Featuring Sherry Pringle, Kevin Bickford, Pierre Arseneault, and Vanessa Hawkins
Why do your favourite Canadian authors write the books they write? Let’s find out in this exclusive feature here at The Miramichi Reader.
Sherry Pringle, author of Tell The King, Independently published (Dec 22 2023)
Some years ago my husband and I vacationed in Newfoundland. The Lighthouse Inn on Quirpon Island, offshore from St. Anthony’s, boasted an indoor whale-watching station. I was hooked. Visions of whales and icebergs in Iceberg Alley, danced in my head.
Our host recommended a book, written by a local author, a true story that had happened on that very island.We purchased the book and drove north to be picked up by boat and delivered to our destination.
Immediately upon arrival, dense fog set in, prohibiting any outdoor activity whatsoever. There would be no whales, icebergs, kayaking or hiking. I read my book. The lighthouse, on high alert, projected its light and blasted its foghorn.
I could not believe the story I was reading, A sixteenth century French Princess, her lover and her maid, abandoned on that very island. It is remote and desolate. There were no buildings or inhabitants. The struggle to survive was incomprehensible. How was it, we Canadians had never heard this tale? How could this exciting story not be included as part of our rich Canadiana history?
Our departure back to the island two days later, was a harrowing extension of our adventure. The perfect finale!
Fast forward to March 2020, we met a Newfoundland couple, sitting beside us at The Brier, Canadian Men’s Curling Championship, in Kingston, Ontario
I was once again reminded of our Newfoundland adventure.
The following day was the first day of 2020 COVID lockdown. Prompted by my renewed interest in this story, I sat down to write my version of Princess Marguerite’s tale. I had been there, bonded with the essence of Marguerite and wanted retell her story from a woman’s point of view. She was an unbelievably strong and determined woman, out of her royal element, struggling to survive in the harsh, extreme elements of a remote frontier.
I want Canada to know this tale!
Sherry Pringle is a member of the Writers Union of Canada. When she is not writing or sharing her stories with an audience, she can usually be found painting.
Kevin Bickford, Author of What Makes a Real Grandpa? (FriesenPress, Oct. 27 2023)
I wrote What Makes a Real Grandpa? because of something my oldest grandson said to me one afternoon. The story in the book outlines true occurrences and it is written for the benefit of my grandchildren and step-grandparents and stepparents everywhere.
Today’s society is filled with mixed families, and it is not unusual for a child to have
resentment or hostility toward a new “parent” in a family. The story intends to show the importance of being physically present in a child’s life, to love them and teach them right from wrong. Actions such as those described in my book, are more important to the family structure than simply sharing DNA. A step-grandparent who is regularly present in their grandchild’s life is just as, or more, influential than a blood-related grandparent who visits once or twice a year. This story can help a child understand that lesson. Anyone interested can visit www.kevinbauthor.ca to see a brief video about my book. What Makes a Real Grandpa? is available in E-book and print format.
Pierre Arseneault, author of Maple Springs, (Shadow Dragon Press, Oct. 11 2022)
For my horror novel Maple Springs, its origins stem from a combination of things. First, I had this idea of a gifted woman who had abilities she used to manipulate others. She had a boldness about her, even before I wrote a single word.
The second part was a television show that never ended, leaving me hanging with unanswered questions. Too many times, I began watching a show that captured my curiosity only to have it get cancelled with unanswered cliffhangers. Happy Town was one of these shows as people were vanishing mysteriously at the hands of someone known as the Magic Man. I’m positive this entire show was inspired by the song from the band Heart. This show was epic, but they only made eight episodes. So, with what felt like an itch that I needed to scratch, I decided to write my own story about mysterious disappearances.
With that said, don’t go thinking I stole the idea. The only premise which is similar is the mysterious disappearances which wasn’t an original idea that the creators of Happy Town had invented. There are many stories out there also about mysterious disappearances and they didn’t invent this either. This is something that many real-life monsters have made a sad reality. But I’m not alone in having a fascination for dark fiction. So, I sat down to write a novel about mysterious disappearances, monsters and things that live in the darkness. It has a cage in the basement of a Victorian house, bizarre explanations of the disappearances and regeneration as an end goal.
Published in October 2022, Maple Springs was a labour of dark love and is one of those novels that I got so engrossed in writing that it took over my life for a short while.
The youngest of eleven children, Pierre grew up in the small town of Rogersville, New Brunswick, Canada. As a cartoonist, Pierre was published in over a dozen newspapers. As an author, he has written solo and in collaboration with six titles published so far. Pierre currently lives in the outskirts of his hometown again, near Rogersville in New Brunswick, Canada.
Vanessa Hawkins, Author
Why did I write this book? Because the story I wanted to read did not exist. That was the cause of my first word on paper, but now that I am far along the path of my writing journey, I know that the last word I ever type, may be for an entirely different reason.
I have over a dozen books published. Some feature snippets of my work, some are entire tomes that I’ve had the liberty to piece together with naught but the phantom fragments of my imagination. I wrote my last novel because I wanted to try my hand at merging erotica and classic literature. Dante’s Inferno—my spicy retelling–was spawned by a joke I made to my friends whilst living in South Korea. It has since gone on to be published, and it won second place in the David’s Adams Richards Prize for fiction. Someone thought my literotica was worth a damn.
The first book I ever wrote… was fan fiction.
I still have it, wrapped in plastic somewhere in the basement. Why did I write fan fiction? Because I was ten, probably, but also because I had been upset at the original story and wanted to make it better—for me, specifically.
After that, I just wrote whatever I thought I would like to read. I haven’t been discovered yet, maybe someday, but even if I am the only one who ever reads my stories, I am proud that they exist. I write for myself. I used to write to be famous, to win awards, to be recognized… but why? Writing is about stories. I have only ever written stories that I want to read, and because of that, I’m happy if the only shelves my books ever occupy are my own.
Bio: A life-long lover of horror, Vanessa wrote her first story when she was in grade five. It was entitled Mutilated and warranted a trip to the school guidance counsellor. With over a dozen publications under her belt, Vanessa has won numerous awards for her books, including receiving second place for her novel Dante’s Inferno in the NB Writing Competition. She’s conducted workshops all over New Brunswick, and in her spare time dabbles in paint and acrylics.
James M. Fisher is the Editor Emeritus of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. He works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane, their tabby cat Eddie, and Buster the Red Merle Border Collie.