by Robert Shields
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Following years of persecution at the hands of Vivica Vance, Daphne Downing levels the playing field wielding her No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil as she belatedly enters the world of witchcraft. Daphne becomes part of the Mysterious Girls’ Secret Bathroom Society and finds out that the politics governing witchcraft are daunting and sometimes deadly. She realizes she is aligned with the Daughter of Charm in this political battle with the Daughters of Spite led by her nemesis, Vivica. Along the way, she discovers that witches do not perform magic or witchcraft but a differentiated form of physics that only some women have mastered. The story deepens as she learns about the long history of witches’ domination and annihilation of wizards.
Tell us a little about you and how you got started writing?
I started writing at an early age. The first thing that I ever wrote was a fan fiction piece on Star Wars where the rebels actually stop the Empire from boarding their ship in the opening scene and they kill Darth Vader. I also started my own sports newspaper that had a whopping circulation of one when I was ten. I have since been writing a weekly syndicated sports column in Arkansas for over fourteen years on the side.
Where did you get your idea to write your book? What inspired you?
I was close to giving up on writing because it can be such a consuming process. I had written three non-fiction works. One was about economics and another was about sports. Both were bestsellers on Amazon in their genres of books. I wanted to write something creative before I gave up. I was always told to write what you know. I fought that for years and creating what you don’t know can be difficult. I started several stories and never got very far. Then I started to write Daphne. I remember my childhood quite vividly. I went to a parochial school. I remember the interactions. It was easy to create. It wasn’t a stretch to think some of those girls were witches. The characters are an amalgam of the greatest strengths and weaknesses that I experienced in my classmates and projected them through Daphne and the other girls of the Mysterious Girls Secret Bathroom Society.
What was your favorite part of the book?
Without spoiling the plot, it’s the Prologue of the book. I know exactly where it takes place and I can clearly envision what is about to transpire. And to a great extent, so does Daphne.
Growing up, what book do you remember reading?
There are two that stick with me. One is where the Red Fern Grows. My fourth grade teacher read it to us and everyone in the class just cried. The other was one that I read. It was “A Separate Peace.” The characters in the book were very relatable to me. I think they would be to any boy in high school.
Who is your favorite author?
I obviously liked all the S.E. Hinton books such as Tex and the Outsiders. My favorite was Rumblefish. The school that I attended often had those books on the reading list. They were short and captivating. At the time, I did not even know that it was a woman that wrote the books and that the “S” stood for Susan.
Where do you do most of your writing?
I can write about anywhere. I have a real knack at blocking out the rest of the world. What I often need is time. It seems to take me at least an hour to engage my brain into writing mode and putting my mind in the story.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Sponge Bob. Every character on the show is so funny because we all know people like that in our lives. The writing on that show is hilarious. It’s a show about a square yellow sponge and it’s known by everyone. That takes great writing.
Any other books in the works? Future projects?
After Daphne, I was really inspired. I wrote more and started several projects at the same time. I have finished another book that will be titled Diminishing Paige that is more of an adult book about a serendipitous high school romance that becomes complicated as the girls promiscuous past becomes a problem. I am also in the process of writing the second book in the Mysterious Girls Secret Bathroom Society. It would sadden me if Daphne never had a second book. I have also completed, but still editing the first book in a companion series to Daphne that will be about the bad girls titled “The Three Skirts.”
When you’re reading or watching a movie what is your snack of choice?
I like chocolate covered raisins. It’s all the fun without any of the guilt. Even though it tastes like chocolate, I convince myself that I am eating a fruit.
Robert Shields is a bestselling author and has been a syndicated sports writer for over fourteen years. “Daphne and the Mysterious Girls Secret Bathroom Society” is his first book in this fictional series. He has authored other books including “The Three Skirts,” “The Economics of Sex”, “Confessions of the Self Absorbed Observer: What I Saw Today” and “Scarlet Fever: A Razorback House Divided”. Shields is also an expert witness as an economist in the utility industry. He has testified in a multitude of dockets and other legal proceedings. He graduated at the top of his economics class at the University of Arkansas and won the award as the “Most Outstanding Student in Economics.” He lives in Arkansas with his wife and children.