Cliff-hangers are a constant theme for Hobe Sound resident Tina Sloan, the actress best known for her 26-year stint as nurse Lillian Raines on the long-running CBS soap opera Guiding Light.
As soap fans are fully aware, the television genre is all about leaving viewers hanging after each daily episode. And when the show was canceled in 2009 after 57 years on the air, Sloan found herself facing a cliff-hanger of her own: She was a 60-year-old actress at a time when there were not many roles for women her age.
She decided, why not write a book? In 2010, she penned her first—an autobiography titled Changing Shoes. She also launched a one-woman show to go along with it, touring the country including stops in South Florida in Jupiter, Stuart, and Palm Beach. The play took audiences on a “walk” through the different stages of Sloan’s life, as the actress changed her shoes throughout the performance to correlate with each story she was telling.
“For example, at one point [in the show], I was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and I had on pink boots,” explains Sloan. “Or if I was running a marathon, I’d put on running shoes. I wore beautiful high heels at the beginning, and then as I was getting older, I went into the black flats.”
Changing Shoes kept her busy for a decade before it was time to move on to yet another new chapter. Springing from a dream she’d had years before, she decided to give romance fiction a try and, in 2020, she self-published her debut novel, Chasing Cleopatra. The sequel, Chasing Othello, followed in 2022. “Having been on a soap opera, I knew how to write cliff-hangers, sexy scenes, undercover things, and people coming back from the dead,” says Sloan of the books’ story lines. “Readers have said that after about two chapters, they just couldn’t put it down, which is nice to hear.”
Her novels offer some super steamy scenes that leave readers blushing. Sloan recalls a moment when she was having her blood pressure taken, and the nurse told her she now looks at Sloan’s husband differently after having read the books. “I almost fell off the seat!” says the writer.
Rounding out the trilogy, Chasing Czars is set to publish this summer, and an on-screen adaptation of Chasing Cleopatra is in the works. Sloan dreams of casting Angelina Jolie as the film’s lead. “I wrote a scene for myself as her mother,” she says.
The octogenarian (she turned 80 in February) shows no signs of slowing down. She and her 85-year-old husband, Steve, love to travel the world—they have summered in Paris, will spend this off-season in England, and have trips to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt on the horizon. The two have been married for nearly 50 years and share a son and three young grandchildren who live in Tennessee, as well as two more children from Steve’s previous relationship.
Sloan’s life here at home in Hobe Sound is just as active. She plays croquet with friends twice a week, enjoys daily walks, boating, participating in a chorus, going to the gym, being part of a book club, and frequenting local restaurants and museums.
An English literature major when she studied at Manhattanville College in New York, Sloan says she made a choice years ago to learn everything she could about social media. Today, she has more than 18,500 followers on Instagram, where she shares aging tips and more. @tinasloan (Instagram)