Former teacher now writing for her students

Shirley Ellen Dodding will be bringing her fourth book to Chapters on Nov. 24, and she hopes her former students will drop by to pick up a copy.

Dodding — whose students would remember her as Mrs. Collins — taught Grade 7 in Kamloops for 28 years before retiring.

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The book, Dancing with the Stripes, is described as an adventure, mystery, romance novel, which would probably be most enjoyed by readers in their early 20s, which, she points out, is the same age as many of her former students.

“I think it’s more young fiction,” she said. “Like a young girl in their 20s. It’s not really teen and not really young kids.”

Dodding started writing with the non-fiction book Asparagus to Computers: One Hundred Years of Kamloops Schools before switching to fiction. She has previously published two novels, You Look Just Like Her and Naked on the Inside.

“As my teaching career ended, I ended up getting involved with a writing group here in Kamloops, and I started getting inspired by them,” she said.

Dancing with the Stripes is set against the backdrop of a cruise ship, where a young woman named Alyssa who has recently lost her parents is on the lookout for hope, happiness and maybe even love.

Unfortunately, along the way she gets tangled up in a series of burglaries that could be leading toward a major heist. And who can find love when locked in the brig?

She’s currently working on a book that isn’t exactly a follow-up, but does feature two of the younger characters who are a part of Dancing with the Stripes. Writing about characters around the age of 12 is appealing because she knows that age so well from her years teaching.

“I know how they are, I know how they think. I know what they like and want,” she said.

Dodding has been a member of the Interior Authors Group for the last six years, including one year as secretary, one year as vice-president, and two years as president.

This isn’t the first time she’s had a book available at Chapters, and she hopes that Kamloops residents, including former students, drop by to visit her table during the signing on Nov. 24.

© Kamloops This Week


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