Category : Author of the Month

Author of the Month

Courtroom lawyer turned self-publishing success; Governor General’s Award nominee Leslie Hall Pinder on her life as a full-time writer

By Kate Bell

Tellwell author and Governor General’s Award nominee, Leslie Hall Pinder, puts her decades of experience in the courtroom on paper in her latest crime-fiction novel, The Indulgence. Learn more about the B.C.- based author’s career as a lawyer-turned-writer, how she got a testimonial from Margaret Atwood and why after traditionally publishing three books, she got decided to self-publish.

Photo Courtesy: The Georgia Straight

At age 12, Leslie Hall Pinder was told to write. She was encouraged by her school teacher and, following her teacher’s advice, Hall Pinder’s first short story was broadcast on CBC radio when she was 19-years-old.

Hall Pinder immersed herself into the literary world after high school and went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Saskatchewan and Dalhousie University. She then started a Masters Program in English at the University of British Columbia, however, her interest in school was beginning to wane; she often skipped class and eventually dropped out to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time writer. But the author’s plan was put on hold when she found casual work in the case report section of the Vancouver Police Department – the lure of the law became absolutely irresistible. She quickly enrolled back in school and, in 1976, she graduated with a law degree from the University of British Columbia. Shortly after, Leslie became the first woman litigator at a large Vancouver law firm.

After working nearly 20 years in law, alongside writing and publishing two novels (one of which that was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award), Hall Pinder decided to step back from the legal world and begin writing full-time. She has been a full-time writer since 2005 and the courtroom still plays a major impact on her work which focuses largely on characters who undergo the difficult and corrupting struggle of truth as defined by the law.

After traditionally publishing her first three books, Leslie Hall Pinder chose to self-publish her fourth book with Tellwell. The Indulgence is a story about what happens when love turns to hate and everyone turns to the law.

The Indulgence

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Author of the Month

At 15-years-old, actor, model and author Ricko Dupri Sample already has two books to his name

ricko-sampleAt 15-years-old, Ricko Dupri Sample has major achievements to his name. He published one book with Tellwell at age 13, then another at 14. He’s heavily involved in the arts, not just as an author, but as an actor, model, dancer, and musician. Oh, and on top of all that, he’s also several years ahead in school, so much so that in grade 7 he started taking grade 10 classes, and now at 15, he’s in his second year of college in Washington State.

“It feels like an accomplishment, but in my opinion, it’s just the beginning,” said the young author.

Two years ago, at 13-years-old, Sample, began acting, modelling, and attending college. That’s when he also began writing his first book Bigfoot Untold. It started off as a screenplay to submit to a writing competition, but then, being as determined as he is, decided to turn it into a book.

bigfoot-untoldIn Bigfoot Untold, Sample shares his mother’s stories of growing up in an Indonesian village and the encounters she and others had with a mysterious and elusive creature. Sample says his mother had gravel thrown at her by the creature, and in her village a child was kidnapped and put into a dumpster. The child wasn’t physically harmed but was emotionally and mentally traumatized.

“The general theme is that Bigfoot plays tricks on people and does strange things. He hides in the bushes and messes with people. He represents a mysterious spiritual creature in the forest,” Sample said. “People are always trying to find Bigfoot, but they never can.”

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Author of the Month

Doreen Crick chronicles the Caribbean’s dark history through the tears and laughter of women

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Doreen Crick didn’t dream about becoming an author, but at 83, she realized her three children and four grandchildren didn’t know much about the dark history of their Caribbean heritage so she began to research and to write.

“Like many people, they saw the Caribbean as a great vacation destination. They didn’t know the history of colonialism and slavery there,” said the author who is originally from Saint Kitts but now lives in Nova Scotia.

Over the next two years, she would write and publish two books with Tellwell. Seawater: Women’s Voices from the Shores of the Caribbean Leeward Islands is the history of several Caribbean islands, told through the laughter and tears of the women who were slaves.

“I wrote about how we survived around slavery. I didn’t focus too much on the devastation but rather on how we managed to cope with it, how we conquered our emotions to survive,” said Crick.

Seawater book

Seawater chronicles what happened in the 17th century when the British arrived in the Caribbean Islands of Anguilla, Nevis and Saint Kitts with slaves from Ghana to set up sugar and cotton plantations. But, in the book, Crick focuses on the women and children rather than the men.

“My school history books were about European men – whether they were scoundrels or heroes,” she said.  “I wanted to share a different history about women and children.”

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Author of the Month

Author Rika Mansingh on how to rewire your brain to become the best version of yourself in 2019

The Empowered Mind Diet Equation

With each new year, many people set intentions to change their diet and exercise habits, resolving to head back to the gym or eat healthier to look and feel better. But dietician, Rika Mansingh’s new book, The Empowered Mind Diet Equation, is a different take on nutrition – focusing on foods which feed the brain and in turn, lead to increased energy and vitality.

She says to achieve any goal, first, we need to conquer our minds, and one way to do this is by altering our diet.

“We should be mindful of what we eat and how it affects the way we feel,” she said. “This book is an uplifting and empowering read meant to change thoughts, feelings and behavior to rewire the brain and create new habits.”

Her book discusses how the brain is capable of not only repairing itself but also producing new neurons, regardless of age, through a process called neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.

Author Rika Mansingh

Mansingh has focused on the link between nutrition and the mind in her 17 years working as a registered dietician, most recently in Abbotsford, B.C. and now wants to bring her knowledge to readers outside of her private practice.

“Many clients have seen life-changing results such as losing weight, controlling blood sugars, changing disordered eating patterns and, especially, a reduction or discontinuation of medication.  Many medical conditions are preventable and with healthy dietary practices complications of lifestyle diseases can be avoided or eliminated completely,” said Mansingh.

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Author of the Month

Former Lebanese television host Nataly Restokian trying to start “Me Too” Movement in the Middle East

Nataly Restokian Author of Masks

Me Too stories of sexual assault have dominated the headlines in the western world, but across the water, in the Arab world, the issue remains an elusive one.

“I wrote this story because I wanted to face my own demons. I had to face myself and the things that happened to me. I am not a hero and I’m not a victim. I dreamed of fame and power and I gave up a lot of things for that,” said the former Lebanese actress and television and radio host.

Masks is a dark fictional tale based on the author’s true-life events. The protagonist, Ana, is an Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She achieves fame and fortune as a prominent television host in the Middle East, but at an incredible cost.

Restokian says Ana’s story is not unique, but in the Middle East, it’s one rarely told.

“Masks that women are obliged to wear inspired me to write this novel, based partly on real events in my life and partially to include the pain of so many other women that I witnessed along the way,” said Restokian.

“I decided to become their voice because they do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that, behind closed doors, have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of their lives.”

Restokian, who now lives in Montreal with her husband, says she wants to start the #metoo movement in Lebanon, opening up about her own sexual harassment.

Masks Nataly Restokian

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Author of the Month

Entrepreneur turned authorpreneur Del Chatterson on how becoming a self-published author is like running a business

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Entrepreneur now turned authorpreneur Del Chatterson is approaching his new career as an author with the same dedication as running a business.

“The motivation and work habits are similar. It is necessary to have a process and a plan, to be creative, innovative, determined, disciplined and hardworking,” said Chatterson.

The Montreal-based author has taken inspiration from his decades of experience in the computer industry and applied it to his latest crime-fiction novel. “No Easy Money” is set in 1980s Montreal and follows young entrepreneur Dale Hunter as his computer business is attacked by gangsters and the Montreal Mafia.

“A lot of details of the entrepreneurial experience is based on my life,” said Chatterson, who grew his computer monitor distribution business from zero to $20-million in eight years.. “It includes some fascinating insights into the challenges of entrepreneurs.”

Del also named his protagonist Dale, a name similar to his own. But the crime, drama and suspense that make the book a more entertaining read, are all imaginary.

Chatterson was inspired by writers like Kathy Reichs and Ian Hamilton who also turned their business experience into crime- fiction.

“I thought, I could do that.’ He attended writing workshops, read a lot of book from his favourite authors on how to write well and began with short stories to flex his muscles.

Once he reached retirement, Chatterson was able to devote more time to his writing. “No Easy Money” started as an idea 15 years ago, but after two years of writing, he had a manuscript. Tellwell published the book in August 2018.

no-easy-money

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Author of the Month

New “meat bible” textbook is the first of its kind in North America and being used in schools across Canada

Tellwell with author

Dan Westgeest and Ken Jakes visit Tellwell

 

This month at Tellwell we are profiling an unusual book, one that is stunning in its imagery and full of valuable information. The Canadian Meat Cutting textbook is the first of its kind in North America, being used by industry professionals as well as trade schools across Canada.

It’s a comprehensive book, and a heavy one with over 700 pages, and 1300 colour images covering a broad range of topics from food safety, to meat science, processing, harvesting and cooking methods. The textbook is a deep dive into the various types of meats, their cuts and meat-cutting techniques.

Writer Dan Westgeest calls it the “meat bible.” “Being a meatatarian, I think anyone associated with the meat industry or those interested in a career in the meat industry, and even those handling meats, should read it as it has loads of information,” he said.

Before the Canadian Professional Meat Cutter’s Association (CPMCA) produced the meat bible, all industry professionals and schools had as a resource was a three-ring binder containing out-of-date text and black and white images.

“In comparison, the new book is a masterpiece,” said editor Ken Jakes, who also led the book project on behalf of CPMCA. He says he was inspired to upgrade the old modular manual that had been used since the 1990s.

“The meat industry was in a real need of a full-colour textbook to support both entry-level and industry training. The cover design looks really great. It was a real team effort between us and the Tellwell designer,” said Jakes.

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Author of the Month

How divine intervention and serendipity led Tellwell author Jana Rieger to write her first book, and adapt it to the big screen

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It was on a long-haul flight to Europe, and right before a sabbatical, that academic scientist Jana Rieger suddenly had a character appear in her mind.

“Between the fatigue and boredom of being on a long flight, this character came into my mind. The one thing the sabbatical did was allow for some freedom in my mind. It allowed for a space to open up,” said the University of Alberta professor and research director.

In the book, Fennel is a young student and research assistant who is engaging in unethical medical behaviour and attempting to destroy her boss’ reputation and career. Set in Edmonton, at the same university in which Rieger works, A Course in Deception explores the ethical complexities that arise when profit and greed influence health research.

a-course-in-deception-3d

While the story is completely fictionalized, Rieger says there have been high profile cases around the world of researchers fabricating data in order to secure funding.

“It doesn’t matter which university or where you are in the world, you realize this is an issue. I don’t think there is any one place or academic institution that is immune to this.”

Younger colleagues applauded Rieger because the book made them think about issues related to pressure versus ethical duty in a way they never had before. Rieger noted that many also related to the work pressures researchers face in securing grants and publishing a certain amount of papers every year.

The similarities between the main character, Dr. MacKenzie Smith, and Rieger herself had colleagues wondering if the other characters were based around their own workplace.

“Some facts did make their way into fiction, but there is not one character based entirely on someone else, except for the dog,” she adds jokingly.

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Author of the Month

Entrepreneur Brandon LaBella encourages people to find purpose through failure

Brandon LaBella

It was only through failure that author Brandon LaBella was able to live with purpose and meaning.

The 23-year-old graduated from his university’s business administration program in New York State and sought work on Wall Street. But after he was rejected by a large investment firm, he realized working in finance would have been living up to an image of success that was not his own. And many of his peers felt the same.

“We are so pressured to succeed, living up to a standard that is not true to ourselves. The only way to find our authentic self is to fail. Why not give people a handbook on how to fail freely,” said LaBella.

The entrepreneur published his book with Tellwell in April. “The Journey to Failing Freely: How to Find Fulfillment By Letting Yourself Fail” is a guide for young people who are trying to find their life’s purpose and passion.

The Journey to Failing Freely

“There was no book that I could relate to about how to navigate college and where I wanted to be at the end of it,” said the New York-based author.  “I was tired of being told by everyone around me I was doing great and on the right path when I hadn’t failed once and felt caged on a societal leash.”

He wrote his book to inspire other students to seek out life experiences to find what it is that makes them truly happy without fear of failure or judgment. He says many people are trying hard to preserve a certain self-image, and often disregard their mental and physical health in the process.

Failing freely first starts with taking care of your health, LaBella says. Then he recommends people “take calculated risks, embrace the pain of suffering, put themselves in a safe environment to grow while reaching their full potential.”

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Author of the Month

Author Tyler Cameron not only survives his wedding but launches a new career

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Tellwell author Tyler Cameron’s new book is not only the completion of a life-long dream, it’s the launching pad of a book writing career.

For the last several years, he’s been blogging on various sports sites on top of his full-time advertising job. But Cameron says from a young age, he’s always known that one day he would write a book.

“I didn’t want to wait any longer to achieve this dream. The timing was right for me and I wanted to move this passion forward,” said the Greater Toronto Area based author.

“A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Wedding” is a humorous, educational handbook for soon-to-be-grooms.3d-cover-dudes-guide-to-surviving-his-wedding

“The reason I chose to focus on weddings was due to the lack of resources from a male’s perspective, coupled with my extensive involvement in weddings, it was a perfect topic for me to cover.”

Cameron says he’s everyone favourite wedding guest and groomsman. He’s been part of eight wedding parties, three of those as ‘best man,’ has been a guest at about 50 weddings and DJ’d many more.

On May 31, 2014, he played the most important wedding role, marrying his beautiful, better half, Christina. He says the biggest advice he has for engaged dudes is “listen to your future wife and enjoy the ride.”

“There are so many aspects to successfully plan and execute a wedding, I’ve seen it and heard it all. It was great to be able to lean on my experience from different perspectives to build the foundation for this book. I know what I like to see as a guest, I know what it’s like to work at a wedding and I personally know how to execute one after my own wedding,” he said.

tyler-cameron-wedding tyler-cameron-wedding-2 tyler-cameron-wedding-3ty-ty-j-cam-gmail

Writing the book took about five years from concept to completion, although he finished the majority of writing in the last year and a half after signing on with Tellwell.

“The support and motivation from the team helped drive me to complete my project,” he said.  “The publishing process was really seamless for the most part. I had no idea what I was doing, so luckily, I had the great people at Tellwell to help guide me along the way.”

His wife was also instrumental in helping him articulate parts of the wedding planning process and structure the book. She also gave him the time and space to work on it.

Tellwell published the book in April 2018. Cameron says holding that first copy in his hands felt surreal.

“To get that first copy was amazing for me and everyone else who heard me talk about it,” he said.

In just three short months, A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Wedding” has 38 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.9/5 stars.

Indie Reader gave it a 4.5/5 star rating calling the book “a funny, fast, and informative read that will make engaged bros everywhere rejoice.”A Dude's Guide to Surviving His Wedding

Cameron says it was very exciting to see the book so well received.  “It was really cool to see that the reviewer just got it and understood where I was coming from. It was great they found it educational but also funny.”

The Indie Reader approved author is now working hard with the Tellwell book marketing team to promote his book and making sure as many people as possible hear about it. In June, he hosted a successful book launch, he’s appeared on podcasts, vodcasts and has several interviews and book signings coming up.

ty036 ty031 Author Tyler Cameron book launch

He’s also keeping active on social media, focusing on building a following on his website and gaining subscribers to his newsletter.

Now with the first book under his belt, Cameron is excited to launch a series of “dude’s guides” with the next title being “A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Kids.”

He and his wife have two daughters (three and six months old) so it’s been a very busy time at the Cameron household. Now that he’s gone through the writing and publishing process, he expects the next book to take about a year. The Canadian author has no shortage of ideas, and multiple projects are in the works.

With a dedicated and growing audience, it won’t be long before Tyler Cameron’s side hustle turns into a full-time writing career.
Buy A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Weddding on Amazon

Visit Tyler’s Website

Say Hi to Tyler on Social  socialmedia-facebook socialmedia-instagram socialmedia-twitter

 

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