Born on an abandoned cattle station in the searing heat of the Australian outback, Sheeba after surviving an opportunistic attack by a family of wild boar, is rescued from marauding buckaroos by Kaz The Wise One, a rather eccentric but well meaning kookaburra. Unable to care for the estranged dingo pup, Kaz with Sheeba dangling precariously from his beak takes her home to the more forgiving climate of the coastal bush. Here in the early hours of dawn, he places the helpless whelp in the pouch of a barren, but profusely lactating old female kangaroo, known to the entire group as Aunt Gerty.
Acceptance by the entire mob of kangaroos is not a forgone conclusion, but with the help and mentorship of Big Red, the leader of the group, Sheeba is accepted by the adult roos but shunned by the younger joeys. Desperate to be just like all the other young kangaroos, but spurned at every attempt because of her short hind legs, puny tail, and golden color, Sheeba finally has to accept that she is a dingo, and if Kaz the wise one is to be believed, is of royal blood.

Part One of my interview with M.J. Croan

Mini Bio
My name is Malcolm James Croan, but I much prefer Callum (Gaelic for Malcolm.) I was born in Edinburgh Scotland on the 1st of November 1948. I mention this because, coincidentally it happened to be ‘All Saints Day,’ and by a stroke of good fortune for my mother, her birthday also.

My father Robert Croan known as Bob was a managing partner in the family business known as Robert Croan and Son’s. A fish and kipper curing enterprise of considerable size on a nationwide basis. Unfortunately the son’s did not refer to me, but to the previous generation, the business having been started by my grandfather, and his brothers. As it would turn out I would have to make my own way in life. But it has to be said that I did have a fairly privileged upbringing, which included a public school education. In the UK, public means private education. St Josephs College Dumfries, it also happened to be a boarding school. This male bastion was administered, and controlled by the Marist brothers. A religious order that in time I would come to rebel against, and eventually at the tender age of twelve, I would abscond from.

The rest of my education was somewhat patchy, but I think it is safe to say that I probably would have been voted the least likely student to ever write anything worthwhile. My spelling was abominable and my English grammar probably no better than average. But I always had a good imagination, a talent which for some inexplicable reason was completely overlooked by the educational system of the day. I also had an insatiable desire to discover for myself what lay over the horizon.

Solstice:
what inspired you to write Princess Sheeba?
M.J. Croan:
Originally, a means to an end.

Solstice:
Do you have a favorite character you have written?

M.J. Croan:
Oh yes! ‘Princess Sheeba.’ She is the ‘Lion King’ of the dingo world. Inspired by my own travels in Australia, and my own dog ‘Sheeba.’ My partner and I rescued her from the local dog pound some years ago. As to how a dingo ended up in Newfoundland I can’t answer, but I am convinced that she is at least in part dingo.

Solstice:
What are you currently working on?

M.J. Croan:
I am currently working on a thriller entitled ‘Retribution.’ A story of a kidnap gone wrong, brutal murder, and revenge.

Solstice:
How long have you been writing? What influenced you to start?

M.J. Croan:
I have been writing on and off for thirty odd years. It all started as a quick way to make some extra cash. I am still trying.

Solstice:
How do your family/friends feel about your writing?
M.J. Croan:
My first wife could not accept that my characters were purely fictitious. Her lack of enthusiasm for my work was definitely a negative influence. However I have since been blessed with a partner whose enthusiasm is even more positive than my own.

Solstice:
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
M.J. Croan:
I am sixty-two years old now. God willing my writing will be recognised, and perhaps being produced, or at least considered for a motion picture. The trick is not just in the writing, but in who reads it.

Solstice:
Do you have any advice for new or aspiring author?
M.J.:
Use the internet. Join writing sites. webook.com, authonomy.com etcerta.
Solstice:
What is your favorite book? (one that you have read) and why?

M.J. Croan:
It would have to be the ‘Thorn Birds’ by Coleen McCulloch. She brought to life a land that I was already familiar with. And the depth of her characters inspired me to take up my pen and try to emulate her skill. I can only hope that I have succeeded in some small way.

Solstice:
On the fun side, what is your favorite television show and why?
M.J. Croan:
This would have to be ‘Two and a Half Men.’ The show in itself is quite shallow, but the writing is quite brilliant. I guess I have a secret desire to write comedy, maybe I will get around to it one day?

Solstice:
Thanks M.J. for taking time to talk with us today. Before you go, tell your readers where they can find you.

M.J. Croan:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=567385947
http://www.youtube.com/user/CallumC8888
http://callumc.wordpress.com/ (Short stories, poetry, and much more).
http://www.wix.com/intthriller/malcolmjcroan (Definitely worth a visit. Included radio interview).
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1449535410/ (Purchase: ‘Right Hand Up To God’).
http://twitter.com/#!/Callum8888