Kentville au­thor re­leases new novel

Annapolis Valley Register - - ARTS - BY KIRK STARRATT ,*/(4$06/5:/&84 $" ,&/57*--& /4 LTUBSSBUU!LJOHTDPVOUZOFXT DB

Al­though it’s a work of fic­tion, there is plenty of his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy in the vividly de­tailed new book by Kentville au­thor Terry Crawford.

He’s been liv­ing in Kentville since 1970, but Crawford grew up near the Saint John, New Brunswick water­front. His child­hood mem­o­ries greatly in­flu­enced his lat­est work.

Crawford has worked hard to make his writ­ing visual, us­ing words to evoke strong images in the minds of read­ers.

“I would hear all kinds of sto­ries about the Se­cond World War and peo­ple who had sighted sub­marines,” Crawford said about his child­hood. “I also knew var­i­ous po­lice­men, ac­tu­ally de­tec­tives, who would tell me about cases some­times. I in­te­grated a few of those into the book.”

Crawford loved grow­ing up in Saint John and knew the nu­ances of each neigh­bour­hood in­ti­mately. How­ever, the land­scape changed dra­mat­i­cally in the 1960s with ur­ban re­newal. En­tire neigh­bour­hoods were torn down – some­thing that “trau­ma­tized” Crawford. He al­ways found him­self re­flect­ing back on what the city used to look like.

Crawford said the as­pect he en­joyed most about writ­ing the book was re­vis­it­ing all the Saint John neigh­bour­hoods that no longer ex­ist and in­cor­po­rat­ing them into the novel.

“I can pic­ture them in my head very vividly,” Crawford said.

Crawford, who has pub­lished books of po­etry and an­other novel, al­ways wanted to write a de­tec­tive novel. He said the story has ac­tu­ally be­come quite topical, in­volv­ing for­eign gov­ern­ments in­ter­fer­ing with na­tional sovereignty.

The book be­gins on Valen­tine’s Day in 1939, with the dis­cov­ery of a body in the hold of a Nor­we­gian cargo ship, ig­nit­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a life­time for Det. Sgt. Jack Ire­land. The de­tec­tive can sense that some­thing is dras­ti­cally wrong and that “sets him off,” Crawford said.

“Then he’s told not to do any­thing about it, so that re­ally gets him sus­pi­cious,” Crawford said. “The trou­ble with Jack is that he’s very hon­est, he’ll just pur­sue some­thing and he’s kind of a cham­pion of the com­mon man.”

Crawford’s pre­vi­ous pub­lisher, Oberon, looked at the book three times but re­jected it on the ba­sis that it was too com­mer­cial and wasn’t a fit with their cat­a­logue. He was ac­cepted by an­other pub­lished that ended up go­ing bankrupt, leav­ing Crawford with an un­ful­filled con­tract.

Fol­low­ing an emer­gency surgery last year, Crawford didn’t want to go through an­other sub­mis­sion process, so he and his wife de­cided to self-pub­lish the book. They’ve been pleased with the re­sults. Crawford said he has fu­ture lit­er­ary plans for main char­ac­ter Jack Ire­land.

Crawford said he hopes the book makes peo­ple think about cer­tain as­pects of our so­ci­ety, not to take things too much for granted, to look be­neath the sur­face and to ques­tion au­thor­ity.

He said he’s al­ways en­joyed writ­ing. He would make up sto­ries while run­ning er­rands as a child and was “outed” as a closet poet in high school.

When asked what he finds most chal­leng­ing about writ­ing, “Sit­ting down on my ass and do­ing it” was his big­gest is­sue.

“The light­ing and the tea have to be just right,” Crawford said. “Some­times once I get started, I don’t want to stop.”

Crawford said you “re­ally have

to be on top of things” when you self-edit. For ex­am­ple, he ended up cut­ting 120 pages from the novel, mainly long, de­scrip­tive pas­sages that didn’t ad­vance the plot.

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Kentville au­thor Terry Crawford has a new novel en­ti­tled The Trou­ble With Jack Ire­land. Crawford hopes read­ers will be en­ter­tained.

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