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