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Sherryl Woods

Sherryl WoodsThe author of more than 100 romance and mystery novels, Sherryl Woods was a television critic and motivational coordinator for a major hospital before she launched her successful career as an author. In her interview Sherryl provides insight into her new Chesapeake Shores series that introduces another complex family, another charming town and the heartfelt emotions you've come to expect from the talented author.

The Inn at Eagle Point is set in the charming beach town of Chesapeake Shores, which gives your new trilogy its title. How much is Chevsapeake Shores modeled after the Virginia community where you live half the year?

Most of the small towns I've ever written about share elements with Colonial Beach, Virginia, where I spend my summers. I won't say which elements or characters might seem familiar to locals, but I certainly do write about the things I know. Any really bad stuff, however, is definitely fictional! The concern for the future of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay that is a theme in this new series is absolutely an important issue in my town and for me in particular. I also think Chesapeake Shores captures the same friendliness and support for neighbors that I love about my town.

In all of your stories, you entertain your readers beautifully, but you also have messages that you convey. What are you telling your readers in The Inn at Eagle Point?

In this book and in the entire Chesapeake Shores series, there's a lot of emphasis on reconciliation and forgiveness. I think in any large and complex family, there are bound to be complicated dynamics at work that can split people apart unless they learn to forgive. I'm pretty sure anyone who watches Brothers & Sisters on ABC is very familiar with how families struggle to stay close through the most tempestuous times. The O'Briens are the same.

The Inn At Eagle PointSince one of the underlying themes in The Inn at Eagle Point is reconciliation, our readers would be curious to know if, in your personal life, you have you been faced with a situation where a relationship needed mending, and how you addressed this emotional challenge.

I have a very dear friend who happens to be a minister. He is constantly chiding me for a tendency to hold grudges. I have a slow fuse when it comes to people I truly care about, but once there's a rift, I am capable of holding on to it for eternity. It's not healthy, and it's something I constantly strive to overcome. I probably tell myself to "let it go" every single day with respect to some situation or another, especially when it comes to family and dear friends. Some days I have better success at living that way than others.

You really nailed the protagonist’s character in the first line of Chapter One when you wrote, "Being an overachiever sucked . . . . " Do you think Abby’s overachieving is a result of birth order, her being the oldest of five siblings, or were other forces at work that made Abby the handle-twenty-balls-in-the-air kind of person?

I think Abby's character was very much created by being the oldest of five siblings in a family struggling with a bitter divorce. In addition, with a powerful and frequently absent father, I think she was also shaped by the need to win his approval.

Of the five O’Brien siblings, which do you relate to the most personally and why?

Tough question, but I'd have to say I'm probably a mix of Abby and Bree. I definitely have Abby's fix-it, control freak tendencies, but I have Bree's creativity and sensitivity.

For all of us who are enchanted with the big, dysfunctional O’Brien family, tell us something about the second book in the Chesapeake Shores series, Flowers on Main. Whose story is this, and what challenge is she facing?

Flowers on Main is Bree's story, and as I just mentioned, she's the creative member of the family, who internalizes a lot of her emotions. When her fledgling career as a playwright in Chicago takes a hit and her relationship there crashes and burns, she comes home to Chesapeake Shores to heal and to find a new direction for her life. She's not counting on the fact that the man she left behind—Jake Collins—not only has very bitter feelings toward her, but stands squarely between her and the future she's trying to carve out for herself. In addition, there will be lots more about Abby's and Bree's parents, Mick and Megan, as they try to find their way back to each other. Once again, lots of forgiveness and understanding required on all fronts!

Flowers on Main (on sale April 28), and the trilogy’s conclusion, Harbor Lights (on sale May 26).

Sherryl enjoys hearing from readers, who can contact her via SherrylWoods.com. There you’re also welcome to share your thoughts about the issues that concern you most in Sherryl’s entertaining blog, JustBetweenFriendsBlog.com.

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