PERSONAL: Born in KS. Education: Earned teaching degree from Sacramento State College.
ADDRESSES: Home—Yachats, OR. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Permanent Press Publishing, 4170 Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor, NY 11963.
CAREER: Writer. Tokay High School, Lodi, CA, former English teacher.
AWARDS, HONORS: Oregon Book Award finalist, 1998, for Northport: Stories of the Coast.
Maggie's Rags (novel), Central Oregon Coast Writer's Co-op (Yachats, OR), 1996.
Northport: Stories of the Coast (novel), Central Oregon Coast Writer's Co-op (Yachats, OR), 1998.
Under the Camouflage: Revolving Wheels of Time Power a Mother-Daughter Relationship (memoir), Acorn Publishing (Battle Creek, MI), 2001.
Stanley, California (novel), Permanent Press (New York, NY), 2003.
The Widow's Husband (novel), Permanent Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to journals, including Oregorian, Eugene Register-Guard, Newsweek, Oregon Coast, Northwest Travel, Creative Woman, Portandia Review of Books, West Wind Review, Future of Oregon, Evergreen, and Word. Co-editor of journal The Space Between.
SIDELIGHTS: Beginning in the late 1990s, former California high school English teacher Sheila Evans forged a second career, writing stories, novels, and a memoir. "It's a heart-breaker, this business of teaching high school English, I don't care what Frank McCourt says," wrote Evans at the Acorn Publishing Web site. "So after twenty years of it, I retreated to Oregon to write about how it is in a Central Valley school. Sort of like Willa Cather moving to New York to write about how it is on a Nebraska farm. You must create some distance." Soon after moving to the Pacific Northwest, Evans began to portray her new surroundings in her fiction, including the early novels Maggie's Rags and Northport: Stories of the Coast, the latter of which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
As a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted, Evans "proved herself expert at plumbing midlife issues" in her 2003 novel Stanley, California, which tells the story of Arlene's reluctant return to her hometown. Arlene is struggling with personal demons about her relationships. Evans provides "deft insights into the elements that bind relationships together and cause them to fall apart," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Two years later Evans published the novel The Widow's Husband, about a new widow in her fifties who finds herself. This novel also elicited favorable comment from reviewers, among them a Publishers Weekly contributor, who found this story "redeemed by the honesty and accessibilty" of the writing. A Kirkus Reviews contributor remarked that the novel is an "exciting tale." The critic for Publishers Weekly believed that the novel's conclusion "demonstrates Evans's ability to capture the nuances of human relationships and their fault lines."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Evans, Sheila, Under the Camouflage: Revolving Wheels of Time Power a Mother-Daughter Relationship, Acorn Publishing (Battle Creek, MI), 2001.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of Stanley, California, p. 976; December 1, 2004, review of The Widow's Husband, p. 1104.
Publishers Weekly, October 6, 2003, review of Stanley, California, p. 60; January 3, 2005, review of The Widow's Husband, p. 36.
Acorn Publishing Web site, http://www.acornpublishing.com/ (May 4, 2005), "Sheila Evans.'