The small-town life inspires author
Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 06:00 am
Transitioning from the big city to small-town life was the inspiration behind a Foothills artist’s first fiction novel.
The life-altering decision to move to Turner Valley from Calgary in 2000 prompted multi-media artist Holly Quan to check off writing a book from her bucket list.
Her fictional story is about a woman from the bustling city of Vancouver falling in love with a fictional town in the Foothills.
The book, The Sow’s Ear Café, shares the joys of living in a small town in the Foothills, from the friendly people and wide-open spaces to the wildlife and community connections.
“I was inspired by moving out of the city and into the Foothills and connecting with nature and the community,” said Quan. “Everybody in the community has been so supportive and welcomed us into the community and helped make it home. We look out our back window and see foxes and birds. I can’t imagine moving into the city now.”
Quan said she feels a much stronger community connection in Turner Valley than she ever did in the city.
While living in Calgary, Quan’s horse was boarded in Millarville and a friend asked why she doesn’t just move to the area rather than driving back and forth so frequently.
At that time, Quan and her partner led very busy work lives and had little time to themselves. The decision to move to Turner Valley was a lifestyle change.
“It reconnected us both with nature and made us calmer, more well rounded,” she said. “It’s like a work-life balance thing. We do lots more hiking and cross-country skiing. At 2 in the afternoon, if it’s a beautiful day we’ll drop everything and go for a walk.”
The Sow’s Ear Café tells the story of Lucie living a wild and crazy life in Vancouver when things suddenly unravel and she loses everything. A friend gives her a car and money and encourages her to leave the city to clear her head.
When she experiences car trouble in a small town in the Foothills, Lucie makes new friends, gets a job and falls in love and starts a new life.
It’s not all roses for Lucie as the community struggles with a BSE crisis and her boyfriend is suddenly a suspect in a murder.
“There is some twists and turns that happen,” Quan said.
At a book launch at the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond on March 10 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Quan will read excerpts and sign copies of her book.
“I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” she said. “I’ve written a couple of non-fiction (technical) books but this is my first piece of fiction.”
Quan has worked as a professional writer and communications specialist, and dabbled in art since moving to Turner Valley, but writing a fiction novel is something she’s always dreamed of doing.
Ten years ago Quan began creating the characters, situations and dialogue and the book gradually took form.
While taking a master’s degree in creative writing, Quan really delved into the book.
“After I finished writing it I pitched it to small presses in Alberta and across Canada,” she said. “The thing about small presses is they only publish a handful of titles a year. You have to fit into their business model and what they have planned.”
After pitching the novel to 20 small presses, Quan decided to self publish with Friesen Press in Victoria.
“It’s a bucket list thing, it’s something I wanted to do, not something that’s going to make me a fortune,” she said.
“We will see how this does. I have a couple of other half-finished manuscript that I might resurrect one day.”
Quan plans to spend the next six months marketing the book in Alberta and British Columbia.
“It’s a relief to have it done and it’s an accomplishment,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
To learn more about Holly Quan go to www.hollyquan.ca. The book is available for sale at the book signing event for $25 for soft cover and $35 for hard cover.