Stettler author Eleanor Bertin made her debut as a published writer with her book Lifelines at the Stettler Public Library on Thursday, April 28.
With a lot of people attending the launch, the library was busy as people started coming in towards the latter part of the event featuring her book launch.
“I was so thankful for the library staff’s support as well as neighbours, fellow church members and friends, both from the Stettler Lifestyles Toastmasters Club and the Stettler Writers’ Group,” said Eleanor Bertin.
The evening began with a brief synopsis of the plot of the novel and its theme and then Bertin read to the audience an excerpt where Dr. Robert Fielding, the protagonist, has been roped into taking his neighbour, a young man with Down syndrome, to the zoo.
“Since the book just came out this month and this was the first launch event, only three of those attending had actually read the book, so nobody got a perfect score on the little game we played, matching characters from the book with their quotes,” said Bertin. “Not even my son Tommy Bertin who did the cover art.”
In keeping with a prominent feature in the book, home-made cherry, saskatoon and peach pies were served.
It was Bertin’s love for reading and dwelling in the land of imagination, which motivated her to begin writing as a child.
“Since then, it has been a way to order my thoughts and, in a way, to discover what I’m thinking,” added Bertin.
In 2009 while paging through a Chatelaine magazine Bertin came across a feature on the ‘Ten Most Influential Women’.
“Each of them were noteworthy because of some public, measurable accomplishment and I couldn’t help but compare them with the most influential woman in my life, my mother,” said Bertin. “Her life of loving integrity has made an immense but immeasurable impact on many people beyond even my siblings and me, so I knew I wanted to write about the ripple effects from the life of someone obscure and ordinary.”
And then Bertin began to imagine, “What if Richard Dawkins moved in next door to my mother?” and she started writing what she thought would be a short story and managed about two and a half pages.
“Then it sat for a couple of years while life got in the way and in the meantime, my mind began to weave in other threads of plot and character and I realized it would take a novel to tell the story,” explained Bertin.
At last, in 2012 when her home-educating load was down to one student, she worked on her novel Lifelines quite steadily and the first draft was finished in 2013.
“I kept honing and tweaking it for the next couple of years, pitching it to agents and entering contests, without success till last summer, a contest I’d entered in spring which I’d all but forgotten about, contacted me with the news I was shortlisted in the fiction category,” said Bertin. “That was quite exciting, and since fall, I’ve been going back and forth with editors, rewriting and editing.”
“Given that this is my first novel, I’m pleasantly surprised at the steady number of requests I’m getting locally and through my website and social media,” added Bertin.