It’s day 6 of our annual writing retreat. We are a group of PEI writers, we call ourselves the WWW (Wacky/Wonderful/Wild etc. Women Writers). Over the years we’ve found places around the Island to rent in early November, when virtually all the tourists have left PEI, and only a few rentals are still open for business. Finding such a place, in a beautiful location – typically overlooking the ocean – that is warm enough and houses up to 8 or 9 women, and includes a huge fridge (or two) where we cook our meals and have lots of room to write, can be tricky. We’ve stayed in Stanhope, the far eastern shore on South Lake and now we’re on Cape Traverse with a great view of the Confederation Bridge, a spectacular sight at sunset. We take daily walks along the beaches, or through the woods on the headlands; we exercise indoors when the weather is nasty. Writing entails hours of sitting, and needs to be balanced with movement and nourishment as well as brain work.
We also spend time talking about writing, discuss our current projects, writing events, our dreams and challenges as writers. This week I dusted off an older manuscript and re-read it for the first time in many years. After the launch of the second book in my ‘Kira’ series, I decided that I needed a change of theme, so I re-visited ‘Rika’s Shepherd’. This book for young and YA readers focusses on the world of a 15 year old Dutch girl who lives on a PEI dairy farm. Her father, who manages their herd of cattle, immigrated from the Netherlands with his wife, who died in an accident when Rika was a young child. Rika now has her own flock of sheep and she is saving money to buy a Border collie. Life is good, until the day that coyotes attack her flock.
Some of you may have an inkling of what is to come. This book is based on events that could have happened – and some incidents are versions of what really did happen on my own farm. The two girls who are the heart of these books have a few things in common, though one lives on an island and one on the coast – they are both only children, they are passionate about animals and have close relationships with them, and their first names are a combination of the same four letters. The latter is a complete coincidence. I’m hoping to publish Rika’s story within a year or so. Book three in Kira’s series is about ready to fly…or should I say, dive in?