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The American Revolution wasn’t the beginning of only one nation.  It was the catalyst to the birth of a second, too.

Think about it.  Without the American Revolution, how different would Canada be?

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In my novel Otherworld, I introduced a little object that has some significance for the main character, Emma Delaney—a small mirror.  Cale Kynsey gives it to her to show her some important things about herself.  But there are things we can learn from the mirror, too.

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I’m blogging at Redwood Park Communities today, about the labels we give people.  Come on over and take a look.


 

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Otherworld Cover

 

 

What if the princess wasn’t so charming?

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Every hero has an origin, and it would be impossible to understand Ann MacLean without knowing where she came from.

She was born on the shores of Loch Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  But at her core she was really a child of two worlds.

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In doing the research for my work in progress, Hold Fast, I’ve come across some very interesting facts.  Not least of these facts is the Scottish laird with the nickname “The Wicked Man”.

You see, when I got Ann MacLean‘s story, all I knew was that she was the granddaughter of a Scottish laird who lived in a castle on a cliff on the Isle of Skye.  It didn’t take much sleuthing to discover that castle was Dunvegan.  And based on the timeline (Ann arrived in Canada in 1774 at the age of 16) I narrowed her grandfather down to Norman MacLeod, the 22nd chief of Clan MacLeod.  That’s where things get interesting.

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When I wrote Across the Deep, it took me a decade.

A decade of sifting through the historical record and the treasure trove of letters and journals left to me and my cousins by my grandfather.  Every new thing I read brought these people to life in new and vibrant ways.

You see, it’s one thing to have a family tree with names and dates.  (Many families don’t even have that much, beyond a couple of generations.)  Even old black and white photographs can only take you so far.  It’s the stories that really matter.

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Do you ever feel like there’s more than just this life?

Like you’re adrift in a dream—maybe even a nightmare—that someday has to end and that you’ll wake up and everything will make sense?  As though no matter how you try to fit in to the world around you it doesn’t quite work?

Maybe I’m alone in that feeling, but I suspect I’m not.

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The log church at St. Elmo, built by William McKillican

This past weekend I made a pilgrimage.  It’s become an annual thing for us—to travel to the land of my forefathers and soak in the extravaganza of Scottish heritage that is the Glengarry Highland Games.  But this year is a special year.  This year marks the 200th anniversary of a different kind of pilgrimage.  200 years ago, William McKillican uprooted his family and followed his congregation to Canada, where he eked out a farm in the backwoods of Breadalbane in Glengarry County, as told in my book Across the Deep.

 

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Are you descended from a refugee?  The answer might surprise you.

With Syrian refugees so prominent in the news right now—and such a hot topic for debate—it’s easy to think that refugees are a new thing for Canada.  But they’re really not.  In fact, it was a group of refugees, mainly, that made up the bulk of citizens in the newborn country of Canada.

Some of your ancestors may have made the perilous journey into Canada and stayed for months or even years in a squalid, disease-ridden, food-scarce camp.  Some of mine did.

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What would make a person want to sleep forever?

That’s the question Prince Kynan would risk his life to answer.  In Everdream, my young adult fantasy novel, the queen has been sleeping for ten years and her son has set out to rescue her.  But in the process he learns what sent her to the magical realm in the first place.

The idea for Queen Aderyn’s decade-long slumber had its source in my own struggles with mental illness.

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