Former Omagh librarian publishes second novel

Sunday 11 April 2021 13:00

'HEALER OF MY HEART' is the riveting new novel by former Omagh librarian, Sheila Turner Johnston.

When readers say things like “I can’t wait to read your next book", most authors feel the pressure.

Sheila's debut novel, 'Maker of Footprints', received high praise from readers and reviewers alike.

Understandably she’s feeling the nerves now that the notoriously difficult ‘second novel’ has been published.

'Healer Of My Heart' delivers all the emotion and complexity of character that readers discovered and enjoyed in her first book.

Sheila says that telling the story of David and Robyn has been a labour of love for her.

“I hope there is a message here that vicious circles can be broken, that the past need not define us forever," she said.

"As David, one of the main characters, says at one point: ‘When you get blown off course, you can choose to stay lost – or you can reach for heaven and steer by the stars'."

At the very beginning of the novel, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is reproduced.

Asked why, Sheila explains: “This sonnet just struck me as so apt in encapsulating the essence of the story.

"That love does not alter, it is ‘an ever fixèd mark'. Patience and persistence can melt the iciest heart.”

Despite all the bad people who exist today – and there are some in this story – Sheila points out that there are many good people too, people like the protagonist in this novel who, though flawed, has an inextinguishable spirit of goodness and kindness.

“I wanted to write about someone like that because they do exist and we need them in these days," she added.

Sheila is a former Omagh branch librarian and was the manager of the Study Centre in what used to be called Omagh College of Further and Higher Education.

She and her husband Norman founded the publishing stable Colourpoint Creative.

The company was set up in Omagh Business Centre in 1993 and is flourishing in County Down, under the management of their two sons, Wesley and Malcolm, former pupils of Omagh Academy.

Sheila attended Queen’s University, Belfast, and apart from managing to graduate against all her expectations, one of her best experiences was reading her poetry to an audience that included Seamus Heaney.

She is an author who dives deeply into human emotions and relationships, exploring the grey areas between right and wrong and presenting her readers with moral and ethical dilemmas to navigate.

The book is priced at £7.99 (also available as an ebook) and is published by Colourpoint

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