Elizabeth Ann Sheehan was born in Queens and graduated from the Katharine Gibbs School in New York. She married Carl Hyland in 1950, and together they had three sons. Elizabeth, 'Betty', Hyland was an accomplished writer who tried her hand at novels, mysteries and poetry. She is best-known for her 1987 novel The Girl with the Crazy Brother, about a teenager struggling with the social impact of her schizophrenic brother. It became a television movie was adapted from the book by director Diane Keaton. Its sequel, A Thousand Cloudy Days, was based on her experience with her son Mark, who was also schizophrenic.
Through her experiences Hyland became a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Society of Children's Book Writers, Writers of Chantilly, Sisters in Crime, and P.E.N. USA West. She was a real writer, interested in the many of the forms that writing can take. She produced works of poetry, mysteries, novels, memoirs and clinical reports in addition to helping foster many talented writers through the Writers of Chantilly as a former President. She had such wide exposure in the writing business that she was truly helpful to other writers as they developed their craft.
Betty settled in Reston, Virginia in the nineties with her husband and family where she continued to write. She self-published Hope in Hell through Infinity Publishers after Edythea Ginnis Selman, one of New York's top agents, fell in love with it but was unsuccessful placing it with a publisher. Betty died April 22, 2012 and is survived by two of her sons, Carl A. Hyland of Oakton and Jason Hyland, a Foreign Service officer in Canberra, Australia; a sister; and six grandchildren. Her son Mark died in 1999. We thank her for guiding many members to Where Books Begin where we advised them on paths to publication.
The Girl With The Crazy Brother by Betty Hyland.