A Writerly Crisis of Faith

Apathy_Bear_by_MrsGeeI’m writing a new novel. This one is for an adult audience, not my usual genre which is young adult. This is new territory for me. I spent months doing the research, and now I’m well into the story.  I’ll probably spend another year completing it before I’ll shop it around to publishers. If it’s any good and with a little luck it will get published and then I’ll start another one. Such is the life of a novelist.

But there’s always that chance that I won’t find a publisher for this one. It’s an extremely competitive field. I might have missed the boat with the topic which may be passé by the time the story is complete. Am I wasting a couple years of my life working on something that will simply grow mouldy in a file cabinet drawer in my basement? Every day I wonder if my time would be better spent working in a soup kitchen, bringing meals to the elderly, volunteering in a hospital – all things that would help make my community a better place.

This is the dilemma faced by most writers. Hugely successful ones sign contracts before a project is written, but for most of us, writing is an act of faith. We enjoy the process, but we also hope that our words  will  find an audience to entertain, inform, or simply be thought-provoking. But there are days, like this one, when the words aren’t flowing and the passage of time stares me in the face and I wonder … is this the best use of the time?

Life imitating fiction

whiskey-jack-blogIn my book, Dancing in the Rain, the character of Brenna entertains the tourists on Grouse Mountain by hand feeding the whisky jacks, a bird commonly found on the mountain. I liked the idea, but had never actually done it myself. Yesterday I spotted a group of them in in the trees while snowshoeing on Mount Seymour . I put out my hand to see what would happen. Immediately a  bird landed on it, looking for food. Because she was so friendly I shared my Cliff bar with her. Nothing makes me happier than being up close to wildlife.

Standing up…

standing-up-2… for what I believe.

These are the 2 facts that led me to a plant-based diet over twenty-five years ago.

  1. 1. More than half of the grain grown in the US is being fed to livestock rather than consumed by humans.  The US could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat.
  2. 2. It takes 4,000 gallons of water to support an omnivore diet per day compared to 300 gallons to support a plant based diet.

I knew that by giving up meat I couldn’t change the fact that millions of people around the world don’t have access to fresh water and food, but it felt like the right thing to do. Since then I’ve learned that meat-heavy diets create more climate change than all cars and planes combined and I’ve seen photos of the atrocities animals suffer because of our wide-spread practise of factory farming. My resolve to maintain a plant-based diet has only intensified.

Lost Boy

news-flash-2I’ve signed a book contract for book #11! The  working title is Lost Boy and I believe it is due out in 2018. Thank you Orca Book Publishers!

Lost Boy is a follow-up to my earlier book, Sister Wife, which dealt with a young girl living in a polygamist community. She was forced to marry a much older man who already had multiple wives.Sisterwife wp

Lost Boy tells the story of a boy who also grew up in that community and was forced to leave after it was revealed that he was having a secret and forbidden relationship with a girl  (the main character in Sister Wife.)  Boys like him are pressured to leave these communitites to reduce competition with the elder men for wives. They are dubbed the ‘Lost Boys’. Raised to distrust the outside world, when they finally run away or get pushed out they must learn to live in an unfamiliar society. They have little education and few skills. They believe they are beyond spiritual redemption.lost-boy

Unfortunately, communities like my fictional one are still flourishing throughout North America. Here in BC stories of the polygamists in Bountiful are in the news today. In writing this book I set out to explore what life would be like for one ‘lost boy’.