Romance readers know it’s the start of the holiday season when the weather turns crisp and the Christmas-themed love stories start appearing in bookstores. This year, contemporary romance maven Sherryl Woods is at the top of our TBR list with A Chesapeake Shores Christmas. In this exclusive interview we talk to the author about some of her favorite holiday memories and why she decided to return to her Chesapeake series. And don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!
RT: What is your favorite part of getting ready for the winter holidays?
Sherryl Woods: Boy, that's a toss-up. When I had my bookstore, I loved getting it decorated. Not that I was the one doing most of it. I had an amazing staff that turned every room into something wonderful. Our primary tree (there was one in every room) was the talk of the town. I just showed up to ohh and ahh. Now I actually think shopping is one of my favorite parts of the season. I love trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list, wrapping it and then holding my breath while they open it. It truly is better to give...
RT: Does your family have any holiday traditions that make Christmas special?
SW: We don't do this any longer, but when my Dad, aunts and uncles were still around, we always gathered at a cousin's house where his son would put on a complete Christmas show. He was so talented, even at an early age, and we all had our assigned parts when it came to singing and, believe me, we did not veer from those assignments. He now has a dual degree from William and Mary in business and music. Sadly, from my perspective, his career focus has been on business and marketing.
RT: Any favorite Christmas gifts that you have given/received that you would like to share?
SW: I think one of my favorite gifts was a pair of silver earrings which the guy I was dating at the time hung on the tree for me to find. Another very special gift, which was given to me for my birthday, rather than Christmas, was from my goddaughter and her family. It was a charm bracelet with all the charms representing places that were special to us. It was so thoughtful.
As for a favorite that I've given, it was a model Porsche I left in the driveway of a friend who'd tell everyone that he wanted that particular car for Christmas. I "parked" it right next to his Volkswagen. It was weeks before he figured out who'd given it to him. His favorite gift from me, by the way, was an egg slicer with a book of egg recipes. Go figure.
RT: What is your favorite Christmas story? If it has changed since you were a child, what did it used to be?
SW: I've always loved 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but I'm a sucker for every single holiday story out there. It's such a magical season. And, of course, the story of the birth of Christ is the most meaningful of all of them.
RT: What book are you hoping to curl up with this winter?
SW: Just one? You should see my to-be-read pile. I'd like to settle into a cozy chair for the entire winter. I have books by Robyn Carr, Kristin Hannah, Carla Neggers, and even Julia Childs' My Life in France that I'd like to finally get to.
RT: Are you inspired by the holidays to write or do you take a break for the Christmas season?
SW: I usually take a break during the holidays just because there's way too much going on. Lately, though, with three back-to-back deadlines for spring books that break keeps getting shorter and shorter.
RT: You have a holiday themed book releasing soon. What can readers expect from your Christmas story?
SW: A Chesapeake Shores Christmas is their long-awaited chance to catch up with the O'Briens and with what's going on in Chesapeake Shores. After the initial trilogy readers wanted to know if Mick and Megan ever reconciled and the holidays seemed to me like the perfect time for them to do it. Of course, it doesn't go smoothly, but I think there's a wonderful happily-ever-after moment that's just right for the season.
RT: And one bonus question: Can you share a favorite holiday recipe with RT's readers?
Sherryl Woods: Sadly, my cooking skills are seriously suspect, and I want my readers alive and healthy to enjoy this holiday season and many more!
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Three lucky winners will receive a copy of Sherryl Woods’ new novel A Chesapeake Shores Christmas. To enter please leave a comment about why you love Sherryl Woods’ stories or holiday-themed romances or e-mail here with your comment, mailing address and the subject line “A Chesapeake Shores Christmas Giveaway.” One entry per person. The contest winners will be revealed October 13th.
BLOG UPDATE 10/14/2010: And the winners are ... Loretta, Cheryl C. and Crystal B.