Lightning storm inspires romantic suspense novel

By From page B7 | August 23, 2013

While writing postcards in her rented castle in the Dordogne region of France, the turret tower where Sherry Joyce sat was struck by lightning. Terrified and unable to sleep that night, a romantic suspense was born — “The Dordogne Deception.”

Meet the El Dorado Hills author at her book launch from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30 at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., Suite 113, in El Dorado Hills Town Center.

Enjoy French-themed music, light snacks and a drawing during the author’s book signing. Raffle items include dinner for two, gift certificates and boutique wines. Joyce said merci to sponsors Chez Daniel, Mélange and Joyce Vineyards.

A pre-signing happy hour event will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Bistro 33 and is open to the public.

“The Dordogne Deception” was inspired by extensive travel over many years throughout France, England and Switzerland as well as the familiarity of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Experiencing a fantasy week in a castle and becoming part of life in quaint French hamlets and villages was a dream vacation for Sherry and her husband Jim.

Evoking her experience as a Silicon Valley vice president of human relations, Sherry has created an appealing main character, Cherise Eden, 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.

Unlike a gothic romance, book lovers will recognize the contemporary problems and challenges that face the characters.

Readers of “The Dordogne Deception” will be transported to elegant, exotic and familiar locations — San Francisco, England, Switzerland and France and vicariously share Cherise’s joy of owning a castle. Following her journey of false relationships, suspense for her survival and discovery of authentic love at last provides a satisfying conclusion.

With its contemporary setting “The Dordogne Deception” reflects the reality that even powerful executive women make mistakes when it comes to love and romance. With perseverance and introspective honesty both men and women can find true love in their lives.

“By overcoming life’s obstacles, we gain strength,” Sherry said. “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.

“In ‘The Dordogne Deception’ we discover that decisions made during a time of vulnerability can be lethal,” she continued. “We all make mistakes and we are all vulnerable when we are hurting. Genuine love requires honest self-appraisal, trust and integrity.”

She admits that she is reading differently now.

“I read all the time but now find myself analyzing characters, plot and dialogue differently than when I used to read for pleasure,” she said. “I still enjoy many authors’ works and it’s wonderful to become so engrossed in a book that I’m not thinking about how it’s written.”

Her 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.”

Joyce reads everything from romance genre to memoirs (Steve Jobs and Andre Agassi) and particularly enjoys historical biographies (Catherine the Great and Cleopatra), murder/suspense thrillers (Ludlum and Grisham).

“Nicholas Sparks’ books make me weepy as I am a hopeless romantic myself,” she confessed.

Writing and directing projects for her business, SJ Designs Interiors, could easily fill every hour of her day. Yet she finds time to volunteer as a bereavement counselor at her church, Holy Trinity in El Dorado Hills.

“I feel privileged to be part of the path of acceptance and growth of those who have suffered such loss,” she explained. “In the process of helping others, I’ve learned a greater compassion and connectedness.”

Sherry’s interests include playing golf, participating in book clubs and spoiling her cherished West Highland terriers, Kelsey and Daisy.

Travel is a passion and shared joy with her husband. They are planning a special trip throughout the United States to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

For more information visit Her book is available on her Website and and

Democrat Staff

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