Saturday, October 14, 2023
Just in time for Halloween! My publisher is having a sale on all print and ebook copies of my spooky award winning young adult novel, LIFELIKE. My publisher is also holding a contest where you could win a free Amazon gift card. Check out the contest details here: https://bit.ly/40343iH
Sunday, October 16, 2022
Check out my newest book, The Ghost of Wyvern Lake, coming out on October 20th. Need a little spooky in your life? Preorders on Amazon now available. Book Trailer link below.
Monday, March 15, 2021
SPOILERS ahead for my book, LIFELIKE.
If you have not read the other chapters
yet, go and read them now--then come back here to read about how I created
Chapter Three. Links to past discussions below.
This is a short chapter, but it is also an
important one. It is where Wren, the main character, learns that there is an
unsolved murder overshadowing the history of her new home. Wren is about to
become an integral part of this dark mystery. She will become the link between
what has happened in the past--and what is continuing to happen even in present
day within the silent walls of Kensington House.
I, myself, have always loved a good mystery. There was a period between fourth and seventh grade, that I quit reading chapter books as a child. It was mystery novels that helped pull me back into the world of reading and fantastic fiction. And once I discovered books again, I read every mystery novel I could get my hands on. And when I ran out of those, I discovered ghost stories. Any really good, classic ghost story is going to involve a mystery of some sort. In fact, as a child, I found the mysteries in ghost stories much more intense, intriguing and satisfying then your run of the mill Nancy Drew mystery.
The Dollhouse Murders, Wait Till Helen
Comes, House on Hackman’s Hill, House of Shadows, Ghost Cat. I devoured
every word. Right from the start ghost stories fill the reader with questions. Mainly--what
happened? Why is the ghost still hanging around? What caused their lost soul to
become bound to this mortal coil? What is it that the ghost wants? Revenge?
Justice? Or do they just need to complete some unfinished business? Is the
ghost the victim or the perpetrator?
This is where the true story of LIFELIKE
begins. Chapter three is where Wren’s
life is about to change forever. She just doesn’t know it yet.
Sunday, January 31, 2021
SPOILERS ahead for my book, LIFELIKE.
If you have not read the first two chapters yet, go and read
them now--then come back here to read about how I created Chapter Two.
Behind the Scenes Chapter One Link: http://sheilanielson.blogspot.com/2021/01/behind-scenes-lifelike-chapter-one.html
When creating LIFELIKE, I wanted the house (The Margaret
Kensington Doll Museum) to be like an actual living character within the book. I
wanted it to be both comforting and frightening both at the same time. This chapter
is our introduction to the museum and all of its many secrets. It let's the reader know exactly what they are in for if they choose to follow Wren on the rest of her adventure.
When I was a teenager, my mother took me to visit the McCurdy
Historical Doll Museum in Provo, Utah. As a kid who was obsessed with all
things miniature, I remember the wonder of entering that place for the first
time. It was a magical experience that I would never forget. The McCurdy Historical
Doll Museum had been shuttered for years before I got the idea to write my
story, so I couldn’t revisit it as part of my research for the book. During the
time that I was in the middle of writing LIFELIKE, a friend asked me about my book,
and I mentioned how my experience visiting the Mccurdy had influenced my desire
to have a doll museum in my story. She told me she knew Shirley Paxman, the
owner of the McCurdy and that she would be willing to set up an interview with
her so that I could ask all the behind the scenes questions I needed to about
how a doll museum was run day to day. I could not have been more excited to
meet this amazing woman. Shirley very kindly invited me into her home and sat down
with me, a completely unknown writer, to patiently answered all my questions.
She was the one who taught me about poured wax dolls, just like the haunted
ones in my story. She also shared with me many fun stories about the different
kinds of people who visited her museum and their reactions to the all the dolls.
Some of these true stories have found their way into the final manuscript of LIFELIKE.
Shirley Paxman passed away in 2015, so she will never get to see LIFELIKE, the
novel she helped to create. But she is reverently mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements
because of the important role that she played in bringing Aunt Victoria’s
beautiful Doll Museum to life.
In an interview (https://ksltv.com/398799/woman-inherits-responsibility-finding-home-4000-antique-dolls/)
, Shirley Paxman’s granddaughter relayed a story about the dolls in the
McCurdy Historical Doll Museum that I found very interesting:
“My grandmother told us—all of the grandkids—that at night
the dolls would get out of their cases and mingle and then go back in different
places,” Bentley said. “I think that they’re enchanted. I don’t think that
they’re haunted, necessarily.”
I remember asking Shirley if there were a lot of visitors
who came to her museum who found dolls to be creepy. She very adamantly let me
know that most people who visited actually found the dolls inspiring,
enchanting, and filled with the wonder of their history.
And thanks to The McCurdy Doll Museum, that is what The Margaret
Kensington Doll Museum in LIFELIKE became. A place full of inspiration,
enchantment, and mysterious history.
If you are interested in seeing some of the dolls in the
McCurdy Doll Museum, there is a video attached to the article in the link to
the interview above. Take a look!
Sunday, January 24, 2021
SPOILERS ahead for my book, LIFELIKE.
If you have not read chapter one yet, go and read it now--then
come back here to read about how I created the story.
You’ve been warned.
The idea for LIFELIKE came to me over ten years ago. (So,
yeah, it can take a very long time for a book to finally get published.) I
collect dolls and dollhouses, which means, I often get catalogs from doll companies
in the mail. It was as I was looking through one of them many years ago, that I
first saw a collection of dolls for sale. It was a full wedding party. (Bride, groom,
bridesmaid, flower girl, ring bearer, etc.) Something about that group of dolls
took hold of my imagination. I could not shake away the thought that a group of
dolls that were made together--and sold together--would be a different kind of
dolls. They would have shared history. And that’s when I began wondering all
those questions that an author must ask themselves when beginning a new story.
What if the dolls had been around a very long time? So long
that they had actually come to life?
But what would cause dolls to come to life after all this
What if they had been made to look like real people? People
who had been part of a real wedding that had never taken place. But why would a
wedding not take place? Because of a murder. And a murder meant ghosts. Which
would explain how the dolls had come to life.
If the dolls did come to life, how would that effect the
people who owned the dolls? Would they be afraid? Or would the dolls become
their friend? As I thought up answers for all these questions, the story of
LIFELIKE began to form within my mind. I could not stop thinking about it. The
more I knew about the dolls and their tragic history, the deeper I was drawn
into their tale. It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the
morning, and the last thing I thought about as I feel asleep.
The only problem was, I was already in the middle of writing
another book at the time. One that I had put a lot of time into already. But
this new story kept taking over, demanding to be written—right now! But I resisted
the temptation—over and over.
Then one day, my mother was talking to me about something
and realized that I hadn’t heard a single word she said—mostly because I had
just thought up another great new twist to the haunted doll story that I was
determined NOT to write until I’d finished the other book. My mother stopped
talking and asked me what had me so distracted. I laughed and told her about
the new story. She made me tell her all about it. The WHOLE thing, from beginning
to end. When I finished telling the tale, my mother had tears in her eyes.
“I think you need to write that story,” she said.
So I did. Beginning that very day.
And now you have read the first chapter of that book--started
so very long ago. I am excited to take you all along on the journey with me as I cover each chapter.
As this is an open discussion, please feel free to write any
question or thoughts you might have had as you read the first chapter—and I
will answer those questions in the comments below. Keep your eye on this page
and chapter two will soon follow.