Recent Releases

Category: Recent Releases

As one of the pillars of a good story, setting deserves as much attention as character and plot, but is often overlooked in favour of hurried references to generic or made-up locations. For me, it is like the setting of a precious gem; the perfect backdrop against which the story unfolds, allowing just the right light, colour, and reflection to make the story come alive. Each scene, as well as the overall story, should be anchored in place so that the reader feels a part of the drama.

Award-winning short story writer and author of two novels for adults, Brent van Staalduinen brings us a powerful YA debut that sheds light on a story that is commonly left untold. In Nothing but Life, we follow the story of Dills whose memories are raw from the day a shooter came into his school library and opened fire. He struggles to talk about the day, but most of all, he struggles to come to terms with the stepfather he loves who has committed the crime. We asked Brent to share some insight into the making of Nothing but Life: 

Toronto's association with Valentine's Day stretches back nearly two hundred and fifty years, to a time before the city was even founded. In fact, it goes back to the very first Valentine ever sent in North America.

The founder of the city, John Graves Simcoe, was a dashing young officer back then, fighting on the British side of the American Revolution. He was stationed outside New York City, billeted with an American family on Long Island. It was there that he fell in love with the family's daughter: Sally Sarah Townsend.

Without Blood was published in French in 2010. Obviously, this book was all about the birth of Victor Lessard, but I didn’t know it initially...

As I started writing the first chapters, the story revolved more around Simone’s character and the surreal nature of certain aspects of her journey.

Then, what was supposed to be a simple patrol officer dispatched to investigate the hit and run that Simone was victim of, quickly became who you now know to be sergeant-detective Victor Lessard, a character that came with sufficient personal damage and empathy for Simone.

I first stumbled across rumours of a woman accompanying Wolseley’s expedition to Red River in an appendix to George Stanley’s 1989, Toil and Trouble. There, Stanley points to Chief engineer Simon Dawson’s observation that was made in his official report on the Expedition: “I may draw attention to the fact that…a gentleman who had his wife with him, passed over all the rapids, portages and whirlpools of the Winnipeg without its occurring to their occupants that they were doing anything extraordinary.”

One of the things I used to comfort myself with when COVID-19 first appeared on the scene, waaaay back at the beginning of 2020 (are we done yet?), was that at least this wasn’t Ancient Egyptian times! That may sound odd, but I was in the midst of editing the second book in my series, The Desert Prince, which picks up with healer Sesha and her friends, where The Lost Scroll of the Physician leaves off.

Most people will remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19; a year that was downright awful. And for good reason, of course — the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world, ruining lives, shuttering businesses, and crippling the economy. A year ago, nobody could have predicted we’d all be donning face masks or lining up for groceries; that stadiums and playgrounds would be closed, office towers vacated. Travelling abroad? Forget about it. The risks of catching and spreading COVID were not worth the reduced price of airfare. In fact, the only place that felt safe was in the closed comfort of home.

Sometimes, when life and art overlap it’s a happy synchronicity. Other times not so happy when a friend experiences an over-long recovery from COVID and her doctor has nothing to suggest. She typed, “We can’t garden without needing naps; we can’t take walks; even grocery shopping leaves us all exhausted for days. You know about managing fatigue from your character Jan in those Falls books. Can you suggest anything we can try?”

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