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Author Phil Earle shares the story of an unknown Canadian legend in new novel

Phil Earle’s father, Guy Earle, lived an exhilarating life. With his new memoir, I’ll Go the Length of Meself, Phil hopes to showcase his legacy as a great mariner, businessman, humanitarian, and exhibitionist, along with many other attributes.

There will never be another Guy Earle, there couldn’t be.”

This is his story, and Phil is proud to share it.

Never let failure define who you are, but instead, learn about yourself and grow from it.

– Phil Earle, author of I’ll Go the Length of Meself

Tell us about yourself.

From my mother and maternal grandparents, who were wonderful, I grew up believing their high standards for truth, compassion and integrity. From Captain Guy, my father, and my paternal grandparents, I learned to have respect for people and the world, and to have a drive to give the best of whatever life has given me.

What inspired you to write I’ll Go the Length of Meself?

In the beginning, I wanted to tell the story of the remarkable life of my father—this after he had been gone fifty years. And I finally, at the age of seventy, through maturity and wisdom, realized that no one had a life like him.

After finishing the book, it became obvious to me that Skipper Guy was a gifted, brilliant product of the people and culture of his era.

A second story was thus revealed in the book, the story of the great maritime people of the coast of Newfoundland. It became obvious to me that much of what I admired and expressed about my father and the culture of his people is strongly embedded in my character as well.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

First, to enjoy the behaviour and action-packed life of a man who acted on the spur of the moment, without pretence, every day of his life. He lived a life full of passion for all life, including his own, and with love for his fellow man.

Secondly, for young people starting out in life: learn from Skipper Guy. Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, and have confidence in yourself. Never let failure define who you are, but instead learn about yourself and grow from it. Above all, love life and your fellow man.

This is who Skipper Guy was, and if he were here today, this is what he would tell young people (whom he loved): “You never knows what you can do until you tries.”

Your father, Guy Earle, was an incredible man, and I’m sure you have many memorable stories. What is one of your favourites that comes to mind? 

For all of my life, the most amazing story of my father was one included in the book Hopping the Schooner’s Rail.

One day, the Skipper went out on a windy, stormy sea off the coast of Labrador in a small 30-foot open-trap boat to board a 120-foot schooner. He jumped from one boat to the other, out in the open ocean, with the unbelievable skill, coordination, timing, strength, and bravery that defined the understanding, and belief, of the hardened seaman who have lived a life at sea. Only a seagull could hop between two moving ships in a storm at sea in the manner that Skipper Guy did that day . . . without one thought of danger and with total confidence in himself! I am still in a state of awe at what he did that day!

A few months ago another story was told to me about my father, which is in the appendix of the newest edition of the book Tribute to a Coastal Heritage.

It was just after WWII had ended. Guy docked his schooner, deck loaded with vegetables, out of a storm, and headed into a small isolated community on the south coast of Newfoundland. At the time, the coastal people were very poor and had a bad fishery that year. They had little to eat, and were close to starving.

Skipper Guy unloaded 700 bags of vegetables onto the wharf that night, and left in the morning without saying a word to anyone. In a total and instant act of compassion, he gave the community this food so they could survive the winter! He never told this to anyone, ever. He even forgot about it!

Every time I think of what he did, 76 year ago now, I feel the greatest strength inside. The feeling is unexplainable, except to say—with tears in my eyes—that love is timeless. God bless you, Skipper Guy.

What were some of the writing challenges you faced during the manuscript development, and how did you overcome them?

I am word dyslexic, and have problems with grammar, spelling and context. I overcame this because I had to in order to write my father’s story, with the love that was in my heart for him. Editors and critics were essential to getting the book in a presentable manner so that readers could enjoy this story.

What was the most challenging part of the process for you?

It was hard repeating the placement of some paragraphs, and putting them in proper context within the book as a whole. When it was done correctly, it made the book more presentable to the reader.

Your book has received some wonderful praise from major outlets like IndieReader and Kirkus, and you’ve appeared on major news outlets as well as podcasts. How does it feel to have it be so well received? 

I want to showcase this story to as many people as possible.

I do appreciate all of the work that Tellwell has done to promote the book so far, and I’m hoping to see further success in reaching a further audience.

It feels wonderful knowing that Skipper Guy’s story is resonating with people.

What else have you been doing to market and promote I’ll Go the Length of Meself?

In addition to submitting the book to review organizations, I have given presentations of the book to local museums in Newfoundland, and participated in an interview with CBC radio and the Historia Canadiana podcast.

I’ve also met with seniors in senior homes (which was the most enjoyable, as they are the same generation as my father), and worked with local tourist spots, restaurants and bookstores to have my book placed on consignment!

What advice do you have for new authors trying to generate their own awareness?

If you have a story to tell, search to find the truth of what you want to write about, and then try your best to tell that truth.

In the case of the memoir of my father, it was helpful and rewarding to get feedback and stories from trusted friends and family. No man is an island unto himself. In retrospect, talking to people was a great pleasure when I was writing the book (and still is while selling it!).

What’s next for you? 

Perhaps I will begin the process of printing my other manuscript, Man, A Whisper of Creation.

The story refers to how the deepest part of man is connected to the Universe. This was written many years ago, and David Bohm (friend of Albert Einstein) and William Archibald, both theoretical physicists, recommended I publish it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank Tellwell for all of the help and kindness they showed me in getting the book to an advanced stage and greater audience. A great team! Thank you so much.

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