritual? Why, or why not?

In the sense that I maintain a very rigid schedule, I do. I head for the computer first thing in the morning EVERY morning and write a minimum of ten pages. With the number of deadlines I have each year, I let myself off the hook only for a summer break or when company comes for a few days. In the afternoon I deal with other publishing duties and answer reader emails or Facebook posts. If my page count is running ahead of schedule, only then do I take off to play.  

Q. What can your fans expect next?

Two older books with a touch of mystery will be reissued this fall after many years out of print. Temptation will be back on shelves in September and Twilight will be available again in November. In between the O'Briens will be back in a brand new Chesapeake Shores book -- A Seaside Christmas, in stores in October. 

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