Goodbye to my dear friends
It’s been nine years since I began working on what has become The River of Lakes trilogy, and yesterday, on the eve of the second novel being published, I have started working on the last chapter of the third book.
And it’s made me rather sad.
Over the past nine years I have spent more time with Brian and Maureen Burke, and Joe Loon and Little Stevie Fobister, and This Man and so many others, than I have with anyone outside my immediate—and very understanding—family. I am going to miss them all. They have surprised me, they have delighted me day after day, and I cherish my time with them as they led me on their grand adventures.
I didn’t expect to write a trilogy. I intended to write a novel to tell the stories of the Ojibway who I lived and worked with in the 60’s in a most wonderful Eden on the English River in NW Ontario, a paradise destroyed by one more example of man’s inhumanity to man. But the characters didn’t see it that way, and as I headed to the end of ‘The 53rd Parallel’ I realized there were so many more stories to tell, and then as I finished ‘Worlds Between’ the characters were still eager to perform for me, and for you, and so ‘Grassy Narrows’ followed.
By the way, I love these characters and their stories so much that I had to write the first two books twice. It was five years ago. I had just finished the second novel and sat down to take one more look at it before I began the third, and as my PC booted up, it crashed and I didn’t back up any files.
I lost both books.
Every bit of it, four years of writing, all gone. I kicked the chair and screamed my ignorance to the world and took lots of walks in the woods and then two weeks later, I started again.
As I began the last chapter (at least I hope it’s the last chapter) of the third book I realized it was the last chapter of all three books, and that it carries a special duty. So I have done something I’ve never done with my fiction writing: I outlined the chapter.
And I promised my dear friends that I would do my best at sending them off.
I’ll miss you too, Grace O’Malley Burke.(You’ll meet her in the second novel.)