Author Profiles are contributed by Chris Bacon, Mason County District Library.

Sherryl Woods

Sherryl Woods is an author with more than 100 romance and mystery novels to her credit. She grew up in Virginia and she graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a journalist with most of those years working as a television critic for newspapers in Ohio and Florida. She also worked as a coordinator for a motivational program for the more than 8,000 employees at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center. She has lived in numerous states in her lifetime including Ohio, Florida, and California. Today she divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida and Colonial Beach, Virginia. When she isn't writing or reading, Sherryl pursues and follows many of her other interests including gardening, tennis, theater, and ballet. She also is a huge fan of baseball and loves the movie “Bull Durham.”


Her first book, “Restoring Love,” was published in 1982 by Dell Candlelight Ecstasy under the pen name of Suzanne Sherrill. Her second book, “Sand Castles,” she used a different pen name of Alexandra Kirk and it too was published 1982 by Bantam. She started to use her own name when she switched publishers to the Second Chance at Love line at Berkley Publishing. Within four years of her first novel Cherryl began writing full-time and also started her long career at Silhouette Books with “Not at Eight, Darling,” a story set in the world of television, which she knew all too well from her journalism days. In addition to her more than seventy-five romances she has written thirteen mysteries with nine in the Amanda Roberts series and four in the Molly DeWitt series. Her latest book is the thirteenth book in one of her most popular series “Chesapeake Shores.” The new book called “Willow Brook Road” follows Carrie Winters after she returns home from getting her fashion career destroyed in Europe and her heart broken. But, a chance meeting with the new guy in town might just solve her career and love life problems. The Chesapeake Shores” series is so popular the Hallmark Channel began production in September 2015 of a movie based on the series with the possibility of making it into a regular weekly series. Other popular series of Sherryl's include “The Sweet Magnolias” and “The Vows” series.

Sherryl has said when she first began to write fiction she found it hard because she was so use to writing based on facts and quotes from her newspaper days. However, once she learned to use her imagination there was no stopping her as she has written over 100 novels in twenty plus years of writing. Even though she uses her imagination to make up characters, stories, and whole communities all of her stories are grounded in reality so her readers can not only relate to the characters but the stories themselves. She loves to hear it when readers tell her that they had been through exactly the same thing themselves and they felt really connected to the character. And the heroines in her stories typically not only survive they thrive and became role models for many girls and young women.

Authors similar to Sherryl Woods include Mariah Stewart, Emily March, Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, and Robyn Carr.

So if you are looking for a good book with a little bit of romance or a little bit of mystery and the characters are so real they could be your neighbors and the stories are so personal that you feel what the characters feel you should give Sherryl Woods a try. You just might find yourself where everything is new, but you feel like you are there with the characters as they face the challenges of living and loving.

Sandra Brown

 

Sandra Brown was in born March, 1948 in Waco, Texas. She was raised in Fort Worth, TX. After graduating high school she went to Texas Christian University and majored in English, but left before she graduated in 1968 to marry her husband, Michael Brown who was a former television news anchor and award-winning documentarian of Dust to Dust. Sandra soon found a job as a weathercaster at a local station in Tyler, TX and then returned to the Dallas-Fort Wort area where she became a reporter for WFAA. It wasn’t until 1981 when Sandra started her writing career when her husband dared her to after she was fired from her reporter job. Over the past 35 years, she has published nearly 70 novels and had more than 50 New York Times bestsellers. And in 2008, she was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters from TCU. Today she lives in Arlington, TX with her husband.

 

Sandra is involved in many charity organizations including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, her brother-in-law died from ALS, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and their fight against breast cancer, Happy Hill Farm Academy to help children at risk, and many literacy advocacy groups. And when she’s not writing she also pursues several hobbies, which include watching movies, traveling, reading, and hosting get-togethers with family and friends.

 

Her first book “Love’s Encore” was published in 1981 under the pen name Rachel Ryan. She has written under two other pen names in her career including Laura Jordan and Erin St. Claire. She had to this because she was writing for several different publishers at the same time. Today she only writes under Sandra Brown. Sandra writes several series and single titles in both romance and thriller suspense. Some of her more popular series include “Texas Tyler Family” and “Mason Sisters.” Her latest book “Friction” was released in 2015 and follows a Texas Ranger as he fights to keep his daughter, clean up his reputation, and track down a killer and the female judge caught in the middle of the quest.

 

Sandra writes one book a year because she says she wants to give the story justice by taking the time to develop and research the story idea and characters. All of her characters and stories are from her own imagination and not based on any real life people or experiences she has had. The characters are unique unto themselves and her stories are either gripping for her suspense novels or extremely endearing for her romance novels. Both genres’ characters are real world people and grounded letting readers connect with them on a personal level. Her plots can be complex, but always entertaining and real page turners. Her stories are always peppered with memorable moments and plot twists that can take a story a completely different direction than what a reader would suspect.

 

Authors that are similar to Sandra Brown are Anne Stuart, Linda Howard, Beverly Barton, Lisa Jackson, Karen Robards, Tami, Hoag, and Kay Hooper.

So if you are looking for a thriller that will keep you glued to the book’s pages or a romance that will make you believe in true love again you should give Sandra Brown a try because no matter what genre you choose you will experience read about remarkable characters and an unforgettable story.

 

C.J. Box

 

Charles James (C.J.) Box, Jr. was born in Wyoming and has lived out West his whole life. He is a graduate of the University of Denver. His first job was as a reporter for a small town in Wyoming, but he has also worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, editor, and until just a few years ago he owned an international tourism marketing firm for 24 years with his wife Laurie. To say Box is an avid outdoorsman would be understatement. Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He also has served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Today Box and his wife live outside of Cheyenne, WY with their three daughters Molly, Becky and Roxanne.

 

Box has always had an interest in writing. All through high school and college he worked on student newspapers. His first job was working for a small weekly newspaper in Wyoming. Box is most famous for his bestselling Joe Picket series, but he also has found success writing stand-alone novels. The Picket series revolves around the title character Joe Picket, a Wyoming game warden. There are currently 13 novels in the series with the 14th, “Off the Grid”, set to be released in early 2016. Box did not find success quickly. The first Joe Picket novel, “Open Season,” was published in 2001 after Joe and his agent had been shopping it around to publishers for over 5 years. After its release the novel was praised by critics and Box was on his way to becoming a bestselling author. Box’s writing life is a family business as his wife and kids provide feedback and editing before he submits his work to publishers.

 

Real world experiences provide the background for Joe Picket novels and they are set in real time. Box writes one every year and that time passage also occurs in his novels so characters continue to grow from book to book as time passes. Along with battling poachers Joe Picket has taken on environmental terrorists, rogue federal land managers, animal mutilators, crazed cowboy hitmen, corrupt bureaucrats, homicidal animal rights advocates, and violent dysfunctional families. Box is proud of the fact that his readers are able to connect with Joe as Joe is not a typical hero. Joe’s happily married with a family and he makes mistakes. Box says that makes him human and more real to his readers.

 

Box’s newest novel “Badlandspublished in August 2015, is not a Joe Picket novel, but instead is a follow up to last summer’s thriller, “The Highway.” It brings back the character Cassie Dewell, a deputy sheriff who has moved from Montana to a shale oil boomtown in North Dakota.  She still tracking the serial killer, the Lizard King and now must also deal with biker gangs, drugs, and a murder witnessed by a twelve year old suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. The next Joe Picket novel “Off the Grid” will be released in early 2016. It will follow Joe as he tries and save a friend from a domestic terror cell and the elite special ops group that hired him to take it down.

 

Authors similar to Box include Craig Johnson, Steve Hamilton, Michael Koryta, Dana Stabenow, Thomas Perry, William Kent Krueger, and John Hart.

So if you are looking for a real guy trying to do the right thing no matter the cost against the backdrop of the wilds of the modern West, you should give CJ Box a try and follow a tenacious man try to bring justice to the wild west of today.

 

Mark Twain

 

Samuel Langhorne Clemens or Mark Twain as he is better known was born November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, and died April 21, 1910 in Reddington, Connecticut. He was the sixth of seven children, but only three of his siblings survived childhood. When he was four, Twain's family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port town on the Mississippi River, which was Twain’s inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg found in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In 1847, when Twain was 11, his father, an attorney and judge, died of pneumonia. The next year Twain left school after the fifth grade to become a printer's apprentice. In 1851, he began working as a typesetter and contributor of articles and humorous sketches for the Hannibal Journal, a newspaper Orion owned. When he was 18, he left Hannibal and worked as a printer in New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join his brother Orion in Nevada to try his hand at mining.   He was not successful at this enterprise.

 

In February 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon, a woman who came from a wealthy and liberal family. The couple lived for most of their time together in Connecticut. They had one son who died at 19 months and three daughters. The couple's marriage lasted 34 years, until Olivia's death in 1904.

 

Over his life time Twain became very active in anti-imperialist movements, fighting for civil rights, and pro-union movements. Twain was also a huge advocate for advances in science and technology and how they could improve the world. Unfortunately, Twain was not financially savvy investing in many new inventions and businesses that were failures including a failed typesetting machine and a publishing house.   And even though he made a small fortune through his writings and speaking engagements he and his family at times lived almost in poverty.

 

Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse, but eventually he moved on to writing about the darker sides of mankind.   His first widely published work was in 1865 was called “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It was published in the New York Sunday Press and garnered worldwide attention. He continued writing short stories and about his travels throughout his career, but he is probably best known for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” published 1876 and it’s offshoot story “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” published in 1884 in the UK and 1885 in the US. Both stories follow the adventures of young boys discovering the good and bad of the world outside their small rural communities.   A complete list of all of Twain’s works is nearly impossible due to the amount of his writings that include articles in newspapers, magazines, speeches, lectures, and the fact he also used several different pen names in his career besides Mark Twain, including Josh and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.

 

If you are a fan of classic tales of world exploration and family intrigue and such literary greats as Charles Dickens, Aesop, Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, or Earnest Hemingway you should give Mark Twain a try. You will find his stories and tales just as engrossing and thrilling as these and other historically great authors.

So if you are looking to read and experience how life was like back in the 19th century and discover the good and bad of people give Mark Twain a try and become entranced with the lives and settings of his unique and unforgettable characters as they discover the best and worst of the world and the people and places in it.