By Katherine Gotthardt
Photo: Local author Sheila Lamb at a recent book signing (covers by Studio A&A of Prince William County)
It takes a lot of work to be a writer, as Sheila Lamb will tell you, but her efforts have paid off. Lamb, a native of Western Prince William County, has published Once a Goddess and Fiery Arrow, and both have had great success.
“Writers have to write every day,” says Lamb. “Writers have to read every day, even if you can only carve out twenty minutes of time.”
Both books are part of Lamb’s Brigid of Ireland historical fiction series. Brigid is a goddess, druid and saint. She faces her past and present with Patrick and fights to keep the ancient gods alive in Ireland. The stories are based on the real Brigid, who is known as one of Ireland’s patron saints. “Once a Goddess blurs into the fantasy side because it’s based on the Tuatha de Danann mythology,” Lamb says.
“I love the Brigid and Patrick stories. It was years of research and then writing – really, a lifelong dream.”
A graduate of Stonewall Jackson High School, Lamb became interested in writing when she was a child. She says her first success as a writer came in second grade when she attended Tyler Elementary in Haymarket. Lamb wrote a story from the point of view of a pizza. The book even had a pizza shaped cover. She won a school competition with her entry.
Lamb was fortunate to have had many people encourage her in her writing. “My parents…read to me every night,” she says. And she recalls Ed Lawrence, her creative writing teacher at Stonewall who died tragically in a car accident her freshman year of college.
“He was a great teacher, and we all loved his class. Looking back now, that impacted my writing. I continued to write diaries and journals and wrote a slew of collegiate angsty poems, but it was a long time before I wrote a story again.”
Lamb received her B.S. in Sociology from Shepherd University and an M.Ed. from George Mason University. “I loved history and literature,” she says. “It was a hard call when I decided to go into teaching.” She later had time to pursue her passion for writing, though, when she went on to get her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. “I loved it…great program,” she says.
Once a Goddess not only includes history, it has action and romance. Lamb’s protagonist Brigid says, “With sickening clarity, I understood why Father and Mother had chosen me. I, Brigid, was quiet and reserved, able to turn to stone. Stone is what they wanted to give to Bres and the Fomorians.
“Bres studied my face as though looking for fractures in my expression. I would not give in to him. Instead of showing my trepidation, I smiled and touched a forelock of his black hair that escaped the tight leather band that kept its length pulled back. He grinned and brought my hand to his lips, biting lightly. His gesture sent a chill down my spine.”
In Fiery Arrow, Brigid says, “Mother’s gaze caused another shiver to engulf me. ‘What you were born with, others have sought their whole lives to attain, with blood and sweat and hard work. You come by these gifts naturally. They will hate you for it.’”
Lamb is currently finishing the final book in the series and has begun working on a historical manuscript set in southern Virginia during Prohibition.
More information on Sheila Lamb and her writing can be found at www.sheilarlamb.com.