LOUGHEED, Alta. — Killarney Sheffield’s affinity for animals is evident within the pages of the 23 books she has written and published since 2010 with independent and small publishing houses.
“My books are light on romance and more on adventure, intrigue and personal growth,” Sheffield said about titles such as Love’s Magic, Stand and Deliver Your Heart and The Emperor’s Concubine.
She always loved books but disliked school, where bullying was commonplace.
“I hated school. It was like trying to do the Olympics. Math, science was just like pulling teeth for me. I couldn’t make sense of it,” said Sheffield, whose diagnosis of dyslexia in Grade 12 explained some of her challenges.
Horses, reading and writing were her escape from that world, she said.
“For me, it was an escape from bullying, from my reality because life wasn’t so great getting bullied every day,” said Sheffield.
She was encouraged by an editor to start writing novels after penning an opinion piece on horse slaughter. Sheffield found online support and critique groups and endured numerous rejections from publishers before finding a Canadian publisher. She now works with two publishers.
She fits in writing on a laptop at the kitchen table when time permits, with winter allowing more time for such pursuits. She has been rewarded with awards and nominations and most recently, interest from a screenwriter in her recent apocalyptic romance.
One of her publishing houses recently sold to Simon and Schuster so Sheffield is hoping that opens up more opportunities, provides more assistance with promoting the books and increases royalties by 20 to 30 percent.
Royalty cheques have grown from as little as $20 every few months to money in the “three figures,” she said.
She does much of her own promotion through blogs, websites and social media, often sharing details of her day-to-day work with horses with her 600 Facebook friends and 2,200 Twitter followers.
“My income is icing on the cake.It’s the extra, it’s certainly not something we could live on. It’s my way of contributing and doing something that makes me happy,” said Sheffield.
“It’s important for farm wives to have a little something of their own.”