Saturday, 16 November 2013

From blank page to bestseller: an audience with Sheila Deeth 'Crying along the Road to a Published Book'

Today, weve got the exceptionally talented Sheila Deeth on the blog. Sheila is a prolific author (21 titles on Amazon as of today!) of both adult and children's fiction, and a graduate of Cambridge University. Sheila had been due to appear on a little sooner, and it's my fault that it's late for which I apologise profusely. Today Sheila will be sharing a little about her publishing journey. Without further ado, over to Sheila.

Crying along the Road to a Published Book

My first was painstakingly copied, word for word, from a Beatrix Potter book. I turned two pages at once, and I cried.

My second was written with a multicolored biro on paper torn from old notebooks and unused calendars. Earth sea and sky were the background to myseven-year-old dystopia. But the protagonist got pregnant. 

Twins were born six weeks later and my small beta-reader laughed at me, so. I cried.

My third was meant to be a short conclusion to an adventure read in class. I forgot to take my workbook home so Dad bought me a new one from the store. Assuaging my guilt, I filled it cover to cover with words and tears. My story was read to the class during the rest of the year. Everyone liked it, but I’d already cried.

Fourth was the one I wrote on the ends of high school exercise books. I was in my Star Trek phase. The earth was destroyed in chapter two, leaving only one survivor, and I turned Doctor McCoy into a furry alien. 

Then I cried because I knew I’d never let my book be read.

More aliens peopled my fifth attempt, written in grad school on ancient computer paper, green-lined and jagged along its perforated edges. Filled with new-adult self-importance, that story makes me both cringe and cry when I look at it now.

Sixth was the tale of a boy and his cat. I wrote it in a shiny blue notebook, added pictures in pen and ink, and gave it to mysweet son who promptly lost it. I cried again.

Seventh was a Christmas book, sent out to publishers and rejected for being too religious by the first, and not religious enough by the next, soI cried again.

Meanwhile my reading addiction grew worse and learned to write book reviews. Sometimes I even thought, I could write like that. When one of the publishers had a competition, I decided to try my hand. The result wasn’t long enough for a novel, but my entry won and became the enovellaRefracted, published by Gypsy Shadow. I cried for joy.

Two more enovellas followed while my ninth book slowly grew. Divide by Zero was accepted and published by in 2012. But I’d hardly dried those tears of joy when the company closed down.

Having wormed my way onto the internet by now, I tried to sell my self-published children’s Bible stories. 

Perhaps they’re number ten. The email offering me a contract for them was a truly amazing surprise, coming out of the blue from a publisher I’d reviewed for—Cape Arago Press! So now I’m the author of the Five Minute Bible StoryTM Series, of which number six, Bethlehem’s Baby, has just been released. And maybe, just maybe, my crying along the road to publication might have ceased. Of course, Bethlehem’s Baby is a Christmas book, again. Will it prove too religious or not religious enough, or will it be just right? I’ve got my fingers crossed, and I hope I don’t cry.
Bethlehem’s Baby:

Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.

Find Bethlehem’s Baby at:

More of the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website:

Connect with Sheila at:



  1. Ah, if only it could become a bestseller! Thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog.

  2. I loved the post and I think you will be a best seller and you already are to me. Love your books and I especially love your bible stories- so do my children!