Saturday, November 17, 2012

Interview with Sheila Deeth!
AM: What inspired you to become a writer?

When I started elementary school the teachers used to keep their classes quiet by sitting me at the front to tell a story. Eventually the principal stuck a huge great tape recorder on the desk with one of those massive microphones. She said if I wouldn't write my stories down she'd just have to record them. The pencil being less scary than the mike I decided I'd better give in and learn to write. I've always wanted to be an author ever since, with a few short pauses to dream of being an astronaut, trapeze artist or superhero instead.

If there's anything else you could (other than writing) what would that be?

I spent a lot of years writing computer code--writing stories is more fun. Then I was paid to break computer code, but editing stories is more fun that that too. If I had to do something besides writing I'd want to teach or work in a bookstore. I just like people and words.
How did you decide on your books genre?

That's an interesting question. The book started with no genre, no plot, and a whole crowd of characters. I was just writing short stories but then someone died in one of them. I got hooked on trying to find out what happened, wandering the green talking with imaginary characters and arguing the point (I hope no one was listening). I thought I might be writing a mystery for a while. But then I wanted to know more about why it happened and the story turned into small-town drama. Then I left the short stories behind and wrote the novel.
What is/are your favorite genre(s)?

Another good question. My sons say I have no taste because I enjoy so many genres. I prefer to say I'm free to make my own choices.
Are you currently reading anything?

I'm reading a mystery, a literary novel, a book of short stories, a Bible history book, and another book where I've not worked out the genre yet.
Who, or what, is the driving force that keeps you going?

I suspect I'm easier to live with when I'm writing. I certainly feel like a nice person when I spend time with my characters instead of telling them to keep quiet. So maybe that's my driving force.
How do you balance your personal life with your writing career?

I'm still trying to persuade my family that writing can be a career. As to balance, maybe I've ended up being a trapeze artist after all.
What is your viewpoint on the current publishing trends?

I guess there are several trends aren't there:

Where ebooks are concerned, I still prefer paper, though I love being able to carry a ton of reading material without my bags weighing a ton. I just don't trust computers though, for all that I've spent so long working with them. Somehow an ebook never feels quite real--the site that stores it can take it away, my account can be hacked, or electrons might get scrambled (?). Real books can burn (a nightmare of mine) but somehow they feel more permanent.

There's the trend toward self-publishing too, and I did self-publish my first books--a series of children's Bible books. I picked them to self-publish because it seemed they were going to be the hardest to find a publisher for, but my dream was always to be published by someone else. As a writer, I wanted to know someone impartial thought my writing worth investing in. As a reader, even though I read lots of self-published books, I like to believe someone impartial thinks the words are worth my reading time. I guess I'm saying I hope we'll continue to have "gatekeepers" issuing books with their stamp of approval.

In some way reviewers stand in for gatekeepers I suppose. I certainly enjoy reading and writing reviews. But the trend towards just looking at ratings frustrates me. It's kind of like grade inflation. If friends don't give friends less than 5 stars, the numbers become meaningless. Ditto if enemies and trolls only give 1 star. It must be the mathematician in me...

I hope publishers will continue to be gatekeepers though, and I do view the rise of small publishers very positively. Print on demand makes small publishing houses more practical and I hope more and more of them will appear, willing to take risks on new authors and new ideas, and willing to invest in making the books as good as they can be before they leave the door.

Were can people find you and your work on the web?
My website:
Book Links:
Info about Divide by Zero: It's the story of a community united by family and friendship, divided by tragedy, and reunited by the wisdom of a small child.


It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave a tapestry, until one breaks.
Troy, the garage mechanic’s son, loves Lydia, the rich man’s daughter. Amethyst has a remarkable cat and Andrea a curious accent. Old Abigail knows more than anyone else but doesn’t speak. And in Paradise Park a middle-aged man keeps watch while autistic Amelia keeps getting lost.
Pastor Bill, at the church of Paradise, tries to mend people. Peter mends cars. But when that fraying thread gives way it might take a child to raise the subdivision—or to mend it.
Info about me:

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.


  1. Thank you Amy! It's lovely to be welcomed with that glass of fine wine as I visit your blog!

  2. Lovely! I simply adored getting to know more about my dear Sheila! I must get this book!

  3. I hope you do get it Ruthe:) And I hope you like it! Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Sheila I greet all friends with a glass of wine, you're always welcome! Thanks for the comment Ruthe, I agree, it was fun getting to know more about Sheila :0)