Tuesday 11 October 2011


My name is Sheila Dalton. I was born in Hillingdon, England and have lived in Canada since I was six. Right now, I live in a small town just outside of Toronto, Ontario with my husband, son and two cats.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be a writer. I also wanted to be a psychoanalyst, an artist and an actress, among other things.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I wasn’t published until I was in my thirties. My first book was a book of poetry, Blowing Holes Through the Everyday.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’ve worked as a freelance editor and writer, a craftsperson, a barmaid, an art gallery assistant, and a librarian.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is a literary mystery called The Girl in the Box. A mute Mayan girl kills the doctor who rescues her from a dark room in Guatemala. The question is why? (20 words exactly!)

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
The book is published by Dundurn Press in Canada, and will be available in November, through Amazon.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My next book is historical fiction, set in 18th century England, Morocco and Barbados.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
My favourite is The Girl in the Box, my latest. It is closest to my heart. It took years to “gell” in my mind, and to write. I think it’s my best effort yet. I certainly hope so!

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
A lot of my ideas come from my travels. The Girl in the Box was inspired by time I spent in Guatemala in the 80’s, during the Civil War there. My historical novel-in-progress (Slavery in Black and White: My Life as a Kept Woman and Most Peculiar Pirate) was prompted by a trip to Morocco where I saw the underground dungeons the Christian slaves were kept in back in the day.

 Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, I do. I sometimes send the PDF files if people are willing to read them that way.

How do you market/promote your books?
The Internet has really opened things up for writers. I promote my books on blogs like this one. (Thank you, Sandra!), on Goodreads and Library Thing, and on Facebook and my personal website.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
My favourite book changes all the time! I love the works of Sarah Dunant and Sarah Waters, also Alyssa York and Karen Armstrong. Generally, I prefer women authors, and I tend to favour British and Canadian writers.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m re-reading That Summer in Franklin, by Linda Hutsell-Manning, a friend. It’s in paperback. I believe there will be an ebook version soon. I love the book. Linda writes so well!

What do you think about book trailers?
I’m not sure if book trailers sell books, or even if people look at them! But I love mine, done by a very talented women, Tirzah Goodwin. You can see it on my website here, if you’re interested:

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I spent far too much time wondering if I was any good, or if writing was worth doing. I would say, believe in yourself, keep at it, don’t give up your day job, read, write as often as you can, be self-critical but not self-defeating, join one of the excellent online critiquing sites available now. I had The Girl in the Box critiqued on two sites, The Next Big Writer (U.S.), and You Write On (British). I met some wonderful writers on both sites who really helped me.

Where can readers follow you?

Your web site ?
Your facebook page?
Thank you for interviewing me, Sandra, and good luck with your excellent blog.

Your welcome Sheila thank you for taking the time out from your writing schedule to do the interview!


  1. Hi Jean and Sheila, thank you Jean for bringing us this interview. I've had the honor of reading an ARC of The Girl in The Box and it was fabulous! Sheila is a very talented author.

  2. And Jeanne is a very, very supportive writer I met online, who has written a wonderful book for teens, Invisible, about a girl who sometimes wishes she could disappear - and then discovers she can and it's not quite the way she thought it would be!

  3. I am lucky enough to have a pdf copy of The Girl in the Box to read and review and I'm loving it. great interview, Jean, and interesting blog, thank you for posting.

  4. Hi, Judy. Thanks for posting. I'm so pleased you're liking my book.
    Readers, Judy is an historical and contemporary novelist. You might like to check into her writing by clicking on her name.