Monday, June 29, 2009

GCC Presents: Sheila Curran

It's time again to showcase another talented member of the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit: Sheila Curran, author of the newly released novel Everyone She Loved. I was lucky enough to snag an advanced review copy, and I can't wait to read it on my trip to Victoria.

I love the premise of this novel, and I'll let Sheila herself tell you about her book's backstory:

"Books are born in strange places. This one was conceived in the front seat of a car.

No, not that kind of conception. My friend Julianna was driving. Our daughters were chatting in the back seat. I was talking about an article I’d written for McCall’s about two young girls in Arizona whose parents had died within months of each other. “Did you know that in some states, if there isn’t a will, the kids can be sent to foster care?”

The girls in my story weren’t so unfortunate. Their mother had named her best friends, another pair of sisters, as the children’s guardians. ”Just make sure you chose someone to take over if something happens to you.”

From there we talked about difficult it would be to chose which couple among one’s siblings and friends would best be suited for the job. Where did one couple’s permissiveness slide into overindulgence, another’s consistency into unbearable strictness? The idea of dying was hard enough, but figuring out which couple would most love your kids in your absence? Impossible.

We paused in our conversation just long enough for my brain to settle on yet another catastrophic possibility. “You know what would be worse?” I asked. “What if I died and John (my husband) married someone awful? I’d have no control at all!”

Another pause. “Unless,” I continued. “I could get him to agree that if he remarried, my sisters and friends would check out the bride. Make sure she wasn’t some kind of wicked stepmother.”

And thus was hatched the idea of EVERYONE SHE LOVED, a novel that explores the faith one woman placed in her dearest friends, the care she took to protect her family, and the many ways in which romantic entanglements will confound and confuse even the most determined of planners."
See? Doesn't that sound fantastic? She's also garnered some great endorsements from authors I adore:
“EVERYONE SHE LOVED is peopled with women of strong appetites---for love, for sex, for food---and Sheila Curran has amazing insight into the love-hate relationship that women have with each other and their own bodies. Curran is a beautiful writer, both witty and evocative, and she knows how to keep a reader riveted. I was up way past my bedtime, unable to stop turning pages." -- Joshylin Jackson, author of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING and GODS IN ALABAMA
"It isn't so much that Curran has found her greatest muse in the unbreakable bonds between women, but that the unbreakable bonds between women have have found their greatest writer in Sheila Curran." -- Julianna Baggott (Bridget Asher), author of THE PRETEND WIFE and MY HUSBANDS SWEETHEARTS
For a few insights into Sheila's writing process, check out her answers to my interview questions:
1) Now that you are published, what (if anything) have you changed about your writing routine? Not much of anything has changed. I still go through the same difficulty trying to get started with a new book, still have days where I’m sure I was never meant to be a writer, days where I’m sure I’ll never be published again.

2) Do you listen to music while you write? No, I wish but I get distracted.

3) Have you found that as you've developed your writing and story telling skills, you watch movies or read books 'differently?' Oh absolutely!

4) What vacation would be most inspiring to you as a writer? Hmnn. I think I’d like to spend some time in New England because I’d very much like to write about my father’s family’s roots there. Since my mom and siblings live there, I won’t have to pay for hotel, but getting time to do the research will the be the stretch.

5) What is one of your strangest / most quirky author experiences? Years ago, I was working on a story about two-uber hip couples who leave New York City to renovate an old hotel on a lake in New Hampshire. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but in the first chapter, my heroine got up early in the morning, wandered downstairs to go to the bathroom. She’s foggy with sleep, lost in thought, and she walks directly into a pair of feet. A strange woman has hung herself in their bathroom. Two weeks later, my sister, who lives in New Hampshire, got a call from a young teenager who worked for her. The child had just found her mother, hanging from the ceiling. They lived on the very lake where I’d pictured my novel unfolding. That spooked me.
Thanks, Sheila! Best of luck with your sophomore release.
I'll be back with another post Wednesday, perhaps with some answers to the questions that have been keeping me up at night: why are the leaves on my birch turning yellow? Why is my yard infested with earwigs? Who owns the orange and white cat that hangs out in my flower beds? When will the construction workers return to finish our street?
I'm beginning to fear the answer to the last question is "When Michael Bay directs a sensitive, well-acted, well-written drama with nary a single explosion."


  1. HaHa! Surely you won't have to wait THAT long for the return of the construction workers! And Sheila's lake house suicide connection is eerie.

  2. Anonymous7:54 AM

    I picked up 'Everyone she Loved' last week and I'm about 3/4 the way through it. Thanks for the recommendation!