Join me in welcoming
the witty and delightful author,
Sheila Deeth is a Catholic Protestant, English American, mathematician writer. She loves to read and write, and is the author of one novel—Divide by Zero—several e-novellas—Flower Child, Refracted and Black Widow—and the ongoing Five-Minute Bible Story series.
Drink – Mayan Coffee from my favourite local coffee store
Food – Blue Stilton cheese
Vacation – I’ve only ever been on one cruise. It was the best vacation ever! And Alaska is incredible!
TV show – Game of Thrones, but I have to wait for the DVDs since we don’t get it on TV.
Movie – Lord of the Rings, but please can I watch the whole trilogy, preferably in the extended version, with husband and sons to share the pleasure.
Book title: Divide by Zero
Brief synopsis of your book:
It takes a subdivision to raise a child, but when a young girl’s tragic death divides the community, it takes a child to raise the subdivision.
Current book or project you’re working on: Infinite Sum, a sequel, or companion novel, to Divide by Zero
What was the inspiration for your novel? Divide by Zero grew out of a set of story-prompts. I kept writing about the same group of characters and eventually they seemed so real to me I had to turn their stories into a novel. When I’d finished though, one of the characters just wouldn’t let me go. She nagged until I agreed to let her tell her story in Infinite Sum.
Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) I don’t know about my readers, but I have sympathy for the bad guy in Divide by Zero.
2) I didn’t know what was going to happen when I started writing Divide by Zero. Even when the crime was committed, I still didn’t know who’d done it. Then the truth crept out and I was so sad.
3) Divide by Zero was a mystery novel when I first submitted it to publishers. Then I realized the real mystery was not who-dun-it but how things ever ended up that way. A major rewrite followed and I’m sure the novel’s much better for it.
Do you have a favourite character from your current novel? Sylvia’s my favourite character now, but that’s probably because I’ve spend so much time turning her story into Infinite Sum.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why? I’d pick Kent Haruf because his wonderful novel, Plainsong, is written from multiple points of view. Reading Plainsong made me realize the minimal viewpoints rule really can be broken. While I’m sure I didn’t break the rule half as successfully as he did, I’d love to know his opinion of my attempt.
What, or who, inspired you to write? I’ve been telling stories since before I could write—possibly since before I could talk. Even when I didn’t have time to write, when the kids were young, I still told stories all the time—I even taught a chess club in elementary school by telling stories about chess-players and their games.
What genre does your book fall into? Contemporary drama
Which genres do you enjoy reading? I enjoy lots of different genres—my sons say I have no taste but I just say I have eclectic tastes.
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something? My brother insisted I had to read the Snow Queen before he’d let me borrow classics from his bookshelf. I loathed the Snow Queen so much I ended up volunteering to clean my brother’s room so I could sneak in and raid his bookshelf behind his back. I decided I didn’t like fairy tales but I must have been wrong since I love them now.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Kent Haruf, I suppose, because he breaks rules so successfully.
2) Frank Herbert because my then-future husband persuaded me to borrow his copy of Dune, thus ensuring I’d have to meet him again. We’ve been married over 30 years now.
3) C. S. Lewis because I thought I hated fairy tales until I read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Have you ever had a book you enjoy re-reading?Frequently. I have a rotten memory so I can usually reread a book without remembering what happened.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book? I’m always reading something, usually several things at once, and I’m always at least thinking and researching what I want to write, so yes.
How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why? I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve written, though some are still only self-published and some not published at all. (Some, the ones I wrote as a kid, are definitely unpublishable!) My favourite at the moment is Divide by Zero because it’s my first published novel and I’ve actually seen it on a bookshelf in a real bookstore!
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write? I’m always in the mood to write.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Because Divide by Zero started with a set of short stories, my biggest challenge was working out how to stitch them all together.
2) When the editor asked me for a timeline, I realized some of my earlier edits had torn holes in that careful stitching.
3) Working out just how much to say and how much to leave out was hard. I could have continued to investigate Sylvia’s story, but I’m glad I left it to be covered in Infinite Sum.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?The most important thing I’ve learned is that baby-steps are still steps. The next most important is to celebrate rejection with chocolate.
Do you have any tricks, outlines, or methods that help you overcome writer’s block? Writing several things at once helps—I can always close one file and open another. Walking around the green chatting to my characters helps too—writers’ block often means I’ve tried to take the story my own way instead of theirs.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?Getting published, whatever your route, is only one step on the road. Even getting your book onto the shelf of your local bookstore is only one step. Having your book fly off the shelves… now that would really be something, except with my luck it would probably mean a freak tornado had just blown through the store.
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
Amazon kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Divide-by-Zero-ebook/dp/B0090NFH56/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/divide-by-zero-sheila-deeth/1112782597Powells: http://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9781600763403-0