Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interview with Author Sheila Deeth


APL: Sheila, how many books have you written? I think I counted 20 book covers on your website, which is amazing. What genres do your books span?

SD: My ebooks with Gypsy Shadow are all spiritual speculative fiction. I write Bible fiction too, which I self-publish and sell on my Lulu storefront. And I write novels—my first one’s coming out next summer with Stonegarden. Plus short stories… plus poems… plus whatever… If you count all my children’s Bible books, and a couple of anthologies that included my short stories, that really does make 20—but some of them are picture books so they’re really very short. (I draw my own pictures too.)

APL: Do you have a favorite genre to read or write?

SD: My kids say I have no taste because I’ll read almost any genre and listen to almost any type of music. I seem to be writing a lot of spiritual speculative fiction at the moment, but it’s probably just a phase. I love writing the children’s Bible stories too. I just like to read and write.

APL: I loved your explanation of why you hold a passion for rainbows on your website. You said you are “an English American, a Catholic Protestant, a mathematician that can't add up and a writer that can't spell, a contradiction in search of a direction...” Can you elaborate on that mysterious quote?

SD: Well, it’s all true. I grew up, married and had kids in England, then we moved to the States while the kids were still in school; we had green cards back then, and ten years later we finally became US citizens. I’m a Catholic Protestant because my Dad was Catholic and my Mum’s Methodist; I grew up Catholic but ended up being a Church of England lay reader, free evangelical worship leader, Presbyterian elder, and now a Christian Reformed Sunday school teacher. My brother’s a Catholic priest though and my uncle served a term as President of Gideons in England. As to the math, I’ve got a bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics from Cambridge University England, so I must be a mathematician, but it was always the abstract math that appealed to me, patterns, manipulation of ideas, logic and all that. And, of course, I love to write. I was finally beginning to understand the rules of spelling when my kids were in elementary school, but then we moved to the States…

APL: You are originally from the UK, and have over time migrated to Oregon. How did this happen, and did any part of this journey inspire your stories or characters?

SD: We moved to Utah first with my husband’s job, then to Oregon when outsourcing caught up with us. I’m not sure moving’s ever directly inspired my stories, but it probably helped me recognize how culture influences thought. Things we imagine are blatantly obvious can look very different from a different point of view, and I make a deliberate habit of seeking out unexpected viewpoints when I write fiction. My Bible stories usually center on children that might have lived in the real historical, scientific world, so again, the point of view might be a little different.

APL: Were you a reader when you were a child? Who were your favorite authors?

SD: I’ve always read voraciously but I remember I wasn’t keen on fairy tales, didn’t like the Hobbit, couldn’t get into Narnia, loathed Alice in Wonderland, and really, really, really hated the Snow Queen. (I like them all now!) I can’t remember what my favorite childhood books were—Westerns, Gollantz Science fiction with those bright yellow covers, James Bond, anything on my big brother’s or my Granddad’s bookshelf…

APL: I checked out your Linked In profile, and discovered you used to write software test plans. It’s neat, because in my old day job, I used to write test plans for large electromechanical devices (high speed printers). At any time, did your day job influence your writing?

SD: Only to the extent that I kept the stories in my head and didn’t write them down. I was doing a lot of children’s sermons at church back then, and when I lost my job I turned them into a book. But working and looking after kids and home didn’t leave much time or energy—besides which, the kids monopolized the computer and my ancient typewriter was so slow the keys kept getting tangled.

APL: Have certain people in your life influenced your characters more than others?

SD: Not really. My kids used to believe I used them in all my stories but it wasn’t true. I used bits of them, and bits of everyone else, and lots of random memories.

APL: Have you ever worked with or been a writing mentor? A critique partner? If so, tell us about these experiences and how they influenced your books or writing.

SD: I’ve never really worked one-on-one with anyone, though I do meet one of my friends from our local writing group on a regular basis. We drink coffee, encourage each other, and borrow and critique each other’s work; it certainly helps to see what we’ve written through different eyes. The local writing group’s been really good for me too—some of their writing prompts grew into my published stories, and taking part in group critiques has made me a much better editor of my own work.

APL: I see that God has found his way into many of your books. How has He influenced your writing or story content? What do you hope to teach your readers about God?

SD: I guess I’d like my stories to entertain and intrigue first of all. But I hope they might encourage readers to think critically too—believers to realize they maybe don’t have all the answers; Christian believers to read the Bible instead of relying on other people’s interpretations; and non-believers to recognize there might be more to life (and maybe the Bible) than meets the eye.

APL: Please tell us what the best website is for us to learn more about your books and how to purchase them.

SD: You can find all my books at http://sheiladeeth.weebly.com.

My ebooks are available on Gypsy Shadow’s website at http://gypsyshadow.com/SheilaDeeth.html
or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.

My Inspired by Faith and Science storefront is at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/sdeeth.

APL: Tell us about your newest book and when we will be able to buy it!

My latest book has just been released. It’s an ebook called FLOWER CHILD. It tells the story of a grieving mother and her unborn child and draws, in part, from my own experience of miscarriage:

When Megan miscarries her first pregnancy it feels like the end of everything; instead it’s the start of a curious relationship between the grieving mother and an unborn child who hovers somewhere between ghost and angel. Angela, Megan’s “little angel,” has character and dreams all her own, friends who may or may not be real angels, and a little brother who brings hope to her mother’s world. But Angela’s dream-world has a secret and one day Angela might learn how to be real.

You can buy FLOWER CHILD direct from the publisher at http://gypsyshadow.com/SheilaDeeth.html#Flower



APL:  Thank you for joining us here today, Sheila!

SD: My pleasure, Aaron.

Author Bio: Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and sons, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories, running a local writers' group, and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Sheila describes herself as a Mongrel Christian Mathematician. Her short stories, book reviews and articles can be found in VoiceCatcher 4, Murder on the Wind, Poetic Monthly, Nights and Weekends, the Shine Journal and Joyful Online. Besides her Gypsy Shadow ebooks, Sheila has several self-published works available from Amazon and Lulu, and a full-length novel under contract to come out next year.

5 comments:

Sheila Deeth said...

Thank you so much for this interview Aaaron. You really asked some great questions and I enjoyed trying to answer them.

maryrussel said...

Great job, both of you!

A. F. Stewart said...

A wonderful interview.

ptbertram said...

Delightful interview! It's been great getting to know you better through your tour, Sheila, though I still don't know how you manage to keep up with all you do.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Hi, Sheila! I've been away without Internet at my mom's this weekend, just starting to see what I've missed. I'm so glad you agreed to be with us here at MB4, it was a fun interview! Take care and best of luck with your new book, Flower Child. ;o) I am going to order it for my daughter, who went through a similar experience and is still in the grieving stages.