9 in ’09 with Sherryl Woods

This week I have the New Times Bestselling Author Sherryl Woods answering nine questions.  She writes wonderful romances and has a great website with a blog that covers some really fun topics.  You can visit her website here.  And she also happens to be a part-time neighbor and full-time friend to my Aunt Carol in Colonial Beach, Virginia.

1. You have written over 100 romance and mystery novels.  What is your secret for staying so productive after all these years?

I think my journalism background has been a huge influence on my ability to keep coming up with stories.  I’m always looking around at the world and wondering why this happened or what would change if somebody did this, instead of that.  As Mary Higgins Clark once put it, I spend a lot of time asking what if…?

2. You are my second featured author who earned a journalism degree from Ohio State (Go Bucks!).  Do you think aspiring authors should go to college or are there other avenues that can be just as helpful?

I don’t think college is ever a mistake.  However I certainly don’t think it’s necessary to have a degree in creative writing.  Lots of writers I know have wildly different backgrounds, everything from mine in journalism to drama and law.

3. When you first started your writing career you used a few different pseudonyms before using your real name.  Why did you decide to use one and why did you stop?

I was barely out of my newspaper job when I sold my first books and friends (mistakenly I now know) thought I should preserve my “real” name for “serious” writing.  When I went with my agent, she advised me to use my own name and stick with it, so I could build an identity as an author…and no publisher could ever let others use the name, which can happen if you’re not careful with pseudonyms.

4. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own bookstore and you actually did it!  What were the best and worst aspects of owning your own bookstore and would you recommend it to others, like me?

The ten years I spent owning a bookstore were absolutely wonderful in many respects.  I loved getting to read catalogues, order books and open the boxes every week.  Even better was getting to talk about books with my customers.  It was a book lover’s dream.  However, it was also so demanding, especially with a writing career, that I almost never had a chance to actually read.  And in this economic environment with even the big chains having difficulties, I don’t know that I’d try it unless the circumstances in your community are just right…meaning no major competition for miles and miles.

5. Who are your favorite authors?

I have a slew of them in many genres.  I love Carla Neggers’ romantic suspense, Heather Grahams’ suspense novels, Jayne Ann Krentz (and her Amanda Quick persona), Susan Wiggs, Nelson DeMille, Joan Mendicott, Jan Karon, Dorothea Benton Franks, just for starters.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite? 

No, not really.

7. What are you currently reading?

Maeve Binchy’s Heart and Soul.  She’s another of my favorites.

8.  If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character, who would you choose?

Just about any female in a book that has a happy ending.

9. And finally, what is your current project?

I’m now writing three more Sweet Magnolias books, beginning with a much-requested story for Ty and Annie.  I’m so delighted by reader enthusiasm for this series.  Writing more is like getting to visit with old friends.  These are scheduled to come out back-to-back in spring 2010.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sherryl!