Sheri Reynolds 

Best-selling Oprah pick

Reynolds is now doing what she wanted to all along: writing and teaching. She moved to Norfolk in 1997 to teach at Old Dominion University, where she occupies the Perry Morgan chair of Southern literature.

Reynolds, 34, currently lives in Cape Charles, an "eccentric little town and a good place to write" on the Eastern Shore. She says she doesn't mind the long commute: "I love that drive out over the bay — all that sky and water!"

Reynolds spends her summers writing. She's revising her new novel, "Orabelle's Wheelbarrow," for publication by Harmony Books next year. Reynolds describes it as "a novel about promises … and what happens to a promise after it's broken."

There's no disputing that Oprah's choice of her novel launched Reynolds' career. But the author knows she holds her future in her own hands.

"Oprah picked my book; she didn't pick me," she writes. "The book has a life outside of me — and it is out in the world doing what it needs to do while I sit on the porch in my rocking chair and do my writing." — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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