I attended Words on the Street this Saturday in Lethbridge with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. This was an annual event I enjoyed until COVID postponed it. So, this first in-person return to the book festival since 2019 was a joy. I reconnected with local authors and met new readers to my novels. To discuss my stories is always a fun conversation, as those who know my work, understand my ability to ‘flip’ ideas on their heads and give surprisingly twists and turns in my narratives.
As a reader I also took advantage of an independent bookstore’s weekend sale. The Purple Platypus in Castor, is jam packed with books and picking one or two is impossible. I left with a bag of books! More for my ever expanding TBR pile. (You know the problem all too well, I’m sure.)
Added to these were novels from three Lethbridge authors – Jenna Greene, Bianca Rowena, and Mandy Michelle.
So after I finish Fairy Tale by Stephen King I will have a difficult decision to make – which book do I choose first. Do any of these speak to you? Which one would you choose?
I have just finished a wonderful novel, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. It is a super read and I recommend it. (My review is on Goodreads).
After I finished reading, it occurred to me that as I lived near, and often visited Highclere Castle (Downton) when I lived in England, there must be numerous novels sited in actual places, rather than fictional ones. I have used my road trips the length and breath of England, Wales, Scotland and a portion of Canada to create locations in my books.
Knowing a place you are reading about is exciting as you can picture it exactly, and spot any errors, truth be told, as well. Of course, in the TV series of Downton the locations are many and not related to the fictional area at all in many cases. Here is a list of locations, many are far apart from each other! Link: That is the magic of TV & movies.
I used my many visits to castles, historic houses and ancient sites in my medieval novellas, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy. Experiencing a place makes the narrative even more compelling and real to write about, and I hope that comes across in the stories.
For my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch, I used the enormity of a Canadian prairie as the setting for the male compound. Mountains are seen in the far distance, just like we see when driving west on the Yellowhead, but the concrete jungle is no longer in existence in my story.
What books have you read where you have known the location? Did it ring true? DId you find errors, or notice author’s license to fictionalize it?
I spent some time driving around my local area yesterday, placing books in little free libraries. The styles and colours are all very individual and the range of books just as varied. The locations are somewhat difficult to find among the streets, crescents and drives, but I managed a few! It will be interesting to see if I am contacted about the books I left and my other novels. As a local author it is this connection I find so gratifying.
I looked up some facts about free libraries. From its humble beginnings, with first one being built in 2009 by the late Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his late mother, a book lover and school teacher. There are now over 100,000 registered in 91 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. To date more than 120 million books have been shared worldwide. We should celebrate that fact alone – after all stories are part of human history and the future. Access to books should be for everyone, no matter where they live.
Do you have a local free library? Do you frequent it or own it?
I was very happy to be asked by my local bookstore, The Sherwood Park Bookworm to be included in this fun event. Copies of all my books can be found in the store, but of course the main five for this specific event were – The Twesome Loop (reincarnation/romance), The Commodore’s Gift (steampunk/romance), Life in Slake Patch (speculative fiction) and the two Rython novellas – The Rython Kingdom & Rython Legacy (medieval set fantasy/romance)
As we all know it is so important to support and buy local. Chain stores use their buying power to cut prices, but it is the personal touch and knowing you are helping an entrepreneur that is so important.
As we see the changes in weather around the world due to climate change, with extremes of heat, cold and rain, it is bound to be included in more novels than ever. My family in the UK is currently suffering an official drought with bans on water usage, my daughter-in-law’s family were victims of a hail storm in Innisfail, causing irrevocable damage to vehicles and glass injuries.
We all know the oldest line in writing – it was a dark and stormy night – which sets the scene perfectly.
Weather is it’s own character and is a force to be reckoned with for many protagonists. We all know the cyclone in The Wizard of Oz, the Mist’s creatures and The Shining’s snowfall by Stephen King, the storm in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights, the cyclone in Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, the heat in Albert Camus’s “The Stranger”, the flood in William Faulkner’s “The Wild Palms, the drought and Dust Bowl of The Grapes of Wrath and the Galveston Storm of 1900 portrayed in Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale. There are many, many more.
The weather not only affects writers creativity, but also readers reading habits. We enjoy a book on the beach, as well as beside a warm fire on a winter’s night. We may choose the location and season of a novel to match our current season, or even the opposite to immerse ourselves in a story to escape the current conditions. A chilly autumn/fall weekend might have us ‘disappearing’ into a seaside town mystery, or a thriller set around Halloween.
In my novella, Rython Legacy my main protagonist is lost in a snow storm. A frightful storm damages the home of the sprites in Ockleberries to the Rescue and a hot summer day has horses and their riders suffering in The Commodore’s Gift. The effects of the weather can make us ‘feel’ the character’s plight even more. What we experience as writers and readers makes the stories come alive.