A partially-sighted Burnham-On-Sea resident has unveiled her first novel at the grand age of 95.
Sheila Rainey has got her first novel, ‘Innocents in London’, onto Amazon’s Kindle service this month, with the potential that it will be published in physical book form if more than 20 copies are purchased.
The 278-page historical fiction book features a five-year-old boy whose mother died, and he is kidnapped from his father’s country estate and finds himself in Georgian London ’employed’ as a climbing boy. Readers will find out if he survives and whether he can find his father.
Sheila has more books awaiting publication, having written eight detective novels that a publisher is considering.
Her love of writing comes from previously taking evening classes in shorthand and typing, and also enjoying creative writing.
Sheila’s musical background is impressive as well. She was the orchestral secretary for the Philharmonic Orchestra, attending rehearsals, concerts, recordings and trips abroad, followed by a temporary employment with the English Chamber Orchestra.
Wishing to both broaden and deepen her education, Sheila took a three-year course as a mature student at Bristol University, reading English, History and philosophy and she was awarded a BA in 1970.
In Bristol she was employed by the BBC as secretary to their training orchestra for young musicians, the Academy of the BBC, and then transferred to London to work with BBC Music Publications, commissioning programme notes for concerts, editing and proof reading, as well as compiling short biographies of artists appearing in concerts.
After a car accident, she was left with severe leg injuries, unable to work for several months, and she subsequently gained employment as a receptionist at the Gilbert White Museum in Selbourne. There, she catalogued the museum’s archives.
She later moved to Eastbury near Lambourn, working as a freelance for a Newbury publisher, Countryside Books, where she edited, proof read and provided indexes. Diminishing eyesight has seen her retire in Burnham-On-Sea.