Divide by Zero, by Sheila Deeth

I’ve been telling stories since the day I learned to talk—or possibly earlier. According to my mum, I was constantly talking even before I knew words, so perhaps I was born telling tales.

I’ve been writing stories since the day I learned to write—a task that was delayed, I suspect, by my innate laziness. Teachers used to “borrow” me from class in elementary school, so I could keep their students quiet with my made-up tales. Then, one day, the principal (the wonderful Sister Bernadette) put a rather large reel-to-reel tape recorder on the desk in front of me, accompanied by an extremely large and scary microphone. She said if I wouldn’t learn to write my stories, she’d just have to record them, one by one. The pencil being less scary than the microphone…

And I’ve been waiting to tell the story in Infinite Sum, since the day a trusted adult first abused me. But don’t worry; the novel really isn’t my story, and Sylvia is not me. My protagonist’s feelings are just as real and honest as if they were mine, but I think her tale is much better told because it’s hers. After all, I’ve been telling stories, fiction not fact, since the day I learned to talk. It’s what I do.

Today I started writing a dedication page for my soon-to-released second novel (hence the title to this post). I’ll have to start by thanking all those kind people who rejected my first attempts. I’m glad they stopped me from trying to publish my own story. I’m glad they rejected the thinly disguised (and overly serious, unbalanced and introspective) novel that it became. And I’m glad Second Wind have accepted this new and (I think vastly) improved iteration. It’s fiction, and I feel like it’s finally made Sylvia real to me—for all that she’s a stranger in my head. It’s made my childhood self real to me too. So I’m really grateful to my publisher.

I’m also enormously grateful to my mum. She has told me repeatedly, since the day I left home, that I really should make use of my storytelling and writing skills. Without Mum’s constant prayers and encouragement, Sylvia’s story would never have been written. Thank you Mum.

And now I must thank all those generous friends who’ve encouraged me with early reviews—in particular authors Catherine Cavendish and Paulette Mahurin, and most especially mystery author Aaron Paul Lazar who applied his razor-sharp fine-tooth comb to the final edits of the text. Thank you so much!

And you, dear readers, thank you too. If you read Divide by Zero, this novel’s for you. And if you haven’t got around to reading it, well you’ve still got time because Infinite Sum hasn’t yet been released. In Divide by Zero, you’ll meet a girl and the village (or subdivision) who raised her. You’ll wonder, if you’re anything like me, why she allowed things to happen as they did. And you’ll finish reading just in time to open up Infinite Sum and find the answer.

I’m so very thankful that Second Wind Publishing have trusted me enough to accept a second novel after Divide by Zero.

But most of all I am grateful—I will always be grateful—to God for teaching both me and Sylvia that forgiveness never was our job.

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero and Infinite Sum, one published and one soon to be published by Second Wind Publishing. She’s currently working on Subtraction, the third in the series. And Imaginary Numbers will follow soon afterward.


Filed under fiction, life, Sheila Deeth

5 responses to “Dedication

  1. Congratulations, Sheila, on finding publication with Second Wind. It’s a rush, isn’t it, when a publisher thinks enough of your work to take it on? I was once criticized for finding validation in publication. If that’s a character flaw, I can live with it.

    Unlike you, I didn’t begin my literary career until I was in my mid-thirties. I guess I didn’t really have much to say before then, nor did I have the patience for arranging words on a blank piece of paper.

    I recall my first novel, when I first starting kicking around the concept, back in 1991. I’d written the first line and the last line, and had only a vague idea about how I would connect the two. I told several friends about the idea, but I didn’t sit down to write the first sentence until one of them told me, “Enough already! Talking about it won’t get it done, so start already.” So I did.

    It took me two years to write January’s Paradigm, working on it mostly on weekends. Two more January novels followed, but it took me about a dozen years to complete the trilogy, going through some trying years in the late nineties, losing both my parents and a career change. I’ve written six more novels in the last ten years, along with a novella, all of which have found publication.

    I’ve found that writing is easy. Marketing, branding, and promotion are harder for me, and I’m still struggling with finding an audience for my work.

    Best of luck to you in the days ahead!

  2. Congratulations, Sheila! I’m glad the time is right for your story to be told. Second Wind has been a wonderful home for me, too.

  3. Candace Weber

    Congratulations, Sheila! I don’t read many novels, except for yours. I am really looking forward to Infinite Sum. You have the courage to be yourself not shying away from your own special gifts. What a great example you are to me. Blessings on your head and on your heart as you journey on.

    Candace Weber

  4. As a fellow member of the Second Wind Publishing family, I, too, congratulate you on Divide by Zero and wish you the very best on Infinite Sum and the others in the series, Subtraction and Imaginary Numbers. Sharing your gift as your mum and school principal encouraged will enrich us all. You are a wonderful writer. Keep up the good work!

  5. Thank you so much! Your encouragement means a lot to me. Like you, JCG, I find the whole marketing and promotion thing so much harder, and more alien, than writing. Perhaps this time it will be easier, because promoting the book will be so close to promoting myself. Or perhaps it will simply be terrifying instead, and I’ll turn into an alien.

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