Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Man of My Schemes Leslie J. Sherrod

The Man of My Schemes

Having a fake boyfriend comes with a real price. It started with her co-workers and then spread 
to her sister-friends at church: the “must-have-a-man-marriage-baby-family-right-now-because-
you’re-not-getting-any-younger” fever. Tired of the merciless prying and invasive questions 
about her lack of a love life, thirty-four year old Berry Jenkins comes up with an elaborate plan 
to convince everyone she has finally landed the man of her dreams – she fakes it. However, her 
fool-proof conspiracy to pretend she’s met the perfect beau turns out to be proof of foolishness as 
her scheme of a made-up relationship spirals out of control.

Only a miracle will save Berry from her fairy-tale fantasy gone nightmare reality, which only 
worsens as her web of lies begins to unravel. Facing exposure, Berry fears that the trap she’s 
created for herself is too messy, too tangled – and maybe even too deadly – for her chance at 
love to survive.

Meet Author Leslie J. Sherrod

I met my first boyfriend working as a summer camp counselor for the Y when I was 19 years old. Actually, we’d met briefly a few months earlier at an on-campus ministry bowling event, but our friendship took root and blossomed over those humid, loud, long summer camp days in West Baltimore. We ended up in the same economics class that following fall semester – no small thing on a campus of 30,000. He was an artist and I was a writer. We both loved music and he accepted me – big glasses, pre-braces, nerdyisms and all. He proposed to me on graduation day three years later while we were still in our caps and gowns. We married the following June. It’s been sixteen years so far and three kids for us, and I still consider him my best friend. I share this because my latest novel hints at the elements of relationships, of self-doubt, of hopes, wishes, and dreams-come-true. The nostalgia of longing, the worry of being accepted. The desire for love. I am a licensed clinical social worker. I’ve worked with preschoolers, pregnant women, seniors, and everyone in between. One thing I’ve learned is that the desire for love is universal and the choices and steps people take – for good or for bad – usually are motivated by that desire, conscious or not, to feel 100% loved.

My tastes in books have varied like a pregnant woman’s cravings, but three consistent themes repeatedly surface. Mystery. History. Diversity. I love books that are suspenseful, that keep me guessing until the end. Mary Higgins Clark and Walter Mosley set that standard for me. I also love books set in different time periods. I fell in love with the Harlem Renaissance in middle school which meant I was reading everything from Langston Hughes to Zora Neale Hurston before I finished eighth grade. Books that showcased the trials, tears, and indomitable spirit of those with brown skin like mine colored the way I began to see the world. Short stories, poetry, and novels penned by black authors during the twentieth century showed for me, a young girl growing up in Baltimore, the hope and horrors of life, the potential for beauty, the constant of change, and the possibility of love and growth. I’ve enjoyed hearing many other voices as well and have particularly enjoyed tales of coming-of-age, of social justice, of faith. As a writer, I’ve tried to draw from these various wells and pour who I am, what I know, and what I believe into the pages of my stories. 

Connect with Author Leslie J. Sherrod