Biography And Books
I am a Pacific Northwest writer of speculative fiction and narrative nonfiction. First novel, Quick Fall of Light, was published in 2010 by Gray Dog Press. The story of a devastating bird flu pandemic, the book was awarded the Silver Award for Science Fiction by Foreword Reviews that same year. It has recently undergone somewhat of a revival since our current pandemic began in late 2019, in a way holding me accountable for some measure of ongoing comment, which I try to accomplish mostly via Facebook and this website. The novel reminds me of the responsibilities of writing and of staying true to your work, good times and bad, including through pandemics, especially real ones.

Though I currently reside in special corners of America's Northwest and Southwest, story takes me between worlds, some imaginary, but almost all with a close connection to nature. Other life events that have shaped my writing include a long career as a medical transcriptionist and my own bout with breast cancer (after my daughter's) over the course of several years. Disease, especially chronic disease, is one of the great teachers in humility and humanity and can easily become an impetus to write.

Quick Fall OF Light, published in 2010, has gone on a decade-long journey of its own.

There is a timeless quality that I recognize more now than I did at the time of
Quick Fall's publication. In the novel, bird flu was the specific pathogen, but mankind's reaction was similar, sometimes eerily similar to what's happening now. Social isolation overcame every other effort to stop the pandemic, other than a mysterious anti-virus known as Pass-Flu. And Pass-Flu itself had its origins in a deepening mystery---a possibly extinct bird once known as America's Passenger Pigeon.

Take a closer look at this version of a worldwide catastrophe, not for its horror or feeling of doom, but for the dreamers within the characters themselves. Each of them holds tight to a way of life not easy to leave. Sometimes desperately they want to return to "normal," yet know they never will. The post-pandemic world will seek their story, their experience and loss. Because their journey, like ours, is inescapable.

In this novel of a near-future pandemic, the time has come when humanity is enduring one of the worst devastations imaginable. Yet,
Quick Fall of Light looks less at the worldwide outbreak of bird flu than it does at the lives of three people caught in its wake.

The story begins with Josephine Russo searching for the crash site of her newly deceased husband deep in the mist-shrouded Olympic Rain Forest of Washington State. As she finds herself lost and getting sick, she meets a logger, Gary Sterns, who not only has a long history of logging, but who has also discovered a medical lab hidden deep within the forest’s interior. From this mysterious realm the story reveals an experiment unknown, except for traces left behind on a computer and Josephine’s remembrances of the fading love between herself and her late husband. And it is from this experiment that a bird, at one time one of America’s most breathtaking, emerges as a source of radically advanced medical technology.

Quick Fall of Light has its roots in the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Based, in part, on the reported mysterious “grippe” that spread around the globe early in the last century, the novel tells of a world largely stunned by a similar modern tragedy, withdrawn, sequestered, and desperate for the availability of an anti-virus, Pass-Flu. The business of manufacturing the drug is a thriving one despite the staggering loss of human life, and no one questions its efficiency until Josephine reads the confession her husband left behind on his computer. . .
A cast of characters, both varied and bedeviled by encroaching circumstances that include a full-on pandemic, technological greed, an otherworldly fire, and a bird both mysterious, yet strangely managed by medical exploitation, move the story into the realm of an eco-thriller. Yet Quick Fall of Light also has an unquestionable comparison to this moment in time and times past. Medicine will always struggle to tame disease. What this novel seems to say most is that it won't be easy.
About the Earhart Project
(originally written as biography/memoir):

My thanks to all those sources (over sixty in writing) including books, historical documents, researchers, archivists, authors, pilots, long-time admirers, and mysterious collectors of data, who helped me through long days and nights of writing my own version of Earhart's flying legacy. In so doing, I consider my own. The writing brought us together, perhaps even the two of us in one cockpit for a brief period of time. Through researching her dilemmas, I came to better understand mine. In the end, Amelia Earhart helped me interpret a sky-world rich in detail and demand, a world as foreign as any Starfleet women may one day command. For that and more, I'll always be grateful.

Currently, the book continues to unfold, even after completion, as some books do. As a writer, it is important to remember that modifications often lead to an entire mighty revision, which often leads to coming closer to your writing dream. This is what's happened with the story of Earhart and me. Her biography has been repeated many times, but has seldom been compared with another female pilot in terms of pilotage and psychological occurrences in flight. It seems to me that in staying true to her, I must stay true to myself first. It is what she would encourage. It is what she made clear was important to her about women and the future of flight. Thus, new format, new title, new genre: Memoir--with a lot of Earhart's life and motivations explained in revealing what it is to fly alone, yet in the company of wayfarers, both animal and human, and the lifelong influence that comes of learning the sky, her way.


A novel of the power of lineage, both human and bird, and of beings who have mysteriously guided our world throughout time. Speculative with a touch of magical realism, the story is revealed most by a woman wildlife tracker, who beings her journey among California Condors, birds steeped in ancient and deadly mystery, and the rudiments of a prophecy ready to unfold. Undergoing a final edit, the book takes on new publishing effort in 2022.

Audio Interviews
https://player.fm/series/center-stage-with-mark-gordon/sherrida-woodley-talks-about-writing-a-quick-fall- of-light
The Finalist Award Almost Undiscovered:

Late in 2022, I discovered Quick Fall of Light was recognized as finalist in two Categories of the International Book Awards of 2012, awards that honor “excellence in independent and mainstream publishing.” A decade after noting Quick Fall was finalist in Fiction: Cross Genre and Fiction: Visionary, I found the information accidentally while looking through recent online associations with the book. I was extraordinarily happy and saddened at the same time. This long after the honor, it was too late to respond.


My guess is they may have tried to reach me, but something just didn’t come through. The moral to this story is for an author to check online references about her book, no matter how old it is. Something like this can determine the fate of a book’s reach and can far outdistance the author’s, even the publisher’s other efforts. These are things we hope we “catch” before it’s too late. I am just glad to know this happened and that Quick Fall of Light has left its mark among awards both well intended and extraordinary in their own right. I do feel honored to be mentioned, even now.
September 24 2022