Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.
How Fantasy inspired the Five Minute Bible Story Series
I didn’t like reading fantasy when I was a kid. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t keen on fairy stories either—too much like scary stories with all their poisonings and dangers and death. I loathed The Snow Queen with such a deep dire hatred that, when my brother told me I had to read it before I could touch his bookshelf—his beautiful, tempting, shelf full of hard-bound classics with softly textured covers—I volunteered to clean his room instead (and read while cleaning). But at college I discovered Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and Isaac Asimov. I lost myself in sci-fi and fantasy worlds, eventually rereading those long-loathed fairytales with appropriate delight. I grew up, I suppose, though my only-reads-for-information big brother, whose bookshelf still bore, unsullied and scarcely opened, those glorious tomes, suggested instead I’d grown down.
Years later I have three grown-up sons, one of whom only reads for information, one who writes, and one who devours anything scary. They weren’t wild about fairytales as kids either, but I used to tell them stories of my own, writing them down because oldest son didn’t believe it was worth listening if the words didn’t come from a book.
Well, now it’s December 2013 and the kids have all moved out. Christmas comes soon, with fantasy lands full of elves and fairies, with haunting sci fi tales of supernovas and dead civilizations, with Santa and Saint Nick, Christmas trees cut down from forests, fairylights like stars… and a book of children’s five-minute Bible stories by yours truly, called Bethlehem’s Baby. Some of my friends will say this is fantasy. It’s surely not fact, though I’ll claim it’s based on fact. I’ve researched the history and cultures of the time because I want my written worlds to feel as real as Ursula Le Guin’s. I’ve checked up on science and distance and time because I want my facts as believable as Asimov’s. I’ve tried to keep a sense of music and the unfamiliar because Tolkein’s The Silmarillion was my first inspiration for this project. And my characters are children, with a child’s sense of logic and fun inspired by Lewis Carroll.
So fantasy, faith, history, science, geography and fun inspired my writing. I hope they might inspire my readers too.
And thank you Chrissy for letting me visit your blog.
***Editor's note. Sheila, you're a delight. Come back anytime!***
Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.