It’s been a while since I have had this kind of news. My last book, the young adult title PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, came out in February of 2018. Now, I’m excited to announce that I have accepted a contract with the same publisher to publish my 7th novel, the adult contemporary title I WILL TELL THE NIGHT.
In September of 2016, I discovered that I had won the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Adult Novel Award for the 5th time for I WILL TELL THE NIGHT (<-read about that in this post right here). The true story behind the writing of this novel is that it almost did NOT get written.
The novel marathon takes place over the course of 72hrs, every July, in Huntsville, Ontario. The literary event that is also a huge fund-raiser to help the YMCA of Muskoka and Simcoe County with the funding of their literacy programs is a must-attend event for me. I love the adrenaline rush it gives me to attempt to write an entire novel in the space of one long weekend. Especially when it involves being in a room with 39 other writers typing away at their own attempt to pull off the exact same feat. It’s a magical time every year.
In 2016, though…I was over 24 hours into the MNM when I still hadn’t really written a single thing. The writers who attend this event are gracious and friendly and lovely and accommodating of each other…and the best supporters a struggling writer can ever hope to have. For that one small string of 72 hours a year, we become a family. We eat together, we laugh, we cry, we go out into the night and make noise, we read our words aloud, and we lift each other up like the brothers and sisters we become in that room of magical happenstance.
Fellow writer Dale Long happened to see my struggles that year and decided to pick my brain…to see if maybe he could get me writing. After a few comments and a long string of whining from yours truly, Dale said something about telling my own story…but totally discombobulating it until there was nothing recognizable in it. Kind of throw a few things into a blender and run with it. I thought, “Hmmmm?” It actually had been one of those years for me. I could see something forming just from the suggestion.
In the remaining 48 hours, I struggled to have enough of a novel together to submit it into the novel writing contest at the end of the weekend. I didn’t know if it worked, but thanks to Dale…I at least ended the weekend with an entry. Not only that, I actually pursued the story after the weekend was over. Sometimes after an MNM weekend, I don’t even look at the manuscript again for weeks or months. But something about this one spoke to me. It felt honest and true…even though it was a big fat fictional lie that sprang from a mere kernel of truth that quickly disappeared into the lies.
Fast forward two more years and here I am. Thank you DALE LONG for making me write something that weekend. Sometimes we just need a friend to ignite something inside us we didn’t even know we were carrying. The story Dale coaxed out of me that weekend wasn’t even there a minute before we started talking. He was the match, the gasoline and the combustible materials that went into this story’s initial explosion. I think I already know how the dedication page is going to go on this one.
A Quick Synopsis – I Will Tell The Night
Finn Barker gets a surprise phone call from a family he left behind thirty years ago. Finn has to make a split-second decision to return in time to be present for his mother’s imminent death, or ignore the alarm and stay inside the comfort of the life he created for himself a thousand miles away from his abandoned childhood home.
When Finn decides to make the trip from Toronto to New Brunswick, rather than live with the regret of not doing so, he prepares for a journey that will take him back into the treacherous territory of all his buried childhood memories. Before getting his affairs in order, he informs Steven—the man he’s been seriously dating for a number of months—of his plans. Thankfully, Steven insists on joining Finn on his odyssey back home.
With Steven behind the wheel, they set out across Canada on a journey that has Finn recalling so many of the traumatic memories that caused him to flee in the first place. As the memories of a small-town childhood filled with trauma and homophobia flood back to Finn, he shares them with Steven, who is content to drive and bear witness to Finn’s sordid past.
Finn recounts his love for his grandmother, MyImogene, the bad blood between him and his homophobic father, and the loss of his twin brother Jesse whom he had managed to keep out of his thoughts for the duration of his estrangement from his family. All the things he avoided for decades flood back to him while the car plows through the night toward the eventuality of his mother’s death. Once in New Brunswick, Finn is able to say goodbye to the mother he no longer knows.
As Finn’s mother passes, he decides to try harder to mend the rift between himself and his father. In the days following her death, the two men work to repair their broken relationship. Together–along with Finn’s siblings Fran and Art–they go about the preparations of laying to rest the woman who connects them all together. In returning to a place he left while still a child, Finn discovers a few secrets he hadn’t quite grasped in the time prior to his escape. Only in coming back does he fully comprehend the full dynamics of a family he fled too soon.
I WILL TELL THE NIGHT will be released from MUSEITUP PUBLISHING in 2019. Stay tuned for more details!