Sherry Lucille loves to tell stories and she loves to inspire people.
“I want people to read my stories and feel encouraged. I want them to know that if you persevere at something you really want to do, you can accomplish it,” she says. “Don’t give up and don’t ever think that it can’t happen.”
Her new book “Love Dreams” is a sweet, captivating tale of second chances and redemption that took Lucille seven years to finish. “I kept saying to myself that this one would go faster because I know what I’m doing,” Lucille smiles. “But it did not go faster at all. Writing a novel is hard because it takes so long; especially if you don’t have dedicated time to do it. I just don’t always have that time to sit down and work and work and work and work.”
Hannah Sandvold, Lucille’s neighbor, did the beautiful cover work for “Love Dreams,” the second in Lucille’s trilogy of love novels, which starts up where her last novel “Love Changes” left off (see synopsis in the sidebar).
“‘Love Changes’ had that whole big interracial love story between Shelly, who is black, and Mark, who is white,” Lucille says. “James, a black man, was her love interest who got thrown aside. The new book delves into his past so we know who James is. It talks about him growing up in the ‘50s. In 1969, he’s at Shelly’s wedding and a bit bitter about the whole thing.”
“Love Dreams” is James’s chance to explore the interracial relationships, an ongoing theme in Lucille’s books.
“The reason I chose this time period of the ‘50s and ‘60s is that I wanted it to be difficult for the interracial relationships to happen,” Lucille says. “I wanted to deal with that. If I wrote about it now, a lot of people would be like, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Plus, it’s a very interesting time period with the Civil Rights Movement.
“Being over 50 years old myself, I can still remember the Civil Rights Movement,” Lucille adds. “My great grandmother was coming out of slavery and I got to see the first black president. Nobody who is much younger than me is going to be able to say that they’ve seen that all.”
When writing novels that take place in certain periods, you have to be careful about the terminology, slang, and phrases that you use. Lucille studied the era extensively and often consulted people as she wrote her novel. “One time I wrote that they were ‘cruising around him like a satellite’ but then I had to stop and think, ‘When were satellites invented?’” Lucille says. “I sometimes have to adjust things that are common in our language to make them fit in the ‘50s and ‘60s narrative.”
Lucille was ecstatic when she got plenty of positive feedback from her first novel “Love Changes.” She’s hoping that her newest novel will delight and entertain people, too, but also make them think.
“I just write what I love and I hope that people love it as much as I do,” Lucille says. “These stories are all in my head and they are begging to be written. The characters are alive to me. I don’t feel like I have a choice but to tell the story as I see it in my head. It almost doesn’t feel like I’m making it up — more like I’m recording.”
Do stories and plot lines come to her at weird times?
“Always at three o’clock in the morning,” laughs Lucille. “All of my stories come to me between 2:30 and 3 a.m. in the morning. I’ll be in bed and wake up and turn on a little bit of light and start writing it down in my notepad. The characters are all just there doing the scene, so I just write down what they do or say.”
Beyond being an author, Lucille is also a Certified Life Coach and is a member of the SisterSpeakOnline Author's Ring She is available to speak on many topics including the writing process, self-concept, conflict resolution, and achieving your Technicolor dream. She conducts workshops on African American youth issues and teens living well. “The reason that I went into counseling is because I feel I lived a very interesting life as a young person. I did some things and lived to tell about it that I wouldn’t want other kids to do,” Lucille says. “I always felt that I can help young people not to do certain things. I feel like that is part of my calling — to help people make the best decisions that they can and to live in their destiny and their purpose.”
Lucille has spent over three decades working with youth through her professional work as a school counselor and through her work in the community teaching and coaching dance. She adores helping young people to understand that their lives are precious, meaningful, and having purpose. Her stories always convey this message.
“Everything that I write, I’m writing about destiny and purpose and fulfilling it and not getting sidetracked or even destroyed by negative things that have happened to you,” she says. “That’s why my stories always end happy.”
What does she hope readers get out of her new book?
“That there is such a thing as real love and that no matter what you go through and no matter how hard it is, if you persevere, there’s always tomorrow,” she says. “There’s always an opportunity and it usually is a brighter day. So don’t give up. I think in my own life at one point I felt suicidal, and I love my life so much right now. I love who I am. But what if I had totally given into that? I wouldn’t be here today.”
Lucille uses that line of thinking a lot in her counseling when she talks to kids. “I tell them to just hold on because I was right where they are now,” she says. “You’d be surprised how things change in even just a few days. Things will look so much different. I just really want people to understand that no matter what you are going through, it can be better if you hold on.”
There will be a book signing for “Love Dreams” at Goodman South Madison Library, 2222 South Park St., on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2 p.m. Come and meet the author and get a signed copy of the book. For more information, visit www.sherrylucille.com
The third novel of Lucille’s trilogy, “Love Promises,” is already in the works.