Cheryl Murnane is best known for her colors, foils and cuts. For 13 years, the longtime hair salon owner who was raised in Andover has been creating a quiet and peaceful space for her clients at her shop downtown.

Inside Accents on Hair at 74A Main St., Norah Jones music fills the air, with candles offering a warm glow.

“It all helps (people) to find that calmness within,” Murnane said. “They can relax here ... it’s a peaceful, quaint setting where they can unwind.”

While the shop has been Murnane’s passion, there’s also been another passion within her for some time — to write a book about a love story. And now she has.

Murnane’s first book, “During the Fall,” tells the story of Jenny and Alex, high school sweethearts whose relationship lasts decades and survives a car accident with an out-of-body experience complete with a guardian angel.

“A fast-moving book that readers would not want to put down was my goal,” said the 40-year-old Murnane, who still lives in town with her husband, Mike, and their two children, who attend South Elementary School.

Although Murnane, like her lead character, also married her high school sweetheart, she insists “During the Fall” is not autobiographical. The former Cheryl Ritterhaus graduated from Andover High in 1993, two years after her now-husband, and enrolled in a cosmetology program at Mansfield Beauty Academy in Peabody. 

Calling herself a positive person, she said she’s always enjoyed helping others glow after a visit to her shop. “I feel I have the ability to uncover a person’s natural beauty and make them shine brighter,” she said.

But there’s also been a part of her that has wanted to publish a book. Murnane got serious about her dream last year, enrolling in a writing course. She said the feedback from the instructor was positive and motivated her to dive into the book-writing process.

“It’s been a journey for me,” she said.

Murnane said “During the Fall” has been well received and she has had a few book signings around town, including two at Helen Thomas Simply Smashing at 90 Main St.

She enjoyed the process so much she already has plans for a second book, but it won’t be a love story. Rather, it will be a story about a firefighter. She has started writing that book and is aiming for a 2015 publication.

“During the Fall” retails for $10 (paperback) and is now available on Amazon. For more information, visit


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