My name is Sheila Deeth. I'm the author of Bethlehem’s Baby.
I love dogs, especially those gorgeously mixed-up mongrel pups with a bit of everything and the best of all in them. And I love reading and writing. I’m also a pretty serious mathematician—I got my BA and MA in math at Cambridge University, England, and I specialized in mathematical astronomy in my post-grad year. And I love the Bible. All of which is why I call myself a Mongrel Christian Mathematician.
Have you written other books? If so, what are the titles?
I’m working on the seventh book in the Five-Minute Bible Story Series at the moment—Nazareth Neighbors. Bethlehem’s Baby is the sixth, and the first New Testament entry in the series. The other five are Genesis People, Exodus Tales, Joshua’s Journeys, Psalm Stories and More Psalm Stories, all published by Cape Arago Press.
I’ve written several novellas too—Refracted, Black Widow and Flower Child—all published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing; and one novel—Divide by Zero, which came out last year with Stonegarden.net Publishing.
Together with some short stories in anthologies, a couple of not yet published series for middle grade readers and younger children, various picture books and poems, and my self-published Bible picture books and Bible gift books, I think that’s about it.
How much research, if any, do you do when writing a book?
The Bible stories take quite a lot of research. I want to make them as close to authentic as I can, so I read lots of history, archeology, anthropology, geography and so on. I have several shelves full of books I’ve read for fun then included in my stories. And, of course, I use the internet a lot. Recently I was googling “Bible plants” trying to list trees in ancient Israel according to size, so I could write a story based on the parable of the mustard seed.
Why do you write?
When I started elementary school, the teachers used to loan me out to different classrooms to tell stories. I hadn’t learned to write at the time and wasn’t really keen on learning either. Then the headmistress (principal) plonked a huge great reel-to-reel tape recorder in front of me and said if I would learn to write she’d just have to record all my stories. I decided the pencil was less scary than the microphone and I’ve been writing ever since.
Where do you get your ideas from?
When I’m writing Bible stories I usually work my way through a book from beginning to end. I’ll read the next event, then take a walk and see what comes to me. Usually a child character starts asking questions in my head. After a while the imaginary child tells his or her version of the story, or else l see a direction to take that might keep that child intrigued.
How important are book covers in the buying process?
I self-published the first of my Bible stories with my own little pictures on the covers. I thought they looked great, but once my publisher rereleased them I could see why my copies weren’t selling. He does a wonderful job finding great cover art and putting it together into a cover that works. But covers are only one part of the whole attract-the-reader thing. There are lots of great covers and great books out there, and if you want people to buy your book you’re going to have to make every possible aspect of it the very best you can.
How do you market your book?
I’ve used Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn and my blog as marketing tools. Running a blog tour seems to be a good way of creating interest in a new release, and I like to find new efriends willing to interview me (thank you!!!) or post guest blogs from me during the tour. Book reviews seem really important—after all, the review is how a reader knows if someone else thinks the book’s worth looking at. And then there are all those free deals from kindle. My publisher offered Genesis People free for a couple of promotions; it generated some new reviews, but free days don’t seem to help sales as much as they used to.
What's your favorite Bible verse?
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
It serves as a reminder when I think I know what I’m doing and start hoping for my own sort of success. Book sales probably aren’t God’s priority, but Jeremiah 9:11 promises: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” so God’s priorities are definitely best.
My blog is at http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com I have a Bible blog attached athttp://sheiladeethstudies.blogspot.com/ as well.
Where can readers find your books?
My Five Minute Bible Story Series are published by Cape Arago Press at http://capearagopress.com/Five-Minute.html
I list all my books at http://www.sheiladeethbooks.com, or you can go to my Amazon page athttp://amazon.com/author/sheiladeeth
And where to find me:
About me: http://about.me/sheiladeeth
Five Minute Bible Story Series: http://capearagopress.com/Five-Minute.html
My website: http://www.sheiladeeth.com
My books: http://www.sheiladeethbooks.com
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/SheilaDeethAuthor