An up-and-coming author is shutting out her doubts and fears to pursue her dreams and she’s inspiring others along the way
There are three things that inspire Sheela Dean’s work: her nieces, her nephews and cartoons.
“I’m a big cartoon freak,” Deen admits. “I love cartoons.”
From poetry to short stories, the young Philadelphia author has had a passion for writing since she was a little girl. And now she’s getting ready to release her third children’s book this month. Deen tells RoyalTee Magazine that most of her ideas come from between the television and interacting with her nieces and nephews, in particular, the books they’re reading.
“I’m reading these books with them and I’m like I can write this and they can be so much better,” says Deen. “Like why did it end that way or why was the plot like that.”
Typical questions we may ask ourselves when finishing a book we picked up from Barnes and Nobles or Walmart (those $3- $4 paperbacks always seem to find a way in our shopping carts). But Deen took her curiosity a step forward by launching a writing career. However, her shyness kept her behind the scenes for a little while. Unlike most writers, Deen wasn’t in a rush to get in the literary spotlight.
“I started ghostwriting at first for others and I enjoyed it, she says. “ I didn’t really want the attention but everybody was like why are you hiding your talent, you’re hiding yourself, you shouldn’t be hidden.”.
“I’m reading these books with them and I’m like I can write this and they can be so much better.”
With a nudge from her sister and supportive friends, Deen released her first book in 2015 entitled, My Potty is a Monster. Its main character is a purple afro green-eyed girl named Pepper. The book is a part of a series called The Adventures of Pepper.
“She’s the best in ballet, the best swimmer, the best reader, just the best at everything,’ says Deen.
Soon after that, Deen partnered with Philly author and philanthropist, Nehemiah Davis, on two more publishing projects, The Little Boy Who Could and The Little Girl Who Could, also known as The Adventures of Neo and The Adventures of Destiny. Their stories motivates kids to overcome their doubts and fears and embrace their greatness (notice the little girl’s shirt says ‘I’m a Queen’ and the little boy’s shirt, ‘ Greatness’ and the crowns?).
“ Its inspiring each other to be great, to be awesome,” she says. “You don’t have to be jealous of someone. Instead you can just ask and they can teach you.”
An empowering message she stresses is needed today in an generation that feels insignificant.
“The little boy (Neo) believes he can do everything, believes he is great and smart and he can do anything he puts his mind to,” Deen explains. “The little girl (Destiny) comes up to him and wants to be the little girl who could and he tells her the steps on how she can be great.”
While working to take over the publishing world, Ms. Sheela is also dominating in the classroom. The young writer is an accomplished high school English teacher and she is working on her doctorate’s degree in education. In the near future, Deen tells RoyalTee Magazine she hopes to start hosting seminars and summer camps for kids to help with their writing.
Investing in the kids in her neighborhood is a top priority for the author and one she intends to keep as she climbs her own ladder to success.
“The children are the ones who needs the most attention,” she says. “They’re our future.”
Sheela Deen’s story is far from over. As a matter of fact, its still being written. But when telling it, she is quick to point out that every step was less than expected. And at times, she can be her worst enemy. The attention she receives now from her work still gives her chills.
“I didn’t think I could do it, I was in doubt,” she admits. “I didn’t think it was going to have a big impact like this because sometimes when you see your own work, you’re like ‘oh I like it, it’s cute’; but when someone else read it, they’re like this is a good idea .”
Deen is learning to tune out her fears and doubts and encourages other aspiring authors and entrepreneurs to do the same. Her advice is simple, work in silence. She admits she didn’t tell anyone about her writing career, not even her family.
It was a complete shock for the people in my community and my family,” she says. “I wouldn’t tell anyone what I’m about to do because when you hear other people’s opinion before it happens, that makes you put a delay on what you want to do.”
And what makes Sheela a Royal Woman?
“Being humble and confident and being an believer. Not just an believer in myself but being a believer in other people and believing in God and his doings.”
You can learn more about Sheela and her books at sdeen.org
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.