Sheila Dalton studied English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. Sheila was a freelance writer and editor for many years before becoming an Adult Services Librarian for the Toronto Public Library. She has written over ten books, including a collection of adult poetry, three children’s picture books, a literary novel, and a YA mystery which was shortlisted for a major Canadian crime writer’s award, the Arthur Ellis.
She lives in Newmarket, Ontario with her husband and two cats.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Canadian. I was born in England, and came to Canada with my family when I was six. I spent a few years in England in my twenties. I worked as a barmaid at an Aussie pub in London for a while. They loved my name, which was a good thing, because I couldn’t make change, let alone mix drinks.
What made you first decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I ever really decided, I just hoped – and wrote.
Can you tell us about your latest book?
The Girl in the Box is about a mute Mayan girl who kills the man who rescues her from a windowless shed in Guatemala, where she was kept chained by her parents.
What inspired you to write it?
An extended trip to Guatemala in the seventies, during the Civil War there. I saw a lot that shocked and moved me. Also, my experiences with Vipassana meditation, an analyst I knew, my own questions about love relationships, my growing feeling that political stances of any kind were deeply flawed, and stories I read about traumatized or damaged people who were misunderstood and mistreated. I had also been thinking a lot about how different cultures affect each other.
What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this book?