Opp woman overcomes challenges, accomplishes dreams of 1st novel

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 11, 2012


After a lifetime of dreams of becoming a published author, Opp’s Sheila Odom Hollinghead has finally accomplished the feat, despite obstacles in her path.

Born in Germany to a military family, Hollin-ghead grew up moving from Army base to Army base with books as her companions, she said.

“As soon as I discovered regular people wrote books, I knew I wanted to be a writer,” she said.

After graduating from college, she began teaching and writing in her spare time.

Unfortunately at 22, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.

“I continued teaching but labored to hold a pen to write,” she said. “Later, the arthritis went into remission, and I moved to Covington County.”

Hollinghead taught science at Fleeta Junior High School for 15 years, before retiring in 1994.

Hollinghead said health problems plagued her throughout her career.

“After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I retired and continued to write,” she said. “At that time, I completed the rough draft of ‘Thundersnow, In the Shadow of the Cedar,’ a story of a Depression Era teen girl who struggles with a controlling mother on a farm in South Alabama.”

In 2012, Hollinghead finally saw fruition of her efforts, as “Thundersnow” has been published, and is now available for purchase in a paperback edition or e-book version from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Hollinghead said she has also maintained a blog titled “Rise, Write, Shine,” for the past two years.

“From my blog posts I have compiled a devotional-type book,” (titled) “Eternal Springs: 366 Daily Inspirations.”

Hollinghead will hold a book signing, next Sat., Feb. 18, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Opp Public Library.

Both of her books will be available for purchase.