Monday, 16 December 2013

A Dedication

One of the nice things about writing a book is that you get to dedicate it to someone special or significant in your life. I have a story about the dedication in my latest novel, BUSTED OUT, my first novel set in Canada. The novel is about teens trying to find their way through personal and family conflict. It's also a tragic story that touches on abuse - physical abuse, alcoholism and gambling addiction. In a way, the story really underlines the courage and resilience of these kids, and their ability to survive.

But sometimes the obstacles can be just too overwhelming, and some kids don't survive. That's why I dedicated the book to four young people I worked with many years ago who didn't make it. They were trying to turn their lives around by going to school to get their Grade 12, but they all met tragic ends. Mike C was an energetic, handsome young guy and a great leader. He was a guide up north during the summer for hunters and fishing trips. He was fatally stabbed during one of those summers. Paul P was a gentle, kind young gay man with a love of the outdoors and his family. He was found hanging in his apartment, under mysterious circumstances. Mike S was an enthusiastic, happy go lucky kid who died accidentally as a result of a fall down the basement stairs. Clarence G was a quiet, thoughtful and intelligent young man who died from hypothermia when he walked home alone from a party.
These four deaths happened in the space of about three years.
These four young men had promising lives ahead of them.
I hope in some small way the book keeps their memory alive.

Katie, one of the characters in the book says:
 We all think life’s like a race – run fast and keep your eyes fixed on what’s ahead – cause you gotta win – at any cost. And that’s the problem – we’re afraid to stop and look at each other - afraid to talk – to truly know
There are many kids out there who feel like nobody's listening. Let's take the time to stop and talk. It could save someone's life.






BUSTED OUT is available on Amazon Kindle and in Paperback. Check it out here

****THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER UPDATE*** Last week THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER climbed to #6 in the Amazon UK Literary Fiction Bestseller list. An amazing experience! And it's still hanging in there at #10 last time I checked!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

NEW YA NOVEL OUT!

I'm so happy to give you a sneak preview of my new YA novel BUSTED OUT. It's available on Amazon Kindle today and the paperback will follow soon. Here's the blurb:

On her morning run, seventeen year old Katie discovers a frozen body lying on the snowy forest trail.  The story goes back three months to trace the events leading up to the tragedy.  Who is the victim?
 Is it Mike, the import car fanatic who worships his older brother, Frankie, a hotshot graduate who’s gone East and developed big spending habits fuelled by poker winnings?
Is it Jay - the budding musician whose father wants him to be an NHL player even though he hates hockey?
Is it Kim, the math whiz and talented artist whose mother recently died and left her alone with a cold and abusive father?
Is it Nick?  Forced to be a parent to his two young sisters while his single mom goes off for days at a time and drowns herself in booze .
Gambling changes their lives until events spiral out of control and in the final showdown one of them will find love, one will be a hero, one will be the victim of a near-fatal accident and someone will die on the snowy forest track.  
Set in a Canadian prairie city, this story explores the complexity of family conflict and its impact on teens who are searching for love, acceptance and identity.

This novel is important to me because it's the first one I've set in Canada.  There's an interesting history to it. 
A few years back I came up with the outline of the story and it was used to write a screenplay for a student movie directed by a fantastic film maker, James McLellan who runs the Oak Park High School Film Program. With a bunch of his talented students they made a feature film called All In. Check out this trailer from their most recent film, Shuttlecock.

P.S If you've seen the movie, All In don't think you know the story! The novel has many different twists, so you'll just have to read the book!!
Click here for BUSTED OUT.