Historic Grand Manan
with the author, Elaine Ingalls
“What motivated you to write the book?”
A. Long before I
had the idea of writing a book I started collecting stories and information to share with my children. I had fond memories
of my childhood, my sense of place and family and my children were growing up in a community where they didn’t even
know their cousins. (My brothers lived in BC and my husband’s relatives in Scotland.)
The more I collected, the more I felt some of this should be shared with others as it pertained to their family as well. I
was particularly impressed with some of the old letters written to and from my great uncle who died in World War I and an
1870 diary written by one of Canada’s first fisheries
How long did it take you to write it?
A. Two years ago I wrote the book, When
Canada Joined Cape Breton which went on to become a best seller. The success of this book encouraged me to keep writing so
I approached my publisher, Nimbus Publishing, to see if they would be interested in working with me on another book. Writing
instructors always advise their students to ‘write about what you know’ and seeing I’d already collected
a lot of material about my home island, Grand Manan, I started there. The finished product took two years from the time I
received confirmation that the publisher was interested until I had the finished product in my hand.
Has there been an interesting response to the book?
A. So far? The responsive has been very positive from those
who like history, or have island connections. I was touched by the response of one former
island resident when she saw the book for the first time. She couldn’t put the book down until she looked at every picture.
After she was finished she signed my guest book with the words, “So interesting to “ME”. Thanks for writing
this while I’m still breathing!!”
What do you believe we can learn from looking at our history?
A. I don’t think we can get a clear direction of where to go in the future
until we have a good understanding of our past. During my research I was reminded that the experiences that may have been
hardships in our history are often the ones that have built character and helped a community and its people grow to be valuable
will you work on next?
A. What happens
now? Such a good question for a writer. After I’ve finished a project and I’m floundering around trying to figure
out what I should do next, I entertain fleeting thoughts to quit writing but they only lasts for a few hours or days then
I take one of my fistful of pens and find myself scribbling notes or writing down ideas in my pig pen. (my idea file) I’d like to explore the idea of writing a YA novel based on my research. I have
collected so many stories and have such a strong sense of what life was like in rural NB 100 years ago. I think I’d
enjoy telling the story from a young person’s point of view.