Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S, LMFT – A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage is a distillation of what I have learned from years of working with couples (and from my own marriage of 27 years). It is about twenty highly useful and inspiring behaviors that I have watched help couples rekindle their love for each other and keep them growing together as soul mates. The behaviors are simple yet effective when you make them part of your daily married life.

Tell us something about yourself.

I have been a Marriage & Family Therapist and Family Business Consultant for over 25 years, both in private practice and in the corporate setting, helping my clients to examine assumptions, think creatively, and build upon strengths. I hold degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy, Organizational Psychology, and Developmental Psychology.

An early, inspiring career experience as part of the group of professionals who founded the first freestanding hospice in the United States, paved the way for my patience and ability to listen, brainstorm and inspire hope in others. I’ve also been a graduate instructor/advisor, an organizational learning consultant, a hospice volunteer, and a NYC Marathon finisher. I received a Practice Award from the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy for my workbook: To Enhance Creative Thinking is to Liberate a Couple/Family, and have published articles on the importance of Getting to Know our Children. As an invited facilitator in Moscow, I found it fascinating training Russian psychiatrists in the skills of marriage & family therapy.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am very much a reader and over the years I would offer up ideas of good books to my clients; but invariably most never had the time for what they thought were relatively long books that would take hours from the busy lives they lead. Wanting to meet their needs I set a goal of developing a quick, easy read that my clients would find valuable and could put to use immediately, thus A Short Guide was born.

How did you choose the title?

I took inspiration from the best selling author, Ann Quindlen, with her little book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published?

I sent my manuscript out to every publisher that would allow me to do so without an agent, and although I received a good deal of positive, personalized feedback, I just couldn’t make it happen. How did you overcome them? I decided it was time to find an agent, which I quickly did, and she sold A Short Guide within 24 hours, even before we had signed our contracts! She warned me that she had never done that before, and probably wouldn’t again!

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I love books, I particularly love inspirational gift books and trying to create such became a hobby. How did you get started? I was working in the corporate world in the area of organizational learning and there was a need for an inspiring, quick read that managers would give their staff. Ten Speed Press loved it and took a chance with me and published Lur’ning, 147 Inspiring Thoughts for Learning on the Job.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I must have a big mug of tea sitting on a warmer, and my favorite vanilla candle burning!

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have “given in sooner” and gotten an agent.

What types of books do you like to read?

Memoirs and Short Stories.

Are you working on your next book?

It was just recently placed one in the hands of my agent.

What can you tell us about it?

It is a guided legacy journal.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

It is a very difficult business, only get involved if you have a real passion for it (and a day job!).

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage should be read by all married couples and anyone thinking of marriage.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

At my website @ or at