June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. It’s a time to reflect upon and learn the history, contributions, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada and their role in shaping the country. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples have their distinct histories, and within each group, their unique stories.
Tellwell is celebrating Indigenous History Month by showcasing our talented and courageous Indigenous authors whose stories strengthen our social fabric, enrich our culture and understanding of history. Thank you for telling your stories and sharing it with the world.
They Called Me 33: Reclaiming Ingo-Waabigwan
Karen Chaboyer is an Ojibwa mother and grandmother from Rainy River First Nations, a community in northwestern Ontario. She is proudly admired by her children, who have witnessed her transformation as she worked through layers of shame and learned to embrace her identity. A second-generation survivor of residential school, Karen now shares her experiences with audiences throughout the Toronto area, where she now resides. Karen’s goal is to educate people on the extent to which the tragedies of the residential school system have impacted individuals, families, communities, and entire cultures to this day.
Grieving is the way to work through our losses and past traumas; compassion for ourselves and each other is how we move forward. Only then can we be victorious.
Calgary-based children’s author, Fred Smith, is originally from Santa Maria, California, where he served in the United States Marine Corps, rising to the rank of sergeant. As his military career was winding down, he met his wife and moved to Canada to start a family. He retrained as a graphic designer and photographer. His adventures in fatherhood inspired him to write and illustrate his first children’s book, My Daddy’s Legs. Fred Smith is using his artistic talents to create animated videos of his book on his YouTube Channel, Uncle Freddie’s Courtyard.
1. What inspired you to write My Daddy’s Legs?
I was inspired by playing games with my son and it reminded me how I used to play with my grandpa and uncles.
2. Did you have a number of ideas for a children’s book? How did you decide on this one?
I had one book idea before this; however, it was too ambitious for my skill level because it would have required its own app to be produced.
3. What are you most proud of in your book?
I am most proud of the rhymes and the fact that I illustrated the book myself.
4. How did you learn to illustrate and animate videos?
I got a diploma in graphic design in 2015, so I mastered Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro. All of those tools talk to each other and allow me the opportunity to do something different.
5. It’s nice to see more books highlighting the unique relationship between father and son, especially with Father’s Day this month. What was your son’s reaction to the book? Does he love reading the story at bedtime?
My son was excited to see the book but I don’t think he understands that every kid isn’t featured in a book. He knows that he is the lead character of the story and points out what he’s doing on every page.
6. What do you enjoy most about being a dad?
What I enjoy most about being a dad is seeing the world through the kids’ eyes when they experience something new.
7. What have you been doing to market and promote your book?
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The Independent Publishing Book Awards is the longest-running and one of the largest book awards open exclusively for independent authors.
I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and due to my father’s position in the diplomatic service, I travelled the world while growing up. This allowed me to learn different languages and enjoy an array of cultures, while attending a variety of schools. I used to write short stories as a youngster but never thought I’d write or become an author. My time is devoted to medicine, but I also have a passion for aviation and work as a senior flight instructor on weekends. Somewhere between this and a busy family life, I find time for writing. I would describe myself as quite physically active, enjoying playing sports and exercising on a regular basis.
2. You work as a psychiatrist in Perth, Australia, and only recently began writing and publishing your work. What ignited your passion for writing?
My father started writing after retiring from duty. He asked me to read some of his work and provide feedback on ideas, plots, storyline and characters. He writes in Italian and published five books in Italy. This process awakened my interest for literature and thus took me down an unknown but worthy and creative path.
3. What inspired you to write Foresight,Hunted and Vestige?
I found that my interest for fast-paced suspenseful stories inspired me to start writing my first two books.Vestige was inspired by my own ghostly encounter in an old section of the hospital that I work in.
It is an elegy of love and redemption and tells the story of a little girl who sees the wounded spirit of a slain poet huddled near a fountain in Granada, Spain. She befriends him to give him his voice back.
2. How were you planning to promote and market your book before the COVID-19 crisis?
I had been approved by Indigo for a signing on April 18th in Victoria and had Tellwell create my promotional materials for that event. I also had a reading set up at the Vancouver Public Library on April 19th and an event set up with the Victoria Public Library in May, as part of the emerging local author program. All of these events have been cancelled. Fortunately, I had an interview with Citizen’s Forum on YouTube before we were all told to self-isolate so I gained some traction there. After many months of building online interest, the book was finally starting to take off; however, all of the events mentioned above are still available to me, when life resumes once more.
3. What are you doing now?
I’m still in the thinking stages of what to do next, but plan to set up my own YouTube channel to do readings and talks to post online, through my website and Facebook author page. I am also planning to set up a series of podcasts. Finally, I am building a community of authors around me whereby we read and review each other’s books and post them on Amazon by way of support.
4. Do you have any advice for authors?
My advice is to never give up. If there is an obstacle in the river, float around it as there are always creative solutions available. Also, form communities with like-minded artists to exchange ideas. View this time as an opportunity for growth. We are all in this together, globally. If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we need each other.
Read how Charlene Doak-Gebauer, Markus Matthews and Monique Gliozzi are adapting their book marketing strategies in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down.
Ronna Jevne has been a psychologist, researcher, university professor and leading authority on hope. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and the Hope Foundation of Alberta, a research centre associate with the University of Alberta whose mission is to explore and apply the phenomena of hope. She is the author of several books, including the recently published Finding Hope: Ways of seeing life in a brighter light. Jevne, and her co-author, James Miller, invite new understandings about hope, how to foster hope in our own lives and offer strategies for finding and practicing hope.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I laugh a lot, love deeply, and have a thirst for adventure. I believe life is not a problem; it is an experience to be lived. My pen and my camera are constant companions. I am passionate about photography, and I manage to stay fit while wishing it didn’t require exercise.
I loved every day of my life as a psychologist and professor. I have had the privilege of working in education, health care, corrections, and academia. Over the years, I have seen extraordinary courage in the midst of life’s most serious challenges.
I stepped back from the mainstream of professional life to be with my husband in the last chapter of his life.
I live now on eight acres of heaven, share my life with my husband, Hal Martin. Hal and I are lifelong friends who had amazing partners. In a brief window, we both lost our spouses. We now share our lives.
Life has given me new opportunities on all fronts. In this new chapter of my professional life, writing is central. My role in the Prairie Wind Writing Center, a partnership with my present husband Hal, is to take the lead in designing workshops/retreats, writing books, and promoting therapeutic writing with clients and professionals.
2. Can you summarize what your book is about in a few sentences?
Finding Hope: Ways to see life in a brighter light is a shortcut to hope. After an introduction to the value and qualities of hope authors Jevne & Miller offer time tested strategies to enhancing your hope. Each strategy is a one-page explanation and illustration of a “how to”. Written in a personal style and accented with quotations and photographs, Finding Hope is not only about hope, it is an experience of hope.
3. You are a leading authority on hope through your work as a researcher, university professor and psychologist. What is it about hope that fascinates you?
Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down. It is different than faith, coping, or resilience. People who have hope approach challenges differently than those who feel less hope. They achieve more, handle uncertainty with more confidence and have better health and well-being, Yet, hope was until the last couple of decades was virtually ignored by the scientific community.
I am a family physician and researcher practicing in Vaughan, Ontario and I published my debut novel, On Loving, last year. I was born and raised in Iran and continued my medical education and research after moving to Canada with my husband and daughter in 1996. My particular interests are women’s and mental health.
2. What inspired you to write On Loving?
I’ve been a huge fan of literature for as long as I can remember, and one of my dreams as a young girl growing up in Iran was to become an author one day! Persian poetry has always been intriguing for me, and Forugh Farrokhzad, the late contemporary Iranian poet, who was also a women’s rights activist, remained a great inspiration to me since the day I first started reading her works. “On Loving” is the title of one of her famous poems written in Farsi.
My occupation has been another source of inspiration for writing “On Loving.” Working throughout the years as a family physician enabled me to explore the effects of different basic emotions on people’s physical and mental health and to assess the role these feelings play in controlling people’s interpersonal relationships. I finally decided to share my experiences in both fields by creating “On Loving” and focusing on a young woman’s complicated life journey, a turbulent journey full of twists and turns, which ultimately helped this strong yet fragile accomplished woman achieve self-awareness.
I trust that literature can act as a sturdy bridge connecting different cultures, so by using this bridge and the pages of “On Loving,” I introduced my readers to the rich Iranian culture and heritage, its ancient history, and, more importantly, real Iranian people through the eyes of On Loving’s main protagonist, an adopted Iranian-American physician.
3. What is the main message you share in your book?
I’ve always been amazed by how we, as human beings, react in our unique and different ways in similar situations or circumstances in life. Many of us never know who we really are and what we really stand for until it is too late. In other words, we may never get to know ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, our true potentials until the last day we live! Understanding the importance of achieving self-awareness – most possibly the hardest task to succeed in life- through working on our pure feelings and emotions, was one my main messages to reflect upon and share with my readers.
You may remember Ayn Rand’s famous quote from TheFountainhead: “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.'” In fact, for many of us, most “emotions,” such as love, hatred, jealousy, joy, trust, sadness, … are so difficult to process and act upon in proper ways. It is essential to understand where they originate from and how they can morbidly affect our behavior, mental, and physical health.
To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.
4. How has your work as a physician impacted the story in On Loving?
As a family physician with a keen interest in women’s and mental health, I tried to draw more attention to the issues that I’ve found more prevalent and profoundly disturbing for most people. Common conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, suicide, homicide, bereavement, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), kidney failure/transplant, breech delivery, breast cancer, domestic violence, … were among the topics discussed in this novel.
Award-winning author Kristin Pierce’s children’s books are full of empowering messages about finding our real-life super powers of creativity, imagination and intuition. And it’s that message the author, herself, has fully embraced by not only writing a series of children’s books, but taking the lessons learned in self-publishing and coaching others on how to bring their own story ideas to life.
“It has been a lot of work and a ton of learning, but it has been so much fun,” said Saskatchewan-based author and mother of two.
The inspiration to write a children’s story first came a few years ago when she was putting together a rhyming scrapbook for her son about his first six-months of life. The rhymes began flowing and the book ended with some empowering verses.
“I looked at those last couple pages and said to my husband, “Wouldn’t it be neat to turn these lines into an empowering children’s book?”
Pierce says she couldn’t believe she had said those words aloud. “For almost my whole life, I didn’t believe I was creative, so this idea didn’t align with who I thought I was, so I dismissed it,” she said.
But the rhymes wouldn’t stop flowing, and several months later, while her son was napping, she wrote the first draft of her first book, Your Inner Compass That Could, in an hour and a half.
You are the one who knows your true self the best
You have an Inner Compass inside of your chest
If you learn how to listen, it will be your best guide
On life’s wonderful, magical, adventurous ride
Your Inner Compass That Could was published by Tellwell in early 2018. The story encourages children to connect to and trust their inner self to guide them in life. It teaches children that there are no limits to what they can achieve and to pursue their passions and share their unique gifts with the world.
British Columbia-based author Mark Lloyd is quietly celebrating a huge win after his book nabbed top prize in the science fiction category at the IndieReader Discovery Awards.
The humble author was looking for feedback and submitted the book on a whim. “I was surprised. I didn’t expect the story would win anything,” he said.
The award winners were announced in May at the New York International Book Expo. IndieReader gave the book 4.8/5 stars rating A Place to Stay Forever “an imaginative and quirky story that simultaneously hearkens back to both Philip K Dick and Douglas Adams.”
A straightforward, absorbing tale that unfolds inside a beefy futuristic setting. – Kirkus Reviews
The concept of Lloyd’s sci-fi novel is a mix of the Matrix and Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode. The protagonist, Miranda Sage, is plugged into an artificial reality where she is living out her life peacefully as an old man, when a power surge abruptly awakens the crew in a spaceship hurtling back to Earth. The crew has to hack back into the alternate reality through its only access point – the town of Penticton – and awaken consciously to explore a way to end the simulation without harming their bodies.
“I wanted to write a story that makes the readers think about something they haven’t put much thought in before. This book is about immortality, and the perils of being immortal,” said Lloyd.
Despite the virtual reality/alternate universe premise – the story’s locale is very real. Lloyd who grew up and lives in the Okanagan town of Penticton, loved the idea of turning his hometown into the setting of a sci-fi tale.
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.