Friday, June 21, 2013

Guest Blogger: Sheila Dalton, Author of The Girl in the Box

Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin’s psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.
Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez’s relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.

What do Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe have to do with me? by Sheila Dalton

Daniel Defoe wrote his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, when he was sixty, and went on to write seven more novels, that’s what.

I’m sixty-one (sixty-two by the time you read this), and I’ve just had my second literary novel published, a “whydunnit”, The Girl in the Box.

I’ve had ten books for kids published, and a YA mystery, Trial by Fire, but I confess I thought I was getting a bit long in the tooth to have had only two adult novels published by such a late age.

But Defoe gives me hope. Not only was he sixty when Robinson Crusoe first saw the light of day in, but he also managed to invent the British novel in the process. His was the first literary work in the English language to use brand new, imaginary characters in a totally original story. Up till then, authors wrote about mythological figures only, and retold legends .

I can’t top that. But what I can tell you is it’s never too late to realize your dreams. I’m actually a relative youngster when it comes to novel publication. My friend, author Linda Hutsell-Manning, wrote her first novel for adults at the age of seventy, That Summer in Franklin. And the author of The Chamomile Lawn, Mary Wesley, published her first adult novel when she was seventy-one after her husband died, and went on to sell three million copies of her books, including 10 best-sellers in the last 20 years of her life!

An interesting wrinkle (if you’ll pardon the expression) to my own story is that The Girl in the Box was inspired by a trip I took to Guatemala, over thirty years ago. I went with a girlfriend for a protracted stay in that country during the decades-long Civil War there. As an aspiring writer in search of experience, I took a notebook with me. Thank goodness, as I really needed it to refresh my memory when I was finally able to process what I saw and heard and use it to create a novel of psychological suspense.

Sheila Dalton was born in Hillingdon, England and came to Canada when she was six. She is married with one son, and is” a willing cat slave to two furry friends”. She loves animals, singing, drawing, research, and travel, and has spent time in Central America, Europe and Morocco. She has written picture books, non-fiction for children, poetry and fiction for adults, and has worked as a freelance editor and writer, a librarian, an artist and crafter, and a barmaid in an English pub.

You can find out more about Sheila and her work at:!/Sheladee

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

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