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Interview: Sheila Dalton, Author of The Girl in the Box

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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?

A feeling that they were really there, that the story was real for them.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

From my publisher, Dundurn, from Amazon, and from Google eBooks, also in stores such as Chapters/Indigo in Canada, and other bookstores here and in the U.S.

If you could meet any writer (living or dead) who would it be?

Well, I’m not sure, but I think Henry Fielding might be an interesting fellow, given that he wrote Tom Jones. That book is such fun. I love the way it questions so many assumptions, and takes a stand against so many foolish prejudices and narrow-minded attitudes.

What is one fact about yourself you wish to share with our readers?

That I would like to be a panther.

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on two novels. One is historical fiction, set in 18th century England, Morocco and Barbados, and is about a young woman whose parents are kidnapped by Barbary Corsairs. The other is set in contemporary Toronto, and concerns four young women who are trying to establish an alternative way of being in society, and who are suddenly saddled with a baby left behind by a young woman visiting them from Borneo.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just that I hope readers will visit my website

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About Cheryl C. Malandrinos

  • I love learning more about one of my favourite authors. Thanks for this 🙂

  • Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today. I hope readers will feel free to post and ask questions. I’d love to hear from them.