Kenosha native Sharron Bedford-Vines, author of “Artist Wife: A Suspense Story of Love, Intrigue, and Triumph,” is visiting the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday and will talk about her career as a writer and will sign copies of her book.
She’s a 1971 graduate of Tremper High School — where she participated in cheerleading, choir and track — and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. There, she worked as a legal assistant for entertainment attorneys for 15 years. In 1989, she married Roederick Vines, a visual artist, and began her journey as “an artist’s wife.” In 1993, they moved to Atlanta.
Her parents, Cleveland and Alice Bedford, “raised eight children in a loving, close-knit Christian home that emphasized God, education, work and serving and respecting all people,” she said. Her life in Kenosha “was filled with church activities, community events and a supportive extended family.”
Growing up in Kenosha was an inspiration for her later work as a writer, she said, due to “a group of people who worked together as a community, and they genuinely cared about our physical mental and spiritual development.”
“I just told someone the other day what a blessing it was to grow up in a small town,” she added.
“There was nurturing family, neighbors who watched out and supported each other and great schools with excellent teachers who earnestly were interested in our success.”
Her “great, diversifed group of friends,” she said, “gave me exposure to variety of people, which helped build relationships” in places all over Kenosha.
She worked on her debut novel for 17 years, explaining how “life happens in between taking care of parents, finishing school and working eight hours a day feverishly for attorneys.”
The inspiration for her novel “was my daughter Deidra, a promising artist who passed at 24.”
Also, she said, her husband, also an artist, “gave me a visual by designing the book’s cover five years before completion, which gave me purpose to intentionally complete it.”
Her advice to aspiring writers is to “never give up on your dreams even though they seem delayed. Perseverance is the key.”
At Saturday’s program, Bedford-Vines will introduce her novel’s main character, Grace, “and tell her story of love, intrigue and triumph and how she overcame her dilemma, disappointments and how fights for her husband’s legacy.”
She is working on her second novel and said she “encourages all people — young and old — to always work on and exercise your gifts.”
“You never know when that day comes when you can inspire someone else simply because you took a step of courage to branch out and do the impossible.”