A Shuswap author’s novel takes readers on a gold rush-age adventure, born out of his love for B.C.’s history and America’s influence.
Lorain David and his wife moved from Vancouver Island to Silver Creek in 2020, hoping to transition slowly into semi-retirement with some part-time work lined up. However, as the pandemic ground life to a halt shortly after their move, the couple found themselves thrown into full retirement with nothing but time on their hands.
“I had always wanted to write a novel, always talked about it,” said David. “I was ‘too busy’, but in all honesty, the things that are important to us, we find time for finally.”
Querencia is David’s first book, published by Salmon Arm’s Hucul Printing. David said it was a delightful process working with a local printer, who knew the region he was writing about and was willing to help him with every step of a process he was unfamiliar with, from some editing help to cover design and, most of all, fast publishing. He brought the book to the printers earlier this year and it was released in July.
A historical fiction following a young man on his journey from Kentucky to B.C. in the mid-1800s, Querencia (a metaphysical Spanish concept meaning ‘to desire’) reflects David’s interest in adventure, the American Civil War, pioneers and the Fraser River and Cariboo’s gold rush days.
“Using the novel format, you can flesh out stories through the characters’ point of view,” said David, talking about his knowledge and desire to blend fact with “take your mind off of it” storytelling.
David learned Kentucky was the only state in the U.S. during the Civil War that chose not to take a side and remained neutral in the beginning, he said. This interested him, and the story developed from that starting point.
David’s protagonist finds himself deciding to move, not wanting any part in what’s going on around him, and setting out to find a life for himself elsewhere. Although he hasn’t experienced anywhere near the same extremes, David can empathize with moving to change up parts of life, as he said he has moved many times for work but is now worn out from moving and wants to stay settled in the Shuswap.
Hoping people read his book and find their own interest in history, he said any good novel should take your mind away from the grind and grunt of daily life, but the book also has some messages.
“When you finish reading, you sit back and think, maybe, about who was right and who was wrong, about Chilcotin country where the story ends and wondering about the Chilcotin massacre, there’s conflicting views of history on that,” said David. “It also touches on some miraculous events in the character’s life, so perhaps there’s more to life than just what we see physically, something in the spiritual realm. That’s not the moral of the story, but it’s there to think about.”
The story moves quickly, said David, having had people come to him after finishing the book in a day and wanting his next novel as soon as possible.
“I want to be able to enjoy a conversation with someone who has finished the book, about some of their ideas that came up.”
Querencia is available for $20 at Bookingham Palace and The Book Nook downtown. David is holding an author talk at the Salmon Arm library Oct. 3 from 7-8 p.m.