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Sheila GrinellSheila Grinell<div class="ExternalClassEDAEA9C012E44A41965DD0A65ED40A93"><h2>​<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">The Contract </span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-parastyle="heading 4">by Sheila </span><span data-ccp-parastyle="heading 4">Grinell</span></span> <br><br></h2><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Sheila Grinell spent forty years developing science centers, most recently in Phoenix where she served as founding President and CEO of the Arizona Science Center. She turned to literature in her sixties, publishing a debut novel, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Appetite</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, in 2016. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>The Contract</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, her second work of fiction, is based in part on her work as a museum consultant in Saudi Arabia. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at The Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband, Tom Johnson. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What prompted me to write the book?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I had been thinking about how and when people generally learn to tolerate one another. At a colleague’s prompting, I realized I could use my  work experience in Saudi Arabia as background for a deep look at the theme. My book contrasts the habits and beliefs of a married couple of museum designers from California with those of a group of Saudis who want to create a children’s museum. Of course, the designers’ personal stories come into play. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What attracts me to the genre: literary fiction?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I like to read realistic, contemporary literature that makes me think. I do read in other genres, but I keep coming back to books that help me scour the insides of contemporary life. Of course, any book I read in any genre has to be well written—I love a fabulous turn of phrase.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Are the characters based on real people?</span> <br></h3></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">All the characters are based on real people and real circumstances that I encountered in my first, long career as a museum developer in both the US and Saudi Arabia. But the characters are all amalgams of many people. They are fictitious. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What type of research did I do?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I spent forty years in the science museum field, starting museums from scratch in the US and consulting on projects abroad,  so I already knew a lot about the job my characters try to do, and the way they try to do it. I did read up on the Saudis, and I had the privilege of reviewing my manuscript with Karen Elliott House, former publisher of </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>The Wall Street Journa</em>l,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> who is one of the nation’s authorities on Saudi Arabia. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Currently reading?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">At the suggestion of a friend, I’m reading </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>The Unwomanly Face of War</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> by Svetlana Alexievich. She won the Nobel Prize in literature for the book, which is an oral history of Russian women in World War II. Not my usual fare!</span> <br></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Currently writing?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I’m working on a new novel that is set here in Arizona. It’s about contemporary pioneers in the immediate post-pandemic West. Since I’ve written only 50 pages to date, it won’t be available for another couple-three years.</span> <br><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span> </p><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">If not writing, what would I do?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Now, I only want to write. But I’ve already done something else—a long stint as a creator of science museums—that I loved doing. Think of me the next time you visit the Arizona Science Center.</span> <br><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span> </p><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Local library?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">My husband and I recently moved, so now I use the Acacia Branch. Previously, my husband, son, and I used the Mesquite Branch. Now I borrow books, and before the pandemic, I browsed the aisles to see what’s new, to check out classic titles I hadn’t read before, and to sit quietly and read. I’ve been a constant library goer since third grade. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> ​</span></p></div></div>





The Contract by Sheila GrinellThe Contract by Sheila Grinell

















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