The second evening of the 2016-17 Grimsby Author Series was truly inspiring. There was a definite buzz in the air as our authors arrived at Casablanca Winery Inn, and they did not disappoint, with both providing fascinating insights into their latest highly-praised novels and the processes they go through to come up with such brilliant and moving stories.
Before the talks officially began the audience was treated to light snacks and delicious wines from this evening’s wine sponsor Henry of Pelham. Music was in the air as the crowd filtered in from our smooth house band Quarter Past Two (care of the Blessed Trinity music program) creating festive atmosphere and added to the excitement of the event – the scene was being set!
As Ken took the stage everyone took their seats and settled down for another unforgettable night. The audience and authors were treated to two more of his signature introductions, which Gail Anderson-Dargatz, the first of our speakers, described as the best one she ever had received! Kevin Patterson equally expressed his appreciation in his turn, and their reactions made it clear our series made a good impression on them both.
Gail delighted the audience with what can only be described as a magical reading of her new novel The Spawning Grounds. Intertwining the real world with the mythical, her vivid characters and eloquently described settings made you feel as if you were watching the scenes unfold right before your eyes; immersing you in legend and a dream-like world where anything could happen. If a novel could ever be described as ‘visually stunning’ – this would be it. Gail let us in on the inspirations for this novel and her string of other award-winning and internationally acclaimed books: The magic of real life and those ‘Velcro’ moments (the ones that really stick) which fuel her creativity. Whether it’s the memory of the graceful fall of mating eagles careening and cartwheeling toward the earth, or the dream of a young boy standing on a writhing river of salmon, the elements she molds into her stories are beautiful and moving.
Kevin Patterson, we can say without exaggeration, is an excessively accomplished renaissance man. Currently living on a sailboat off of Saltspring Island in B.C., Kevin is an author, medical doctor, and former solider to boot. He has lead a varied and adventurous life that has introduced him to amazing people and situations that have fed his ability to write rich and realistic stories by drawing on those experiences. In his new novel News From the Red Desert he gives us an insider’s perspective into a modern war in the Middle East unlike any other we’ve fought before, and how the total optimism felt by soldiers at the beginning of it eventually fell into harsh reality and moral chaos. In his book, and in his talk, he very effectively shone a light on the media’s role in war, and the danger of ‘infotainment’ feeding the war machine and our fascination with it. Kevin managed to temper the seriousness of the subject matter with warmth and humour, including singling out an audience member close to his heart (a true hero, old friend, and nurse in Northern Canada named Linda), and very much captivated the audience.
After the talks both authors very generously stayed to sign copies of their books for audience members, but not before we raffled off our many fabulous prizes from our generous sponsors. These include Caliga shoes, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Cole’s Florists & Garden Centre, Special Effects Art Shoppe, and Theatre Aquarius. The authors received gifts from The Peanut Mill, Henry of Pelham and Forks Road Pottery.
We’d like to thank both Gail Anderson-Dargatz and Kevin Patterson for including us on their book tours and to all the sponsors and volunteers that elevated the evening and made this night go so smoothly. We’ll see you, and everyone else in November!