Part 2 of my time with Sherryl Woods. COMING SOON!! August, 2014 Swan Point, A Sweet Magnolia Novel
Q. What makes a writer great?
A. For me what makes any writer great is the ability to tell a story that resonates with readers and touches them in some way. A book that can make a reader laugh or cry or even close the book with a deep sigh of satisfaction is the absolute best. I always aim for that. If I hit the mark even sometimes, it’s a wonderful feeling.
Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?
A. Once I know which series a book will be in and which character will “star”, I always start out mulling for a few days, jotting down a few notes about key plot points, motivations, conflicts and so on. I am mostly a right-brain writer, so I don’t make a list of details about character descriptions or history. Once I understand the basics of the story I want to tell, I start writing scenes for a synopsis.
My synopses tend to be longer than a lot of writers’ because I like to get into the voices of the characters and establish the tone of the book at this point. Within a week or so, I have maybe 40 pages that are essentially a short story version of the book. Once that’s approved by my editor, I break those scenes apart and assign them chapters where I think they’ll fall in the book. From then on I’m writing “bridges”
between those scenes. After the rough draft is complete, I do a polish and turn it in, then do a final revision based on editorial feedback from my editor and my agent. Again, this approach may not work for other authors — in fact some might be horrified by it. It’s worked for me, though, for 100-plus books.
Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ?
A. Most of my books these days are part of various series, so the key characters have been established in prior books.
Q. What inspired your story/stories ?
A. I find inspiration all around me. I think that comes from being a journalist at heart. I’m naturally curious, so I’m always listening to people, observing, and looking for a great story. If a fire engine passes me, I’m always tempted to chase after it just to see what’s going on.
Q. When is your next book coming out? (or) What are you working on?
A. Home to Seaview Key hit stores at the end of January. It’s a long-requested sequel to a much earlier book, Seaview Inn. Later this year I have another Sweet Magnolias book — Swan Point — coming out (August) and another Chesapeake Shores book — The Christmas Bouquet — comes out in October. I’m working on more Chesapeake Shores books for 2015.
Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?
A. I’ve written two mystery series. There were nine books in the Amanda Roberts series, set in a small town outside of Atlanta, and four
books in my Molly DeWitt series set in Miami. I absolutely loved writing mysteries. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to get back to that. There’s a “missing” Molly DeWitt book I’ve been promising readers for a very long time.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
A. Just that it has been a joy to be able to write books for all these years and receive such wonderful feedback from readers. I love getting emails and do fairly well at replying in a timely manner. And I communicate with fans on my Facebook page as well. Contact information and a link to the Facebook fan page are both available on my website, www.sherrylwoods.com
Click here to read Part I of Interview
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