The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories - Volumes XXXI-XXXIII are launching this month (22nd May) and we're interviewing the contributors. Next up is Alisha Shea.
1. Please tell us about yourself and your story.
I have been a nurse for about 15 years in one capacity or another, only recently getting away from direct patient care. Previous to that I have been a pharmacy technician, a teacher, a catering worker, a retail worker, and deliverer of newspapers to the middle of nowhere. I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. Most of my jobs have dealt with the public. And after all of those experiences, I must agree with Holmes that reality is weirder than any fiction. I have the stories to prove it. I have long been not only a fan of Sherlock Holmes, but also Dr. Who and Star Trek (TOS and TNG primarly.) The first purchase I made that was over $100 was the Oxford annotated Sherlock Holmes collection. I have been involved with the local Sci-fi/fantasy convention for at least the last 15 years, but quit because I wanted to do something different.
Which brings me to my contribution to this anthology. I have never been published before, and probably would not have been this time if not for David catching me goofing around with rhymes in The Stranger’s Room. He must have thought I was not too bad or been desperate for a poem to round out the collection (perhaps both?) Anyway, in college I took a course that studied the development of morality which absolutely fascinated me. The last stage was when the individual develops their own moral code independent of society. Holmes has always had that sort of reasoning. There is the belief that “the law is what we live with” but it isn’t always right. Justice and law are not synonymous. Fair and equal are not the same either. But we do our best with what we have, and if we are lucky, we have someone like Holmes to balance the scales a bit.
2. Why do you want to participate in this project?
Although my contribution happened through some chance circumstance, I am very happy to be a part of this project. I have been purchasing this collection for the last few years, not only because I love a quality traditional Holmes pastiche, but because it supports such a great cause. My original degree was in the education of learning disabled students. I have always believed that everyone has a contribution to make in society. All of us don’t need to be doctors or rocket scientists to have value. And though I discovered that teaching them was not my calling in life, I love to support those who do have that calling.
3. What are yours current and upcoming projects?
Projects….well, I am that Jack-of-all-trades that most people love to hate. This is probably because I grew up in a family of eight people on one income. When you can’t afford to hire anyone to do work for you, the only option is to get it done yourself. The positive result of this is that you don’t put artificial limitations on yourself. Of course, that means that I also have a myriad of projects going at any given time. The ones I am actively working on are: an Estonian lacework shawl, a cross stitch for my wall, a tapestry crochet afghan of a Sherlock Holmes portrait, learning to play the violin (hopefully well eventually) and about four ideas for either scholarly or creative written works involving Sherlock Holmes in some way.
4. Any last thoughts?
Last thoughts? A long time ago, I had many doubts about a course of action. I wanted it, but it would require a lot of change. I was understandably afraid. A friend gave me this advice, “Of course things will change. They always do even if we do nothing. Do not let fear keep you from doing that which is great.” Life is difficult, but if we soldier on we can accomplish great things. Do not sell yourselves short, or allow anyone else to.