Hardback: 234 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Avon 2013
Source: The publishers in return for an unbiased review.
First Sentences: I sat down in the middle of the road to think about why I had left home on that summer morning. I was only a black kitten, eight weeks old, but I had a tough decision to make.
Review Quote: “An inspiring tale destined to delight all.” The Sun
My Opinion: A wonderful spiritual tale for young adults but one that will be enjoyed by all animal lovers.
When I was approached by the publisher to see if I was interested in reading and reviewing Solomon's Tale I admit I had my doubts. Firstly I normally steer away from young adult novels and secondly books written from an animals point of view. However loving cats and missing having my own there was something about it that I found appealing so I said yes. Thankfully I did and thanks Avon for giving me the opportunity to read this heart warming spiritual story proving to me just how close a relationship one can have with a cat.
Solomon is the hero of the novel and the narrator of the story of how he saved a family in crisis. Solomon had once been the pet of a little girl called Ellen, now a young woman with a child and in an unhappy marriage. She needs help which is why the angels send Solomon back to earth to find her and guide her through troubled times. You may not believe in angels or the concepts Sheila Jeffries writes about, but read with an open mind you cannot help but find it emotional and uplifting. A simple little story that covers some big emotional issues in a unique style.
In conclusion this is a wonderful spiritual tale for young adults but one that will be enjoyed by all animal lovers, young or old.
Author Profile + Author Question and Answer Interview
Sheila Jeffries has been writing since she was young, writing and publishing four children's novels 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 bestseller in America.
Solomon’s Tale breaks new ground in her 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. Sheila lives in Somerset where she enjoys teaching meditation and running workshops for writers.
For a fuller Biography please visit Shelia Jeffries - Official Website
In agreement with her publicist I am including a question and answer interview with Shelia Jeffries, which I hope my readers here will find of interest.
Author's questions answered by Sheila Jeffries the author of Solomon's Tale.
What is your average writing day?
About three hour’s actual writing, another three hours thinking time, research and editing.
Do you use celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I was inspired by a brilliant English teacher, and by both my parents. Now, I am grateful for the support of my close writers circle and my husband, Ted, who is amazing. I don't have a celebrity role model but a person I like and admire is Joanna Lumley.
What is your favourite women's fiction book of all time?
I love so many books, it's hard to choose. I also love classical literature and poetry. The one book I have re-read several times is GAINING GROUND by Joan Barfoot. It's such an important book for women, really challenging everything society expects of us.
What is your writing process?
I write in longhand, always, sometimes very fast and sometimes painfully slow. I am slow if I haven't had enough thinking time and solitude. My stories evolve organically and the most impossible task for me is doing a synopsis. I edit my work ruthlessly and usually need 3 drafts. My handwritten copy is a real mess and the girl who does my word processing is incredibly tolerant.
Can you describe your journey to being a published author?
I've had 3 journeys! The first began when I was still at school and writing as Sheila Chapman. The first publisher I approached gave me a 3 book contract, and, at the time, I didn't appreciate how lucky that was. The second journey began after I'd married and been teaching for a few years, writing as Sheila Haigh. I wrote 8 children's novels which were published in UK and America, and they were popular. But that was an intensive time for me and I felt type cast into doing a 'next in the series'. Journey number 3 is where I am now, and it hasn't been so easy. I was determined to re-invent myself and write from the heart as Sheila Jeffries, and, for the first time in my life I wanted to be up front about my interest in spirituality and healing. My lucky break came at the Winchester Annual Writers Conference when Solomon's Tale was spotted by a top agent, Judith Murdoch.
What is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
People think I sit in a tree and write poetry.
What advice would you give to readers who want to write a novel?
First, read, read and read. Then, just get on with it. Don't worry about it being perfect. Once you have a rough copy, you can transform it. And go to writer’s circles and conferences whenever you can.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am writing a 3 book saga about an inherited gift of clairvoyance in a family and the jealousy and prejudice which tried to destroy it. I'm also writing a new children's book, and a non-fiction book, FOREST OF DREAMS, a true story which you can see on my website http://www.sheilajeffries.com/
What are your top five writing tips?
1- Don't procrastinate. Just get on with it.
2- Read your work aloud.
3- Watch people, (discreetly!) and build your characters from details of behaviour, body language and try to see the real person in the eyes.
4- Join a writers circle, and if there isn't one, start one.
5- If you are stuck, write a different section of your novel. You can fit it all together later.
Amazon - Solomon's Tale Goodreads - Previous Books Sheila Jeffries - Author's Official Website