(Heather L. Sharfeddin)
PERSONAL: Born in Forsythe, MT; daughter of a forester; married.
CAREER: Sheep rancher in Sherwood, OR; Best Software, Beaverton, OR, manager.
MEMBER: Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International.
Blackbelly (novel), Bridge Works Publishing (Bridgehampton, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: The daughter of a forester, Heather Sharfeddin was raised in Montana and Idaho. As an adult, she became a rancher like her parents, who raised cattle near Missoula, Montana. Sharfeddin and her husband now raise Barbados blackbelly sheep, a meat breed, in Oregon. Sharfeddin's debut novel, Blackbelly, is the story of Chas McPherson, a sheep rancher in Sweetwater, Idaho. Chas is a hard-drinking bachelor who is caring for his elderly father, Franklin, a former preacher who now suffers from Parkinson's disease but who still exerts a powerful influence. Chas hires Mattie Holden to care for Franklin, and even as she adds her touch to the formerly womanless household, she fears that Franklin has the power to see into her soul and discover her weaknesses. Chas becomes a suspect when a hate crime is committed against a Muslim family because his truck had once been seen near their home. The plot centers around this incident and the developing relationship between Chas and Mattie. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Sharfeddin's "eye for detail … and her unsentimental compassion for her characters and their stunted lives will entrance readers." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Blackbelly "an impressive debut."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of Blackbelly, p. 811.
Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Patrick Sullivan, review of Blackbelly, p. 134.
Publishers Weekly, August 8, 2005, Hilary S. Kayle, review of Blackbelly, p. 104; August 22, 2005, review of Blackbelly, p. 36.
Heather Sharfeddin Home Page, http://www.hlsharfeddin.com (November 17, 2005).