Monday, August 27, 2012

Authors Pick Five: Sheila A. Neilson

As part of Utah Book Month and in conjunction with my reading and review of her book Forbidden Sea, I've asked Sheila Neilson to participate in my Authors Pick Five feature and answer this one question:

What five books are most important or influential to you?

Here's what she had to say:

Trixie Belden Series

I used to be one of those kids who was obsessed with horses. There was a time when I refused to even look at any book if it didn't have a one starring somewhere in it. Trixie Belden had horses--but she also solved mysteries. Because of Trixie Belden, I discovered that I liked mystery books even more than I liked horse books. That was when I--*gasp*--branched out and started reading books without horses in them. Thank goodness for Trixie Belden. 

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

This was my favorite book growing up. I've probably read and re-read this book more than any other novel. I felt a real connection to Emily, who wanted to be a writer just like I did. Emily didn't let anything stop her from reaching her goal and I wanted to be just like her. Many years later, I read these books aloud to my aging grandmother. She was just as delighted with them as I had been as a child. Now that my grandmother is gone, I still carry in my heart, those tender memories of sharing with her my favorite childhood books.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

This was the book that introduced me to fantasy--now my favorite genre to write. Before Beauty, I had mostly read contemporary fiction and mysteries stories. It was Beauty that showed me all the possibilities of a fantasy book well written. My own novel, Forbidden Sea, owes a great deal of its fairytale flavor to a love of that style which Beauty awakened in me long ago.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

As an adult, I gave up reading middle grade and young adult books for years before rediscovering them a second time. These were the two books that helped me remember the joy of reading juvenile fiction all over again. Without them, I would never have become an author of teen fiction--or a children's librarian, for that matter. Oh what a world of opportunity I would have missed had I not picked both of these titles up and given children's literature a second chance!


Sheila has been a children's librarian in here in Utah for 15 years, but she says she hopes to be a full time author some day. About her many hobbies she says: "Among my top five interests are doll collecting, art, reading, writing, and horseback riding. I also collect mermaids--but ONLY those wearing fantastic mermaid outfits. Which is near impossible to find, believe me. But that is what makes collecting them so much more fun than the regular kind. : )"

You can follow her at these places:


Thanks to Sheila for participating! I love your list!


  1. those are some of my very favorite books, too

  2. Good taste in books, I see. I need to read Forbidden Sea. I hate not having much reading time!

  3. I love this feature! Of the five listed, I've only read BEAUTY. I've added some of the others, including FORBIDDEN SEA, to my TBR list.

  4. I LOVE the Enchanted Forest series. Those were some of the first books I loved.



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