The writing bug bit hard and early for Bennettsville, SCnative Cheris F. Hodges. As a student at MarlboroCountyHigh School, Hodges knew she was going to be a writer. She joined the school's newspaper staff and decided journalism was the way to go.
Upon graduating in 1995, she enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University and majored in journalism, all the while working on her novels.
While working at the Covington News in Covington, Georgia, Hodges wrote and self-published "Searching For Paradise."
"After covering police and courts all day, I needed an escape. So, I pulled out my laptop and started writing 'Searching,'" she said. Fiction had always been an escape for Hodges, she said.
After completing her first novel, she tried, unsuccessfully, to find an agent and publisher. Determined to share her work with the world, Hodges used the internet publisher Iuniverse.com.
A year later, she completed her first romance novel, "Revelations." This time, she found an agent and a publisher that saw the value of her work.
Maryland agent Sha-Shana Crichton signed Hodges to her agency and, within months, she had a two-book deal with Genesis Press Inc.
"Revelations" went on to become one of Genesis's best sellers. Fans and critics alike lauded her second Genesis Press novel, "Cautious Heart".
Hodges sticks to her South Carolinaroots in her new novel, "A Love of Her Own," setting it in Columbia.
"A lot of people write books about the south and don't really capture the flavor of the Carolinas. I want to put South Carolinaand North Carolinaon the literary map. My next novel is even set in Bennettsville," she said.
Hodges, 28, is the features editor of The Charlotte Post and resides in Charlotte, NC. She is currently working on her next novel.
A Love of Her Own, the story of finding a love where you least expect it, is in stores in February 2005.