Familiar Faces: Inspiration for new book struck writer like bolt of lightning

By: Menka Belgal, Telegraph Correspondent
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Local author, Sherry Joyce, will sign her debut novel, “The Dordogne Deception,” at Face in a Book, 6-8 p.m., Aug. 30. French music, a raffle, and wine from the Joyce Family Vineyard will be featured.

Local writer Sherry Joyce is thrilled that her debut novel, eight years in the making, is published this month. The plot of “The Dordogne Deception” includes an attractive female executive who escapes from San Francisco to a castle in southwestern France to heal the wounds from her unforeseen divorce. A cunning guest charms the new owner of the castle, luring her toward a deadly deception. A retired detective residing in the English Cotswolds investigates an improbable accidental death leading him to the French castle where he prevents a murder and discovers love in the outcome. The Telegraph caught up with the author.

What inspired you to write this book?

While writing postcards in our rented castle in the Dordogne region of France, the turret tower where I sat was struck by lightning. Jolts of charged energy surged through my body. Terrified and unable to sleep that night, a romantic suspense was born, “The Dordogne Deception.”

What is the overall theme of your book?

By overcoming life’s obstacles, we gain strength. The mere desire to find love and be loved is not sufficient—trust and truth are essential components of love, helping us to overcome loss and deception.

Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?

“The Dordogne Deception” will satisfy the reader’s taste for a good romantic suspense. All the elements are there — elegant European settings, an appealing heroine, a villainous scoundrel, deception, murder and a gratifying “happily-ever-after” conclusion.

Is there any subject currently trending in the news that relates to your book?

In today’s “Sex and The City” appearance-focused mindset of young professional women, “The Dordogne Deception” provides a reminder that character goes much deeper than a man’s good looks and appearance of financial wealth.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing?

In (the book) we discover that decisions made during a time of vulnerability can be lethal. We all make mistakes and we are all vulnerable when we are hurting. Genuine love requires honest self-appraisal, trust and integrity.

What did you learn during the course of writing your first book?

I’m blessed to have an editor I adore and can work with collaboratively. I work best side-by-side with an editor who understands me and my writing voice, works to improve that voice, but lets me be myself. Now that I have a strong grasp of the manuscript-to-publication process, writing the second and third books will be much easier because I no longer wake in the middle of the night wondering, “Why am I doing this? Is anyone ever going to read my book?”

Did anyone mentor you?

Cindy Sample, a local El Dorado Hills author, guided me in the publication of the book. Cindy has written two books and is currently working on her third.

What genres-authors do you like to read?

My favorites this past year have been Kate Morton’s “The Distant Hours,” Lauren Hildebrand’s Unbroken, Lisa See’s “Shanghai Girls,” Tan Twan Eng’s “The Gift of Rain,” Alice Hoffman’s “The Dovekeepers,” and William Landy’s nail-biter, “Defending Jacob.” I read everything from romance genre to memoirs (Steve Jobs and Andre Agassi) and I particularly enjoy historical biographies (Catherine the Great and Cleopatra), murder/suspense thrillers (Ludlum and Grisham). I confess that Nicholas Sparks’ books make me weepy as I am a hopeless romantic myself.

What other interests, causes or passions do you have?

As a member of Holy Trinity Church in El Dorado County, one of my greatest satisfactions has been my volunteer work as a bereavement counselor. Serving as a co-facilitator, I learn more than I give during the weighty sessions and I feel privileged to be part of the path of acceptance and growth of those who have suffered such loss.

Travel is a shared joy and passion and my husband and I are planning a special trip throughout the United States to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I’ve discovered that, living life to the fullest and remaining open to the next experience that beckons — you never know where the next idea for a novel will come from.