BELLVILLE – Kerry Winfrey has found her niche with romantic comedies.
The Bellville native and 2004 Clear Fork graduate has a new novel coming out Tuesday. It’s called “Not Like the Movies” and is a sequel to last year’s “Waiting for Tom Hanks.”
Winfrey’s new book is her fourth overall and second romance novel. Her first two efforts were young adult novels. The last two books have targeted adult readers.
“It (writing) is definitely what I was always interested in. I was a big reader as a kid,” Winfrey said. “I’ve always been drawn to stories that can take you out of your world.”
Now living in Columbus, Winfrey doesn’t write as often as one would think.
“I have an almost 4-year-old,” she explained. “I mostly just write while he’s asleep.”
In Winfrey’s last book, readers fell for the quirky protagonist Annie, who fell in love with a movie star, and her sassy best friend Chloe.
Publishers Weekly raved about “Waiting for Tom Hanks,” saying, “An endearing, klutzy heroine elevates this utterly charming romance.”
Annie and Chloe are back in “Not Like the Movies,” this time with Chloe as the narrator, taking readers on a journey into her will-they-or-won’t-they workplace romance.
Chloe is an independent, self-sufficient young lady who fills her world with bright colors and upbeat music to distract herself from her troubles such as her father, who has Alzheimer’s; her mother, who abandoned the family years ago; and her absent brother, who ran away to New York to escape his problems.
She has no time for romance.
But it’s hard to ignore romance when Annie has written a movie about her life, complete with a romance based on Chloe and her boss. Since love has failed her time and time again, it’s hard to admit that her life could really be like in the movies.
Kirkus Reviews calls “Not Like the Movies” a “quirky novel perfect for rom-com fans and readers looking for a little escapism.”
Winfrey already has a deal to write two more books. She could not have predicted such success when she was majoring in creative writing at Miami (Ohio) University.
“There are a lot of challenges in the road to getting published,” Winfrey said. “Getting to write this many books is a dream.”
Her two tips for aspiring writers are to read a lot and not give up.
“This is a career with a lot of rejections,” Winfrey said. “You have to be very determined.”
She says she is anxious for readers to take in her latest. Winfrey finished writing “Not Like the Movies” last summer. Edits took place in the fall.
Winfrey’s latest work will be available wherever books are sold. She is hosting a virtual event on Facebook on July 14. The COVID-19 pandemic makes book tours an impossibility for the time being.
Winfrey also hasn’t gotten back to her hometown, where her parents still live, very often because of the shutdown.
“In non-virus times, I come back a lot,” she said.
In the meantime, Winfrey will keep writing.
“My goal is to keep publishing books as long as people will still read them and buy them,” she said.
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