A few weeks ago I had a visit here from the talented Tele Aadsen, fisher person and writer, trolling the dangerously magnificent waters off the coast of Alaska.
Today I’m happy to introduce you to Anneli Purchase, a writer whose life these days also very much revolves around the ebb and flow of the ocean. A fellow Canadian, Anneli and her husband live on breathtaking Vancouver Island, a part of our country that is very dear to my heart.
My late parents loved living there for five years in the 1970’s and two of the women from my real-life Bridge Club are now settled fairly close to each other near the town of Comox. When my Bridge Club had a one-week reunion on the Island two years ago, I took my parents’ ashes with me and scattered them in the majestic Pacific from the shore of a ruggedly beautiful beach. Our family all agreed that would have pleased mom and dad, so we felt we had truly honoured them.
If I had known Anneli then, we might have had a chance to meet up for a chat. Next time!
To demonstrate, yet again, the fabulous global reach of the online writing community, Anneli and I met through a writers/readers’ group that originated in the U.K.
LoveAHappyEnding.com is the bright idea of British writer, Linn B. Halton and is now a strongly established literary community … with a tremendous knack for hilarity and having a good time, as well as serious writing and offering great support to each other!
On June 15th, they hosted their first literary event, A Summer Audience, in Tetbury to outstanding reviews. Although some of us were not there in person, our novels were on display. Anneli and I watched with pride along with other members of the group from this side of the Atlantic.
P.S. Welcome, Anneli! I’m delighted to have you here for a visit.
A.P. Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog, Patricia.
P.S. Let’s begin by talking about your novel, The Wind Weeps. One review states, ” This is a Canadian tale of love, betrayal, and triumph, told with gusto, humour, and bold insight.” What an intriguing story! What prompted you to write this novel and how long did it take you?
A.P I’m a retired teacher, but in the summers I sometimes went along to deckhand with my husband on his salmon troller in the Queen Charlotte Islands. For me, fishing in waters that were anything but a glass pond was torture because I always got seasick in the slightest bit of rough water. Nausea aside, the experience of being a part of unspoiled nature is unforgettable. We were talking about the ups and downs of the fishing life, and all the colourful characters we’d met on the coast. I thought, “There’s a story in this,” and away I went scribbling down the outline of a story. Three years and many, many rewrites later, I finished “The Wind Weeps.”
P.S. Please tell us about your life on Vancouver Island and your involvement with your husband’s work as a commercial fisherman. Your writing has such a strong environmental voice that brings the savage beauty of British Columbia vividly to life.
A.P. After a few summers of trying to fish in spite of my seasickness, my husband said to me one day, “You look awful. Why don’t you go home?” I guess he thought I would be as tough as he is and say, “Oh, no. I couldn’t leave you to do this all alone.” Instead I shocked him with a small, quavery, “Okay….” I became a landlubber and have only gone on boat trips closer to home, in the summer vacation spots around Vancouver Island. But even these “sissy” trips provided wonderful adventures and background for my stories.
P.S. I know you grew up in Peace Country in northern British Columbia. How would you define the differences between life there and on the coast of B.C.?
A.P. The Peace Country has a beauty of its own, but life there can be hard, especially in the winter. I loved it there, but I do like to be warm and I would miss the ocean if I moved back. Surviving in the harsh northern winters makes it necessary for people to care for each other. In the populated areas of southern BC people are more insular and shut themselves off with an “every man for himself” attitude, but you’ll find that as you travel up the lonely coast, and survival becomes an issue again, coastal characters are there for each other.
P.S. Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
A.P. I’m in the process of publishing a second book. Like The Wind Weeps, this one is a contemporary love story complicated by unexpected twists and by the characters’ undisclosed secrets. This novel is set in the remote areas of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
P.S. How has your perspective on writing changed since you became a published author? Is there something from your experience you might want to share with other writers?
A.P. Becoming a better writer is a continuous learning curve. Writing groups, critiquing groups, writing conferences, and workshops all have their place. If we pay attention to writing tips from the experts, we can always improve our own writing style. I’m glad I didn’t publish my first book as soon as I thought it was finished. The Wind Weeps is actually the third novel I’ve written. I feel good about what I’ve learned since writing my first unpublished novel. I’m now rewriting the first two and am pleased with how they are shaping up. I see too many poorly written books out there, especially, but not only, self-published books. That’s not to say, “Don’t self-publish.” I do believe it’s the way to go. But get yourself a good copy-editor!
Anneli, I wish you the best of luck with your new novel and look forward to more stories and photos from your life on beautiful Vancouver Island. I’ve also been meaning to tell you I think your name is simply lovely!
Here are all the links we need to connect with Anneli, order her books or send her messages. Take note she also is available as a copy editor. She’ll be delighted to hear from you!
Amazon.com (paperback or Kindle): http://amzn.to/KpAB7G
Smashwords (Kindle and other e-book formats): http://bit.ly/yPQvEP