Thursday 21 November 2013

Solomon's Tale by Sheila Jeffries : Review & Author Q&A

In the middle of a thunderstorm one Midsummer’s night, Solomon arrives on Ellen’s doorstep as a tiny, wet ball of fur. But as his new owner coaxes him back to life, it becomes clear he is no ordinary cat.

Wise beyond his years and with a spiritual connection to Ellen that links back to her childhood, this little black and white kitten becomes the family’s protector. As Ellen and her young son deal with homelessness and the loss of everything they hold dear, it is Solomon who brings light in the darkest of times.

The perfect gift for cat lovers this Christmas, Solomon’s Tale is the story of a cat who is the most faithful of friends. The perfect read for fans of A Street Cat Named Bob, this is an unforgettable tale of love and loss

Solomon's Tale by Sheila Jeffries is published in hardback by Avon on 21 November 2013.  This is a beautifully presented book.  The hardback version is just gorgeous, with a smattering of glitter on the cover that makes it look very festive and quite seasonal, a perfect gift for cat lovers.

This is a story that deals with some hard-hitting and quite emotional issues in a pretty unique style.  Solomon, the little kitten who is found by Ellen as a bedraggled bundle of fur is the narrator of the story. Ellen's family is struggling, things are tough and Solomon's presence helps to guide them through these tough times.  The voice of a cat as narrator does take some getting used to, but by the second chapter I felt that Solomon had found his 'voice' and the narration flowed perfectly from there.

The story is fiction with a theme of spirituality and healing, and I'll admit that usually I'm not keen on this sort of style or subject. However, Sheila Jeffries does make this work, and I believe its all down to having a cat as the narrator that makes this story so successful.

A book that will appeal to both adults and older children, especially those who may have suffered a loss in the family, it has a message and that message is clear. I'm certain that reading Solomon's story could help children who may find themselves in similar situations in their own family.

A warm and well-told story, quirky and different and will probably appeal most to cat lovers.

My thanks to Olivia, who sent my copy for review on behalf of the publisher.

I'm delighted to welcome the author, Sheila Jeffries here to my blog today.  I asked Sheila some questions, and her answers are below.   For more information about Sheila, please visit her website or follow her on Twitter @sheilajeffries1

Do you read reviews of your novels ? Do you take them seriously ?
Yes I read them. I'm interested in what effect my work has on people, so I take them seriously.

How long does it take you to write a novel ?
It varies, depending on the length and the amount of research involved. It can take six months to a year. I work best under pressure. Nothing motivates me like a deadline !

Do you have any writing rituals ?
I write in long hand, always, and edit in long hand. It feels more like my own creative process. I prefer to be in an armchair, and I need absolute peace. Sometimes I go off on my own to Cornwall and write intensively for a week.

What was your favourite childhood book ?
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, the unabridged original which is SO spiritual, multi-layered, and full of amazing detail.

Name one book that made you laugh ?
Tommy Cooper's life story.

Name one book that made you cry ?
The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen.

Which fictional character would you like to meet ?
Freckles from Gene Stratton Porter's book Freckles

Which book would you give to your best friend as a present ?
Dry Dock, Book Two of The Celestial Sea Voyages by Marina De Nadous

Are you inspired by any particular author or book ?   
Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

What is your guilty pleasure read ?     
Gaining Ground by Joan Barfoot

Who are your favourite authors ?  
Tarjei Vesaas, Ben Okri, Kate Morton, Jean M Auel, Janet Frame, William Golding, D.H.Lawrence, William Yeats, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare.

What book have you re- read ?  
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

What book have you given up on ?  

Sheila Jeffries has been writing since she was young and penned four children’s novels which were published before she left school. Written under her maiden name, Sheila Chapman, in the popular ‘pony story’ genre of the time, the books continued to sell worldwide until the eighties.

After studying at Bath Academy of Art, Sheila spent many happy years teaching in UK schools. She had eight more children’s novels published under the name Sheila Haigh, and her most successful book, Little Gymnast, was a best seller in America.

Solomon’s Tale breaks new ground in Sheila Jeffries’ writing career. It’s a book truly from the heart, and though it is fiction it is based on two real cats, Solomon and Jessica, who shared and enriched her life. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Anne. I pre-ordered this one, it looks a lovely read.