Background of the book:
Shane, Sheba and Sky is the true story covering a 5 year period in my life, where mentally I, Paul Viner, was not in a good place.
To reignite our lives, my wife and I decided to endeavour in looking for a dog to share our home with us. Our three grown-up daughters had flown the nest, and we felt we needed to establish our maternal and paternal roles.
One day I stumbled upon a website trying to find homes for abandoned dogs, the covering stories about the dogs broke my heart, and at once we decided we would not buy from a breeder, but give a home to a rescue dog.
Shane, Sheba and Sky is about the amazing, and sadly the heartwrenching journey we have been on. It covers in great depth the highs, the lows and the dedication required when adopting a brutalised, and in Sheba’s case, a disabled dog.
No stone is left unturned, and I for the first time in my life opened up about exactly how I was struggling mentally. I wrote about my emotions, something that in the past I had never spoken to anyone about.
Inspiration to write:
I, Paul Viner, never set out to write a book. I have only read 9 books in my life, I am 56 years old. I failed academically at school, and have never had any training in writing.
I was feeling very low in 2013, and a close friend told me to write down all my negative thoughts on scraps of paper. The idea was that when I found myself able to come to terms with the negativity in my life, I was to burn the notes that I had scribbled, in effect exorcising my mind.
On a cold autumn afternoon, I gathered the pieces of paper with the intention of burning them. Before I went int the garden I started reading the words I had written. They were a huge part of my life, so I sat down and started trying to write them down in a journal. Over a period of 4 years, the words kept flowing. My mental mood determined which part of my dogs lives I wrote at any given moment.
Before I knew it, in the summer of 2019 I had 85,000 words in front of me. I had them professionally edited and managed to self publish my book on the 14th of October 2019.
My main target audience for Shane, Sheba and Sky are dog lovers, and anyone considering adopting an abandoned dog. Due to the graphic nature of some of the pages an age range of above 18. Inadvertently I have also found myself inundated with messages from men suffering from mental health. The continual theme of their opening words to me is ‘Thank you for highlighting what we go through’.
Hopes for readers:
My main hope is for abandoned dogs, as opposed to my readers. I hope that in reading my book people will look to adopt brutalised dogs. I know not all of the reading is easy going, but it is the truth, and people need to be made aware of the distress that they will potentially endure when giving a home to a stray/abandoned dog. But I also want them to see the positives, the unconditional love, and the amazing companionship.
I have two, goals, but realistically I know that I will never be able to achieve either. The first would be to find a publisher prepared to take on Shane, Sheba and Sky, and get it into mainstream bookshops. The second, and I know this sounds conceited, but many people have said the book would make a beautiful film, but as I said I know both of these aspirations are unachievable.
A little about myself:
I, Paul Viner, am a happily married, 56-year-old father of three grown-up daughters. I have two grandchildren, and two amazing dogs. I was born in Islington, London and moved to Essex when I was young. I have worked all over London as a Street Trading Enforcement officer, and volunteer in my spare time at the rescue sanctuary that saved Shane, Sheba and Sky. When able to, I love spending two weeks every summer on one of the many stunning Greek Islands.