For my first Author Spotlight, I introduce the author of Stolen, Sheila Dalton. Stolen is set during the 17th Century and focuses around the character Lizbet, a young girl who loses her parents at the start of the story due to a pirate raid on her village, and is forced on a journey. It’s one of self discovery and bravery where Lizbet comes face to face with many perils which adds to the building of her as a character and turning into a woman.
Dalton’s writing for me, really brought that world to life, with beautifully descriptive language that drags you in and commits you to her world. The bond as a reader towards Lizbet grew each page turned and I was on her side quickly wanting her survive and make it through each obstacle met.
Stolen is only a short peice of work, but the impact that Dalton creates is enough for it to be a strong piece and I can see that many in the YA market will enjoy and invest in Lizbet as a character and Dalton as an author.
So with that in mind, I’m giving Stolen 4**** REVIEW and recommending her to you all.
Interview with Shelia Dalton
What made you start writing?
We used to put on little plays as kids in England, and I started to think I would like to write one of my own. We played dress-up all the time, and there was something magical about it. I never did write a play until my first year of university, but I did start making up stories.
What is the inspiration behind Lizbet’s story?
Her particular story – losing her parents and all her kith and kin in a pirate raid – came to me because of places I’d visited in Morocco and Devon, England.
Tell me about the historical period her story is set in and why you chose it?
I chose the 17th century because I saw the underground dungeons in Morocco where I was told the Christian slaves were kept, and I visited the places along the coast of Devon where both British and Moroccan pirates operated. I was intrigued, and when I began to read up on these events, I discovered that raids along the British coast by Barbary corsairs had taken place in the 17th century. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. The 17th century was both the Age of Exploration and The Golden Age of Piracy. It was a time when the old world was discovering the new, when different races met each other for the first time. It was an exciting, brutal, fascinating era, and one that had not been written about all that much.
They say that there are two types of writer. A gardener, who plants the seed and allows the freedom of the story to take over. Or the Architect who carefully plans and plots every detail. Which one describes you best?
I’m actually both! I can never pin down exactly where a story comes from – I think many seeds are planted by what I read, see, hear, discover, and invent – but then I’m pretty careful about plotting, and usually have an ending in mind before I begin to write. But things do change in the process of writing – the story and characters take over, and it sometimes becomes clear that things I had planned to write are not going to work, so I change them.
Who were you literary heroes?
I have quite a few literary heroes, and, on the surface, they don’t seem to have a lot in common! Early on I read and was inspired by Anais Nin, Doris Lessing and Irish Murdoch. Later, I fell in love with Sarah Waters and Lisa See. I love a book with a good plot, thought-provoking themes, great character development, and a strong female lead.
Are they are more projects in the pipeline and are you able to tell me a little about them?
I’ve already finished a novella featuring my Siamese-mix, Pinky, but I have no immediate plans to publish it. It’s about a cat who becomes able to think, rather like a human, after a trauma – in this case, the death of his favourite person, the husband of the widow in the story (based on me and my husband). He doesn’t like this, but is stuck with it. His story is about the changes in his and the widow’s life, and how he comes to terms with them. There’s a bit of a love story involved, too.
I’m also thinking about a sequel to Stolen, and have begun two other novels – one about an entomologist who discovers a rare dragonfly in Guatemala; the other about an apparent murder/suicide of two young gay men in an Andy-Warhol type group in sixties London. But I’m also in a bit of a writing slump, and wonder if I will ever finish any of them!
You can buy Stolen from Amazon, Kobo, Nook and Itunes