There’s something about Shirley Strawberry that makes people want to stop and hear what she has to say. The co-host of the nationally syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show” has never written a book and disparages any talk about her being dubbed as a love guru, but her relationship advice has grown into must-hear radio for over 8 million listeners across America. With her popularity at an all-time high, Strawberry is set to release her first book, The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness isn’t Sexy, on April 5.

Derived from one of the morning show’s more popular segments, The Strawberry Letter, where both Strawberry and Harvey attempt to rationalize relationship-geared letters from heart-torn listeners, the book finds Strawberry issuing advice from parenting to career moves, relationships and more. The Strawberry Letter has become such an impactful segment that the clamoring for a book could no longer be ignored by Strawberry, a Chicago native.

“People asked me to do it,” Strawberry said. “Quite a few people asked me to do it. ‘Why don’t you put the Strawberry Letters in a book? You should pile up all the Strawberry letters and put them in a book.’ I heard that quite a bit and that’s what made me do it.”

After working alongside Harvey on the show for more than 10 years, the time has come for Strawberry to journey into her own spotlight. Her book release has the longtime radio personality anxious for results, but if the show’s past success is any indication on what lies ahead of its new spinoff manuscript then a huge victory could be in store.

“I’m very excited a little nervous,” Strawberry said. “I don’t know what to expect. I expect good things and we’ll see what happens. I know I poured my heart out and I was very transparent in the book and I hope people get the message that was intended when I wrote it.”

The fact that neither Harvey nor Strawberry possesses degrees that would classify them as relationship experts hasn’t stopped the duo from garnering a cult-like following. Their own personal experiences — Harvey being married three times and Strawberry a divorced mother — have equipped them with enough personal credentials that make for positive and constructive insight. “We don’t have psychology degrees or anything like that,” she says. “It just comes from plain common sense.”

Harvey has already written two books, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment and Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man, while Strawberry is just cracking the surface on what may be the first of a long-lived publishing career.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO