Warming up to a former elementary school student inspired an entire book series for this author. Often, it’s the unexpected that can make the life of a writer so exciting.
by Sherile Reilly
I’m retired now, but my first career was as an elementary school teacher.
One year I had a boy placed in my class who didn’t like me, and unfortunately, the feeling was mutual. Believing the boy would be much happier with a different teacher, I suggested to administration that they place him in a different class. The assistant principal informed me that I’d be good for the boy and left him in my class.
As the year progressed, we grew to like each other very much.
In June, when all the other kids had left for summer holidays, the boy stayed at his desk and he said point blank, “I didn’t like you at the beginning of the year.” (Don’t you love how kids get right to the point? I love their honesty.)
I thought a moment and decided to be honest with him too. I shared that he wasn’t my favorite student at the beginning of the year, either. We both accepted the idea that we could change our minds. We had a newfound mutual respect and appreciation.
Over the years, I never forgot that boy. I decided I needed to write a story about a woman who didn’t want a particular child. I wanted to show the love, understanding, and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.
When I finished the book Jamie’s Choice, I knew I hadn’t finished my characters’ stories. A mystery had to be solved and the love story needed time to develop. It took two more books to complete the Bringing Jamie Home series.
After I completed them, I wondered what my next novel would be. I’ve always loved historical stories, and I’d been told my voice suited the genre.
Where to begin? I dreaded all the extensive research.
I didn’t want my heroines relying on a cell phone or a car to get them out of a dangerous location. However, I wanted their world to be a place on the cusp of new inventions and more rights for women.
I wanted to show the love, understanding, and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.
With this idea in mind, I chose the late Victorian era with the stories being set in America. I wrote Curse of the Lord of Darkness. The gothic setting is a Victorian mansion in Connecticut. There’s a mystery and a paranormal element.
Although I’ve toured old houses and historic sites, it’s very different having to write about them. Thankfully, with the internet, I was able to do research on clothing, food, houses, buildings, and other topics. My research has taken me to hundreds of sites and many books.
During the pandemic, my writer friends were holding weekly Zoom meetings. At the virtual Christmas party, we discussed writing an anthology. The idea skyrocketed and eight authors, with over ninety published books, decided to write and package their new Christmas novels.
The anthology Hugs, Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes contains books ranging from historical to contemporary to fantasy, but all are “sweet romances” with feel-good love stories that everyone from teens to grandmothers will enjoy.
The group agreed on a giveaway price of ninety-nine cents for all eight books in the digital collection—their gift to romance readers everywhere. The collection is described as “Straight from our hearts to yours, eight enchanting love stories to enjoy during the holiday season and all year long.” Each contains a romantic “mistletoe moment”, and an uplifting, happily-ever-after conclusion.
Hugs, Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes is available wherever e-books are sold.
Sherile Reilly, artist and published author of Curse of the Lord of Darkness, has ballooned over the table lands of Northern Australia, whitewater rafted in Alaska, and visited Lenin’s tomb in Moscow. She writes clean romances, both contemporary and historical paranormal. Sherile is best known for her Bringing Jamie Home trilogy, and will soon release the first book of her new historical-paranormal romance series, The Spirit Keepers. At university, she studied piano and voice, and sang in operas and musicals, including Carmen, La Bohème, and The Sound of Music.
She draws upon her academic research skills to bring authenticity to her historical romances, her musical skills to bring lyricism to her prose, and her artistic skills to paint vivid pictures. Connect with Sherile on Twitter and Facebook, and at her website.
P.S. Your friends will love this article. And they’ll love you for sharing it with them: