Sherrilyn was born in Columbus, GA while her father was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA. Her father was a sergeant in the Army and her mother a convenience store clerk who used to take Sherrilyn to work with her where Sherri would stock shelves and price items. Sherrilyn’s father abandoned the family when Sherrilyn was eight (he returned to the family her senior year of high school), leaving her mother to raise Sherrilyn, her younger brother, and her older sister, Trish, who has severe cerebral palsy, alone.
Sherrilyn’s brother was sent to live with their grandparents in Atlanta, GA while Sherrilyn stayed in Columbus to help care for her sister. After almost two years of separation, the family was reunited when Sherrilyn and her mother and sister moved to Riverdale, Georgia.
Sherrilyn’s first recognition for her writing came in third grade when she penned an essay about her single mother for Mother’s Day, and it was followed a year later when she won a DAR Award for a historical story about a girl living in Colonial Virginia.
Sherrilyn was raised in the middle of eight boys, but only two of them were actually her brothers. The other six were her cousins who, due to family crisis, lived with her family off and on most of her early life and young adulthood. She also has two much older sisters.
Even as a child, Sherrilyn knew that she wanted to be a writer as it provided her an escape from an abusive childhood. She is a big advocate against child abuse and participates in numerous fundraisers to help other victims.
In kindergarten, she wrote in her Brownie manual that when she grew up, she wanted to become a writer and a mother. Yet neither of those ever came easy for her.
At age seven she wrote and illustrated her first novel, Sharron’s Secret, a horror story about a girl who uses her psychic powers to kill her brothers and take over her school–this was in 1972 before Stephen King published Carrie.
At fourteen, Sherrilyn made her first professional sale, and continued to write for school newspapers, yearbooks, local papers and magazines throughout high school and college.
She gained her love of horror, zombies and paranormal films and novels from her mother, who never censored what movies the young girl was allowed to watch. Her mother even took her to see Night of the Living Dead at a drive-in theater when she was only four years old.
Sherrilyn originally intended to major in sequential art in college so that she could work in the comic industry and develop her own series. Her dream was to one day work with Marvel or DC comics (her Dark-Hunter comics were turned down by Marvel, DC and Dark Horse back in the 1980s). She was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design, but was unable to afford the tuition to attend. She entered a state college instead (Georgia College) where she majored in English, hoping to be admitted into the Creative Writing program at the University of Georgia (she transferred there after her first two years at GC).
Her first quarter of college, she was placed in a remedial English class due to her dyslexia which resulted in a low score on the placement test. The first day of class, her professor realized the mistake and had her placed in an advanced English course that the professor also taught.
Sherrilyn spent two years as an English major and as an editor for the school paper. She applied three times for admission to the Creative Writing program at the University of Georgia, but was never admitted. After her third attempt, the professor in charge of the program asked her not to apply again as the program was designed for students who had a serious future in publishing and said that Sherrilyn lacked the talent it would take to be published in fiction, even though Sherrilyn had already published numerous short stories in magazines and journals. Those published works included the first Dark-Hunter short stories.
Disheartened, Sherrilyn tried to switch her major to journalism, but was unable to be admitted there because she couldn’t pass the typing test required of all students. Sherrilyn’s right hand is partially paralyzed, making it difficult for her to type on a standard typewriter.
With those doors closed to her, Sherrilyn switched majors to history.
When Sherrilyn was 20, she decided it was time to take her experience writing for magazines and parlay it into the book market. Just as she finished her first League manuscript that was based on several early drafts and prepared to send it to publishers, her older brother who was a staunch supporter of her work, died, and a devastated Sherrilyn lost the desire to write. That same brother had borrowed a typewriter from his roommate over the Christmas break so that she could type up her handwritten manuscripts for submission. His last words to her about her writing were, “I know this one’s a winner, baby. I can’t wait to see it in print.” That manuscript later become her novel, Born of Night.
Three years later, Sherrilyn moved to Richmond, Virginia to marry her boyfriend. While moving her things in, he came across her old manuscripts and writings, and asked her why she didn’t write any more.
Sherrilyn told him her desire to write had died with her brother and packed her manuscripts away. Due to the recession, Sherrilyn was unable to find a job of any kind. A childhood friend mentioned that the magazine she was editing needed several articles written and offered them to Sherrilyn. Although Sherrilyn had not written a word of fiction since her brother’s death, Sherrilyn agreed to write the articles.
As soon as she began the work, she once again began feeling that writing was something she had to do. Even though they had very little money, as soon as her then husband found out that she was writing again, he allowed her to buy a Brother word processor to be set it up in a corner of their apartment on a card table with a $10 steno chair. There in her corner, she dusted off her old manuscripts from college and set out to work.
Sadly, she almost lost all of her work that had been based on her college and childhood drafts when the wordprocessor broke down and her then husband adamantly refused to allow her to replace it because it was no longer under warranty. Had her mother not stepped in and allowed Sherrilyn to buy her first real computer and offered to make the payments for her daughter, Sherrilyn’s career would have been over before it started.
Two years later Sherrilyn sold her first book, Born of Night (the book she wrote in college), with five more sales coming quickly for other manuscripts she’d written in her teens. She won several awards and made several bestseller lists, but after the publication of her sixth novel she found herself unable to get another writing contract due to her husband’s interference with her first fiction contract that had upset her editor.
For a total of four and a half years (1994 – 1998), Sherrilyn was unable to sell any of her manuscripts.
While her career plummeted, Sherrilyn was in the midst of a great deal of turmoil in her personal life. Her father died in February 1995 from cancer. A very difficult pregnancy cost her her job. The baby arrived seven weeks early and was forced to spend weeks in the neo-natal intensive care unit, and Sherrilyn barely survived this delivery.
Because her former husband was just finishing law school where he’d refused to work while Sherrilyn worked three jobs to support the family, those medical bills cost the family everything.
As a result, Sherrilyn, while pregnant and their severely ill son were forced to live out of their car in the parking lot of a hotel in Columbus, MS until Sherrilyn was finally able to find lodging in a rundown apartment where neither the doors nor windows locked, and where roaches and rodents were rampant.
During that same year, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. This second pregnancy resulted in serious medical issues as well, causing Sherrilyn to be hospitalized for the majority of it.
Once her second baby was born and she was able to work again, Sherrilyn took a minimum wage job teaching computers in Jackson, MS. From there, she worked as a web developer, still writing at every spare moment. Her agent, who’d stayed with her through all the years she hadn’t been selling, continued to submit her work but every submission was turned down.
After almost thirty years of marriage and after filing a trademark suit against another author against Sherrilyn’s wishes, her ex abandoned Sherrilyn and their sons (one of whom was on a plane bound for Japan) in March 2018. On his way out the door, her ex stole all of the money from his sons’ accounts and placed it in an out-of-state bank. Her son, Madaug, landed in Japan to find that he had no money whatsoever and was forced to sleep on the ground until Sherrilyn could get money wired to him.
Sherrilyn was still embroiled in the trademark lawsuit her ex had started when he went missing without telling any of them that he intended to leave.
Unable to reach her ex, Sherrilyn’s attorneys refused to represent her in that trademark case. She was told that they needed her ex’s permission even though it was her money paying them and her career on the line.
During the trademark suit, one of Sherrilyn’s attorneys told her, “honey, you’re a woman in Williamson County (Tennessee). You can’t expect justice here. To our judges, this just looks like two women cat-fighting.”
After three years and after her ex had abandoned the family and drained accounts, the trademark suit was settled out of court.
Less than twenty-four hours after Sherrilyn settled that case, her ex filed for divorce while knowing that Sherrilyn had spent the night before in the ER for issues with her heart. He also filed on the anniversary of the day she buried her mother, knowing the emotional impact and devastation such an act would cause. It was also a Friday, at 5:00 PM when he had her served, knowing she wouldn’t be able to contact an attorney until Monday.
During the course of the three year divorce, her ex refused any and all offers of settlement. One offer even included giving him 100% of all her books and royalties just to stop torturing her and their children.
Her divorce was presided over by Judge Michael Binkley of Williamson County, Tennessee. A judge who was arrested in a prostitution sting, and then exonerated by disgraced Judge Casey Moreland. Prosecutors denounced Moreland by saying that his was “one of the most shocking cases of misconduct by a public official this district has ever seen.” Given the stories that others have shared with Sherrilyn and her own experiences in Tennessee, her opinion is that those prosecutors need to get out more.
Binkley has a history of persecuting anyone tied to the media or who has a large social media presence. When the Tennessee State Supreme Court reprimanded Binkley by name, they made reference to this video where Binkley is seen ordering attorneys to violate their attorney-client privilege and hand over their clients for his “punishment.” He also has a habit of violating civil and constitutional rights (he seized property of Sherrilyn’s and her sons that he had absolutely no authority over and held it for almost two years–using it as another means to emotionally torment the family). Sadly, Sherrilyn isn’t the only one Judge Binkley has persecuted and even the Court of Appeals slapped down another order he gave where he overstepped; read about that here. It should be noted that the attorney who started that action by asking Binkley to violate the woman’s constitutional rights, Elizabeth Russell (and Schell & Oglesby, LLC), represented Sherrilyn’s ex and also told lies about Sherrilyn and her family, while filing frivolous claims with the court. Williamson County Commissioner Sean Aiello from Schell & Oglesby, LLC was another gross violator of Sherrilyn’s rights, and another attorney who maliciously defamed her to the public while knowing good and well that he was lying. Her ex was also represented by the attorney in the trademark case who worked for the other author. Something Sherrilyn found incredulous for many reasons, one being that her ex complained all throughout the trademark case over the fact that he had no respect for said attorney and thought the man was an idiot who prolonged the trademark case in order to “milk his client” of money rather than represent the other author.
Because of Sherrilyn’s media presence and fan base, Binkley spent years persecuting Sherrilyn. One of his more egregious actions was sentencing her to ten days in jail after she followed his exact orders in his court and did what he asked her to do. As he did in the above Manookian case, Binkley lied on his court reports and claimed that Sherrilyn “stormed” out of his courtroom. A preposterous accusation given the fact that at the time she had a portion of her heal broken off her foot and was in a cast. She could barely walk on her injured foot. Sherrilyn attempted to set the record straight by contacting the Tennessean and the reporter. The reporter lied and said Sherrilyn couldn’t be reached for comment, even though Sherrilyn had provided context and the truth to the reporter through her emails.
It should also be noted that Sherrilyn’s aunt had been warned in advance by a mutual party prior to that court date that Binkley and company had planned to arrest Sherrilyn for no reason. It was why her brother, a former police officer, had driven from Atlanta to Franklin, Tennessee to bear witness to his sister’s injustice that day.
Judge Michael Binkley’s irrational conduct during that hearing was so egregious, that every police officer and county clerk she came into contact with apologized to Sherrilyn for the judge’s uncalled for actions.
One former Nashville officer who heard an audio tape of Judge Binkley screaming at Sherrilyn without cause and insulting her, while threatening to put her in jail for something she’d already handed in three times, said, “One expects a certain decorum from a court of law. Never in my fourteen years in uniform have I ever heard a judge scream at someone like that . . . Unbelievable.”
Binkley then used his unfounded conviction that violated Sherrilyn’s Constitutional Rights to bully and intimidate Sherrilyn for the duration of her case. He refused to allow her or her counsel to defend her side. And without allowing anyone to speak on her behalf, Binkley again violated her Civil and Constitutional Rights by having a deputy and her ex’s attorneys from Schell & Oglesby enter her home and confiscate personal property that Binkley had no legal jurisdiction over. Property he held for almost two years, all the while refusing to have a hearing or to have it returned to its rightful owners. Sherrilyn, her friends and sons were held prisoners for hours while her home was illegally searched and personal items belonging to her sons, her brother, and others were removed without a written warrant or a bond, or a proper hearing.
Those who participated in the unconstitutional search and seizure from Schell & Oglesby refused to leave any kind of receipt with Sherrilyn for hundreds of items they improperly removed from her home.
Michael Binkley then went on to order her home seized and all the proceeds for the sale of it and her cars to be put into a “legal fund” to pay Binkley’s former business partners at Schell & Oglesby, while refusing to allow Sherrilyn’s attorney to be paid. Sherrilyn’s fans kindly set up a Go Fund Me page to help her after all of her money had been taken from her without a proper hearing on the matter. Binkley also threatened to take that money, too, even though he had no authority over it.
Sherrilyn’s daughter-in-law, a Japanese native, was pregnant at the time they were thrown out of their home, and her youngest son was still in high school.
The man who bought her home was also a victim of her ex’s attorneys at Schell & Oglesby (the same law firm that Judge Binkley founded).
The Schell & Oglesby attorneys also continued to threaten and bully Sherrilyn by telling her that they would take away all of her characters, worlds and books because Judge Binkley would do whatever they wanted and that she was powerless to stop them.
While paying ridiculous legal fees to his former business associates at Schell & Oglesby, Binkley refused to allow Sherrilyn to have the money she needed for medical care or to buy her prescription blood pressure medication that her life depends on.
After depleting Sherrilyn of every major asset she had, and running through all of her money to the point that her ex’s attorneys at Schell & Oglesby realized they had no money left for trial, they forced Sherrilyn into a settlement by holding the threat of jail over her head; along with threatening to jail Sherrilyn if she didn’t surrender the private information for her fans. Fans who had already been bullied by Schell & Oglesby’s attorneys who filed a false report with the FBI who then showed up at some of Sherrilyn’s fan’s doorsteps to intimidate and threaten them.
The Schell & Oglesby’s attorneys also sent the FBI to Sherrilyn’s door with a false allegation to intimidate her and her sons while she was in bankruptcy.
In the end, Sherrilyn walked away broke, but she had the one and only thing she’d asked for in the very beginning: the rights to all of her books. But this only after her ex’s attorney had her friends and her husband attack Sherrilyn and her fans online through Sherrilyn’s social media.
Williamson County Commissioner Sean Aiello of Schell & Oglesby, LLC also knowingly and maliciously lied to the public by saying Sherrilyn dropped the charges against her ex for poisoning her. Sherrilyn did not drop the charges. After they had seized all of her money and left her and her son without groceries, the bankruptcy trustee who bragged that he was in charge and that Sherrilyn had no say in what happened in her life or with her property as he was the one in charge of all matters involving Sherrilyn, dropped the charges while Sherrilyn protested his actions every step of the way. Sean Aiello from Schell & Oglesby, LLC was well aware of this fact at the time he lied to the media in order to defame Sherrilyn.
It should also be noted that they bragged that they had hand-selected this particular trustee to take over Sherrilyn’s life and deprive her of her basic liberties and strip her of all her assets. Sherrilyn was in a Chapter 11, not a Chapter 7, because Judge Binkley at the behest of the Schell & Oglesby’s attorneys refused to allow her to transfer money from one banking account to another to pay her bills that included IRS payments required by law. Every time Sherrilyn attempted to make a transfer to pay her bills, the Schell & Oglesby attorneys and Binkley slapped her with a contempt motion.
When Sherrilyn finally stood up to them after months of being threatened, bullied, humiliated and drained of everything she’d worked for, they filed a motion in Federal Court to have her Chapter 11 converted to a 7 even though Sherrilyn didn’t meet the means test for it. Thankfully, the judge saw through their lies and refused, however, the judge then violated Sherrilyn’s rights by making her take an oath in court that Sherrilyn would never sue the attorneys for their malfeasance and violations of her rights.
Michael Binkley made Sherrilyn take a similar oath in his courtroom to protect Schell & Oglesby, LLC, and their attorneys.
After the divorce ended, Sherrilyn didn’t have any money left to pursue charges against her ex.
Worse? The attorney who was appalled by their heinous and egregious actions and who stepped forward to go after Binkley and crew called Sherrilyn on a Friday night to tell her that he intended to file a suit against Williamson County, Schell & Oglesby (and their attorneys) and Judge Binkley the following Monday.
Her attorney died that Sunday night.
In 1996, Sherrilyn received the rejection she credits with relaunching her career and forever changing the course of her writing style. At that time, the hottest novels being published on the market were Regency-set historical romances. Since her critique partners at the time were well-known authors in the field, Sherrilyn sat down and wrote such a novel. Her agent and critique partners loved it, yet it was the manuscript that garnered her the worst rejection of her career. “No one at this publishing house will ever be interested in developing this author. Do not submit her work to us again.” Sherrilyn was again devastated. Since they were still living in poverty and her ex was making her write out of a closet, Sherrilyn promised her him that she would never spend another cent chasing a dream that obviously wasn’t meant to be.
Even though her ex was against it, she couldn’t stop writing. That rejection spurred her to stop paying attention to what was selling to New York. She spent the next few months writing books for herself while listening to the characters and not the market reports. When it was done, Sherrilyn sent her latest work to her agent who did not like the manuscript at all and declined to further represent her. Believing her career was over and with no money left to pursue it on her own, Sherrilyn set her work aside.
A few weeks later, Sherrilyn saw a notice in a writing magazine that Laura Cifelli at HarperCollins was looking for manuscripts. Since Cifelli had been Sherrilyn’s agent at the beginning of her career, Sherrilyn sent a single query letter to her. Sherrilyn offered Cifelli two books. The first in the Dark-Hunter series and the one her agent had left her over. Cifelli declined the paranormal idea because there was no market for those storylines at that time. But she asked to see the historical. Careful not to let her ex know what she was doing, Sherrilyn borrowed money from a neighbor to send that manuscript to New York and Cifelli offered Sherrilyn a three book contract.
Since the historical was very different from the paranormals and science fiction novels of Sherrilyn’s early career, Cifelli asked if Sherrilyn would mind using a pseudonym. Sherrilyn who was now superstitious over her real name since her initial foray had been so short-lived, chose Kinley MacGregor (the irony here is that even though the MacGregor name appeared on all the bestseller lists first, it would be under the Sherrilyn name that she would gain her greatest accolades).
Even as Sherrilyn submitted her Kinley MacGregor manuscripts and slowly built that career, she continued to work on her vampire stories.
At the urging of Cifelli, she contracted with a new agent in late 1998. Even though that agent had never represented paranormals before and was reluctant to do so because there was no market for that style of novel, Sherrilyn convinced her to submit them. The Dark-Hunter novels were turned down by every house. Some even more than once. But by that summer the agent found a home for them at St. Martin’s Press.
Sherrilyn is best known for her Dark-Hunter series that she first published in 1984, which comprise the Dark-Hunters, Were-Hunters, Dream-Hunters, Lords of Avalon, Chronicles of Nick and Hellchasers stories. The books deviate from traditional vampire stories in that the vampires, called Daimons, only live twenty-seven years due to a curse from the god Apollo who appears frequently in the series. To elongate their lives, the Daimon vampires are forced to take human souls in order to live. Apollo’s sister, the goddess Artemis, set up an army of immortal warriors called the Dark-Hunters to kill the Daimons and free the human souls before the souls die. A few of the original Dark-Hunter heroes were taken out of fantasy stories Sherrilyn wrote in middle and high school.
During the mid-1980s, while working for a small science fiction magazine called The Cutting Edge, her boss asked her to write a long-running serial for the magazine. She brought many of her favorite characters from her previous fantasies into one larger series. This was the start of the Dark-Hunter world.
In addition to her successful fiction career, Sherrilyn has also written several non-fiction books. She wrote the Character-Naming Sourcebook, which was finally purchased and published by Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest was interested in launching a new series of books, and, because of Sherrilyn’s background in studying the Middle Ages, she was asked to write Everyday Life in the Middle Ages. When the line was looking for a writer for their Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference, they again turned to Sherrilyn.
The Character Naming Source Book, has its roots in Sherrilyn’s childhood. When Sherrilyn began writing her own stories as a small child, she began keeping a list of names that she liked for future use. As she aged, she continued to develop the list, eventually organizing it by origin, so that if she were writing a French character she could easily find a French name. The list was extremely popular with her friends and fellow writers in middle and high school and college. When fellow author Cathy Maxwell saw the list, she insisted that Sherrilyn should submit it for publication, as other writers would find it invaluable.
Because of her lifelong love of comic books, graphic novels and manga (Sherrilyn credits her ability to read to her older brother who used Spider-man comics to teach her), in 2005, Dabel Brothers Productions (“DB Pro”) signed an exclusive contract with Kinley MacGregor (a.k.a. Sherrilyn Sherrilyn), to adapt the novels in her Arthurian fantasy series, Lords of Avalon. The initial publication was supposed to be 2006, but when the Dabel Brothers partnered with Marvel not long after the contract, the publication was delayed.
Under the Marvel banner, Lords of Avalon was intended to be produced as a monthly comic starting summer 2007, with a script adapted by Roynne Gillespie (The Burning Man) and artwork by Tommy Ohtsuka. A graphic novel edition of Sword of Darkness, the first novel in the series, was originally supposed to have been available in Summer 2007 but was delayed as Dabel Brothers and Marvel Comics ended their partnership. Lords of Avalon: Sword of Darkness was eventually published by Marvel Comics November 2008.
Though Sherrilyn was in contract discussions with St. Martin’s Press to have a Dark-Hunter manga adaptation as far back as 2003, it wasn’t until 2006 when St. Martin’s brought in Dabel Brothers Productions (“DB Pro”) to be the packager of the books that they were able to move forward. It would be several months before an artist could be found that Sherrilyn approved of. Claudia Campos, who is known for her work with Tokyopop, was chosen.
The first Dark-Hunter manga artwork appeared in Sherrilyn’s nonfiction compendium, The Dark-Hunter Companion, in November 2007. It would take another year before Sherrilyn approved a writer for the adaption of her words, Joshua Hale Fialkov of Afro-Samurai, Elk’s Run, Cyblade, Vampirella and Alibi fame. The Dark-Hunter manga finally debuted July 2009 where it spent two weeks on the New York Times manga bestseller list, hitting a high spot of #4. Sherrilyn was the only American on the list for those two weeks.
As a result of her love of technology, Sherrilyn had one of the first e-books published by the now defunct Dreams Unlimited. She was the first New York published author to contract in this emerging medium.
Sherrilyn first entered the internet realm while in college back in the 1980’s. In 1994, she was the first female author to set up a website. Though basic, she understood even then how important the web would become and has been an innovator ever since. She was the first author to have character interviews and profiles, blogs, chats and a truly interactive website that engaged her readers and made them connected to the books, individual series and author. Her various sites continue to set standards in the publishing industry.
Sherrilyn is severely dyslexic. She is also ambidextrous. Sherrilyn can write a first draft of a novel in three to four weeks, although she has been known to completely finish a novel in less than four weeks. Her usual time for a novel, however, is four to nine months. In her spare time, Sherrilyn plays the guitar, flute, piano (though this is limited by what she can do with her one hand), and the drums. She’s also an avid gamer and anime/manga junkie and has been since early childhood.
As a child and young woman, she was a sparring partner for two Golden Glove boxers. She was also a football quarterback and an award-winning cook. A past member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and Haskins Society for medieval historians, she is currently a member of National League of American Pen Women, Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Author’s Guild, Novelists Inc., Daughters of the American Revolution, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, and the Romance Writers of America.
Sherrilyn has described her personal style as what happens to Goth when it gets old, and claims that her obsession with wearing black happened when her mother refused to buy her a black velvet dress when she was in first grade. This she blames over the fact that her mother’s favorite show was the Addam’s Family.
Over the years and due to what she humorously calls “her children’s need to eat,” Sherrilyn has worked a variety of jobs: D.J., photographer (her publishing credits include the Washington Post), store clerk, cook, baker, dollmaker, painter, camerawoman, secretary, receptionist, freelance journalist, janitor, waitress, teacher, ditch-digger, psychic, web designer, programmer, and bookseller.
Sherrilyn has three wonderful children, and lives in Peachtree City, Georgia with a menagerie of pets.