Monday, March 19, 2012

Blog Tour: Interview + Excerpt with Sheila Dalton, author of The Girl in the Box

Today, I'm excited to be part of the Girl in the Box blog tour. Not only does this book sound really good, it also features a Canadian protaganist and is set here in Canada! I have an interview and an excerpt of the first three pages to share with you.

 Hi there Sheila. It’s great to see you here.
It’s great to be here!
Can you briefly tell us about the heroine in your latest release?
Caitlin Shaughnessy is a journalist. The book takes her from her mid-twenties to about age forty, so we see her develop from being a bit silly to a mature woman, deeply in love with her partner, psychoanalyst Dr. Jeremy Simpson. She is caring, adventurous, intelligent, questioning, a combination of daring and scared, with a great sense of humour. Her father is a musician; her mother died in strange circumstances. While a student, she sang as part of a rock group in bars to supplement her income. She’s a practitioner of Vipassana (insight) meditation who is well aware of her shortcomings as an aspiring Buddhist. Physically, she’s short, pretty, with thick dark hair and ivory skin.

What qualities do you most admire about Caitlin in The Girl in the Box?
These are good questions!
I like Caitlin because she can be feisty, she’s independent - she doesn’t live with Jerry, despite being his lover for over ten years - and she has a good heart.

Which of your characters from this release, would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
I think Jerry (Dr. Jeremy Simpson) would be my first choice as a dinner companion, because he’s smart and complex. I’d like to ask him all sorts of questions about being a psychoanalyst, and I’d like him to bring his ward, Inez, the young woman he rescued from Guatemala, who ultimately kills him. Inez is mute, but I’d like to watch the two of them together, to see how they interact. Inez is a mysterious person, and though I couldn’t converse with her, I’d like to meet her in person.
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?
I’d like to be a singer, or a really good nurse, or a Buddhist nun, a philosopher, or brave enough to be a war correspondent. Quite a lot to choose from! I think that’s why I ended up being a writer - you get to be any number of things, depending of what characters you create.
If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
I’d do more promotion earlier on. My first books all had good reviews, and many had quite good media coverage, in places like national newspapers, but I didn’t know how to promote them, and also was more shy and scared than I should have been. I’m still not keen on in-person promo, but I realize how important it is, plus I’ve come to enjoy meeting readers.

Thank you, Sheila.
You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me!

Please provide an excerpt below, suitable for all audiences.
I hope your readers will enjoy the first three pages of The Girl in the Box. If they’d like to read the first chapter, or see a trailer for the book, they can visit my website at


Guatemala, Feb., 1983

          The smell was thick as sludge, and rancid. It forced an intake of breath when Jerry wanted to pinch his nostrils shut and run out of the hut.
          He struggled to ignore it, but the stench dropped into his throat and lodged there. When he tried to swallow, he coughed instead.
Agua?” He turned to the Mayan behind him. “Por favor?”
The man nodded while continuing to talk to his wife.
Jerry leaned into his arms on the rough-hewn table and stared at the crucifixes on the wall.
There were five hand-carved wooden Messiahs in front of him, each more lurid than the last. One strained so far outwards from his cross that Jerry thought he looked like he could tear himself off and change religious history. Painted blood ran from the hands, feet and sides of all five, and hung in gobs from a number of wounded knees. It cascaded over one Christ’s body in vermilion stripes, ending in a single dangling blob at the bottom of the cross.
The murmur behind Jerry grew louder. He swivelled around. The couple dropped their eyes and lowered their voices simultaneously, as though  performing a duet.
Agua?” he pleaded, a hand to his throat.
Si, Senor.” This time, the man shooed his wife behind a ragged curtain then followed her out of sight.
Jerry concentrated on the pictures on the wall,. colourful renditions of what he thought must be Mayan deities, interspersed with rumpled copies of paintings of Catholic saints. An abundance of spiritualities, where he himself had none.
He frowned at the uplifted eyes and sweet secretive smiles of the saints. Multicoloured woollen frames bordered each blissful face—red, orange, bright yellow, the kind of blues and greens that oceans radiate and skies sometimes faintly reflect—colours out of a child’s fantasy, woven together with tufts and tassels and thick, knotted fringes that infused the pictures with the kind of robust good cheer he’d come to admire in Latin Americans themselves.
His spirits lifted. But there was that unhealthy smell, and a filthy blanket hanging heavily over the doorway, blocking air and light.

He'd met the couple while riding the bus to the village of Panajachel, on the way back from the market in Chichicastenanga.
Baskets were everywhere, and lunches wrapped in banana leaves, redolent with spices. Chickens clucked on the seats beside their owners. The women's feet were bare and dusty, the ribbons in their thick braids vibrant against the dark coils of their hair.
As Jerry admired both ribbons and braids, the woman in the seat directly across the aisle from him leaned forward and vomited in a thin stream onto the floor, then moaned and nestled back against her male companion.
The macho drivers and the hair-raising roads made travel sickness so common here that no one except Jerry reacted . He sat forward in his seat,frowning at the ashen grey of the woman's face, a stark contrast to her blue, red and orange huipil, and the vivid rebozo clutched tightly to her mouth.
She groaned again, loudly, and Jerry’s frown deepened. The man who, despite his healthy brown face, looked dull and pedestrian beside her in his faded T-shirt and polyester pants tied with string, pressed a hand to her forehead.
Jerry leaned across the narrow aisle, and spoke haltingly. “The Senora is…ill? Sick?
"Yo soy…doctor," he added when he saw the fear in the couple's eyes. He hoped to reassure them; his Spanish was limited, and it was the best he could do. “From Canada. Don’t be afraid.”
He addressed the woman, punctuating his speech with hand gestures and smiles. "Do you have stomach pain? A headache? Where do you hurt?"

The Girl in the Box summary:

Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin's psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.

Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez's relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and Chapters

Author Bio:

Find her on her website and on Goodreads.

Thank you to Honey Bee Promotions for setting up this blog tour. Click the button below to check out more Honey Bee Promotions blog tours:


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Erika. I really like the graphics, by the way.
    There's a GIVEAWAY going on till March 24 on The 49th Shelf. Five print copies are up for grabs.
    If anyone is interested, go to:
    to enter.

  2. Excellent questions- that was a really interesting interview! The book looks good too- really like the title! x

    1. Thanks, Pocketful
      Maybe you'd like to enter the giveaway at
      Just scroll down to enter. Deadline March 24.
      Btw, I thought the interview questions were good, too!


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