The acclaimed author of Talk of the Town and dozens of Regency romance titles may be a local philanthropist, a couture connoisseur, a Fine Arts advocate, and a world traveler in her spare time, but her greatest role is as a storyteller.
Sherrill Bodine’s latest book, A Black Tie Affair, features a fashion curator based in Chicago who finds herself affected by a vintage gown filled with toxins akin to a truth serum. When the gowns mysteriously disappear, she discovers that in order to solve the mystery, she’ll have to work with the most eligible Chicago bachelor – her previous love interest. Their quest to get to the bottom of it leads them down many familiar and unknown roads, including the road to their shared past.
Though Bodine has visited Mexico, attended the Milan fashion week and a wedding in Transylvania, and has lived in Los Angeles, New York and even Charleston, West Virginia, she proudly calls Chicago home - as do her characters. The city notoriously portrayed by its meat packing and morally fibrous history dons a more elegant attire in Bodine’s novels. “There is definitely a café society going on in Chicago, and there are a lot of wonderful things here. It’s a city that has everything: theatre, symphony, a fabulous opera house, but you can actually get around. There’s almost like a small-town vibe in Chicago, and I think the people are wonderful. It’s a city you embrace.”
As the Philanthropic Chair for the Service Club of Chicago, the oldest philanthropic women’s group in the city, Bodine has an opportunity to give back to the community she adores. She is also actively involved in the Parkways Foundation, the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, a definite inspiration for A Black Tie Affair.
At the heart of Bodine’s philanthropic work and fiction is the importance of living an active life, of creating meaningful relationships, and of meeting fascinating people. “First of all,” she says happily, “if you’re going to write powerful characters, you need to meet a few. You have to get out and live to be able to write about it.” Her focus on creating compelling characters and watching them relate to one another has kept her readers hooked, though she would add that it’s more than just the romance. “Think about it,” Bodine explains, “A boy and a dog. Sisters. Friends. Relationships are at the heart of all good books.”
While A Black Tie Affair hits bookshelves on January 1, Bodine is hard at work on the next in the series, focusing on the sisters of fashion curator Athena Smith and their budding new relationships with the Clayworth clan.
Sherrill Bodine’s launch party for A BLACK TIE AFFAIR will be held on January 7th, 2010 at the Palmer House (17 E. Monroe, Chicago) from 5:30-8:30pm. She would love to see her readers there. To RSVP through Michigan Avenue Magazine, please call 312-753-6208 or email ABlackTieAffairRSVP@MichiganAveMag.com.