Sheila Deeth, Author of “Flower Child”

What is your book about?

Flower Child is about a mother who loses her first pregnancy to miscarriage but can’t quite let go of the child she thought she was bearing.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I wrote poem after poem aftwerwards. I think I always knew I’d end up writing a story instead, but I had to wait a long time.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Actually it was a writing competition at our local writing group. The prompt was to write a short piece inspired by music, and I had John Denver’s Rhymes and Reasons spinning around in my head — For the children and the flowers / Are my sisters and my brothers… I found myself putting a childhood misunderstanding together with my adult experience.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I think people who know me will see quite a bit of me in Megan.

Tell us a little about your main character?

Megan’s the grieving mother and I kind of identify with her, especially since my first child was born soon after the miscarriage — I couldn’t have both, and that gives you a very strange perspective on the one you’ve lost.

Who is your most unusual character?

The other main character, Angela, is definitely unusual in that she exists somewhere between angel and ghost.

How long did it take you to write your book?

From start to finish, about a week (it’s a short book). It took much longer to polish it though.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I didn’t have any story in mind when I started writing. I was thinking about the John Denver song and the way I’d once imagined babies were born from seeds planted in special fields. The rest of it the story just happened on the page.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I feel like my characters develop themselves while they talk in my head. The hardest thing is avoiding turning everyone into me when I do too much editing.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished with a story?

When I feel like all the characters are sounding like me.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’d like them to wonder and recognize there might be more out there than we can comprehend. Maybe we could all be a bit less judgmental.

What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?

This is my third book with Gypsy Shadow, and I have a novel coming out with Stonegarden next year. What’s changed for me is I can finally see my writing moving forward–I’m not standing still dreaming anymore–maybe sleepwalking, but not standing still.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I call myself a mongrel Christian mathematician. I think my mixed-up background helps me (or forces me to) see things from a slightly different perspective. Being an English American does the same thing — it makes me more aware of how many of my assumptions are cultural, so it lets me explore characters who might make different assumptions.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I write when I have time. I always have done–there are boxes full of paper in the spare bedroom where I scribbled stories and poems before I had a computer.

What are you working on right now?

I’m editing Divide by Zero (my Stonegarden novel), trying to get up courage to send Chasing Shadows out (another novel), writing a sci-fi novel, and researching markets for my (unpublished) children’s series.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

I’ve surprised myself by finally learning to tell people I’m a writer — maybe that’s what I should have said has changed since my first book was published.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have a mental list — a really really long one.

What do you like to read?

Almost anything–my son says I have no taste.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

I met Jane Kirkpatrick shortly after we moved to Oregon. She told me to keep writing. In fact, she’s told me several times to keep writing. It’s probably the most valuable piece of advice I’ve had.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Keep writing

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

One way’s by answering this questionnaire. You are really helping me, and others, market and promote. Thank you Pat!

It’s my pleasure, Sheila. There are so many good books out there no one knows about that I’m glad to do what I can to help get them known. What are your current writing goals and how do you juggle the promotional aspects with the actual writing?

I’ve just spent all day trying to set up a blog tour, and my fingers are itching to write… I’m not very good at juggling.
Where can people learn more about your books?

Many many thanks Pat.

Thank you, Sheila! I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions. Best of luck with Flower Child.

Click here to read an excerpt from: Flower Child

11 Responses to “Sheila Deeth, Author of “Flower Child””

  1. joylene Says:

    Very nice interview, ladies. I never get tired of hearing how other authors get their ideas and write their stories. “Flower Child” sounds wonderful. And sad.

  2. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Thank you so much, Pat, for interviewing me. And thank you for joining us Joylene. I hope by the end of Flower Child it’s not so sad–the joy of writing sad memories out into happier resolutions I suppose.

  3. Ruthi aka abitosunshine Says:

    Great interview, Pat and Sheila. Thank you. Sheila, by the end of the Flower Child Blog Tour I will have gleaned quite a lot of inspiration from you, and will have learned quite a bit about you, too. Keep writing!

  4. Pat Bertram Says:

    It’s always wonderful to talk to authors, to find out how they write and what they value. Thank you all for stopping by!

  5. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Thanks Ruthi. Some of Pat’s questions are so searching I end up realizing things about myself as I answer them.

  6. Gail Says:

    Sheila, In what seems like one of my previous lives (in retrospect, years become decades) I experienced, along with others I knew, a trilogy of miscarriages. There is probably a subliminal purpose for having my novel’s protagonist relinquish responsibility for raising her child, I just haven’t plumbed all her reasons yet.
    Thank you for sharing insights into the back story of Flower Child.

  7. Kaye George Says:

    Your mentor is wise–keep writing is the best advice. You’re reading AND your writing are varied, Sheila. You’ll never be bored. Thanks for the interview.

  8. Beverly Says:

    A wonderful interview, Pat. I enjoy learning so much about you, Sheila.

    My first baby wasn’t a miscarriage, but he lived only 3 days. This was many years ago, but it’s a memory never forgotten. I must add your story to my TBR list. Thanks for writing it.

  9. Sherrie Hansen Says:

    Congratulations, Sheila. It sounds like a great book and I love the cover. Such a wistful feel to it, which sounds perfect for the plot.

  10. Darthreader Says:

    Excellent interview!

  11. Mary Russel Says:

    Great questions, Pat. Loved your answers, Sheila.

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