Wildwood Unveiled

I’m departing from my regular schedule to reveal the brand new cover for my novel Wildwood, coming in spring 2018, now available for pre-order! My website has also been updated with some very welcome changes requested by readers.

What is the Novel About?

Wildwood is a contemporary novel with a strong historical background. This book departs from my former wartime era to explore an earlier aspect of Canadian history, pioneer life in the Peace River, Alberta area.

This is the description on the back cover:

"Broke and desperate, Molly Bannister accepts the ironclad condition laid down in her great-aunt’s will: to spend one year in an abandoned, off-the-grid farmhouse in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If successful, she can sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter’s badly needed medical treatments.

"With grim determination, Molly teaches herself the basic pioneer skills. But her greatest perils are presented by the brutal wilderness itself, from blizzards to grizzly bears. Will she and little Bridget survive the savage winter? Will she outsmart the idealistic young farmer who wants the land for himself? Only the journal written by her courageous great-aunt, the farm's original homesteader, inspires her to struggle on."


Why Did I Choose this Setting?

I don't have any personal connection with "the Peace," but I'm drawn to this special part of the world. The last homesteaders to arrive were forced to take up land in the northern, forested areas of the Western provinces. They suffered more disadvantages than the sod-busters, since they had to clear the land, survive the long winters, and then get their grain to market.

Nevertheless, the Peace River region, with its long summer days and fertile soil, is now Canada's northernmost agricultural area.

Here's a photo I took myself, not far from Grand Prairie. The combination of blue skies, green forest, and golden grain fields is just spectacular! I love this photograph so much that it serves as the screen-saver on my desktop computer.

Who are the Characters?

I wondered if a modern-day city girl could possibly survive the hardships endured by the original homesteaders, so I created my fictional heroine Molly and her four-year-old daughter Bridget (having raised three daughters, I drew on my extensive personal experience) to face the challenge of living off the grid for one year, without power, plumbing, or internet. I will not tell you whether she succeeds -- you'll have to read the book to find out!

As one example of her many struggles, Molly must learn how to bake in a wood oven, using the original Five Roses Cook Book

Because I'm passionately fond of old houses, I gave Molly and Bridget an abandoned but fully-furnished foursquare farmhouse built in 1924, where they discover many interesting possessions left by the original inhabitants.

Even if you aren't sure what a foursquare farmhouse is, you will probably recognize its shape. This home is called foursquare because it has four walls of equal length, four rooms on each floor, and a four-sided roof.

Thousands were built in North America, but the foursquare house inhabited by Molly and Bridget in Wildwood was ordered from the T. Eaton Company catalogue in pieces, and assembled on the spot.

The house in Wildwood is completely surrounded by overgrown lilacs when they arrive, but it is almost as decrepit as the poor old foursquare home shown in this photograph.

When Will the Novel Be Available?

Wildwood will be released in February 2018.

Why does it take so long? Unfortunately, the journey from my fevered imagination to a printed book is a lengthy process.

Researching and writing the manuscript took the better part of two years. Then it had to be accepted by Dundurn Press in Toronto (the largest Canadian-owned publisher, and the one kind enough to publish my wartime novel, Bird's Eye View).

Designing the cover took another month. I’m very happy with the silhouette of my heroine Molly Bannister and her little daughter Bridget, holding hands as they face a very uncertain future in the backwoods of northern Alberta!

The manuscript went through two separate reviews by two copy editors at Dundurn, and is now in the final proofreading stage.

From here the book goes to a limited print run, and Advance Review Copies, or ARCs, are sent out to a select group of reviewers who may choose to say something nice about the book. (Those are the comments that you see on back covers).

That will last until Christmas, and finally the BIG printing job is scheduled. After printing, thousands of copies of Wildwood will be distributed to bookstores across Canada, which will take another six weeks. To be on the safe side, the publisher has scheduled the official launch for the end of February.

Why Should You Pre-Order Wildwood?

My publisher likes it when people pre-order the book, because it allows them to judge how many copies to print.

For you, the great advantage of pre-ordering is a guaranteed lower price. Although the price may fluctuate somewhat, this week Amazon is offering the book for $17.61, compared with the regular price of $26.63.

The other advantage is that you will receive one of the very first copies, hot off the press!

To pre-order the book, either as an e-book or a trade paperback, click here: ORDER WILDWOOD NOW!

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I will leave you with this photograph, taken by me, showing one of the many hundreds of creeks that wend their way through the Peace River area. The farm inherited by my heroine Molly has a sparkling blue creek just like this one! To see more lovely images that inspired Wildwood, visit my Pinterest board.


Today you will find three wonderful website improvements.

1. The TEXT is now extra large, making it much easier to read.

2. A SEARCH function has been added – if you want to find a specific topic, simply enter that word in the search area at the top of each page. Since I've been posting stories for almost four years, there is a ton of material on this site.

3. The site is now MOBILE-FRIENDLY, making it easier to read on your telephone. Personally, I never read anything on my phone if I can help it, but my statistics show that 25% of my followers do read my website on their phones!

WHAT WILL NOT CHANGE: I’m not leaving my wartime buffs behind – Wartime Wednesdays will continue each month with a compelling story about our proud wartime history.

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About My Novel, Bird's Eye View

  • Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction about a young Canadian woman who serves as an aerial photo interpreter in World War Two. In 2016 it was named a Canadian bestseller by both The Globe & Mail, and The Toronto Star. It's available as a trade paperback, an ebook, and now an audiobook as well! To order online from Amazon, click Bird's Eye View.

                    About My Website

  • All blog posts are indexed by subject and title on this page. Scroll to the top of this page to see the list, and enter your email address to subscribe to Wartime Wednesdays. If you enjoy it, please share through Facebook, Twitter, email or just an old-fashioned phone call!

                     About My Events

  • You can see a list of my upcoming events on my Events page by clicking the link at the top of this page. You can also see a list of discussion questions for Book Clubs by clicking: Events.

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