Tillotson Achivement in the middle
First novel from Stanstead humorist
For those who read that little ‘teaser’ of an excerpt from humor columnist Ross Murray’s first novel about the wonderful town of Beaverly in Taproot V, I’m sure Ross Murray has written his first novel, A Hole in the you’ll all be happy to know Ground, and launches it Saturday at Townshippers’ Day.
that the ‘Beaverly book’ is finally out! A Hole in the Ground, the name of the new novel, is about what happens when the small town of Beaverly suddenly has an emergency to deal with. Having had the chance to read the first few chapters, the characters are well-developed and quite colorful, sometimes eccentric, and there’s even a small newspaper in town. Sound familiar?
“No single character or institution in the novel is based on someone or something from real life. I’ve taken my experiences of dealing with a small town, and working on a small town newspaper. But as I wrote on the copyright page: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but, you know, knock yourself out.”
The Beaverly story is set in 1998, the same year that the seed for Mr. Murray’s novel first sprouted in his comic brain. “After the ice storm, many towns were caught short, but after they all had to come up with emergency plans. I was on Stanstead’s new emergency committee and I was working at the Stanstead Journal. That got me wondering about what I’d do if there was an emergency, having to wear both hats,” he explained. That idea as a premise for a funny novel “hung on for years.” Asked to speak about small-town life at a QAHN conference a few years ago, preparing for that speech got Ross thinking again about his fictional town.
“I knew it would be a comic novel; it’s a style I’m comfortable with. It took about a year to plan the story and then I started writing. I knew an emergency had to
sits on a stack of his new novel, getting the books ready for mail delivery. happen, and then a puzzle. Writing it was a really enjoyable, creative process. It’s the publishing and printing, and the publicity that’s a struggle,” he admitted.
The author carried out a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help with the printing costs, promising to mail copies of his new book to those who had pledged $20. “I had it all figured out. It would cost $7 to mail each book; I checked it out at the post office.” When the freshly printed books arrived, Ross put them in their envelopes and headed to the post office. “The books wouldn’t fit through the slot and it was going to cost me three times as much to mail them!” After each envelope was individually squished, they just fit through that magical measure.
Asked for a little preview for our readers, Mr. Murray graciously provided the following excerpt:
Jem biked past Pine Knot Street and was almost at the office. Up ahead, a man and a woman were standing on the sidewalk, passing a camera back and forth. Tourists, she thought. They were her age but from better genes, probably the kind of genes money could buy. They were giggling and gesturing at the sign on the lawn in front of the building, a relatively modern hall, the type that looked like it would be filled with stacking chairs and cubicle dividers, which it was. This was, as the carved wooden sign announced, the Corey Hart Centre for Continuing Education. Written in script below the name of the centre, the sign read “Some Classes At Night.”
“I hope people enjoy the book – it’s a light read. My goal was to make people laugh,” Ross concluded.
Mr. Murray will be launching A Hole in the Ground at Townshippers’ Day, in Knowlton on the Brome Fairgrounds, this Saturday. He’ll be at the Townships Expressions kiosk most of the day and will read from his novel between 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm. He’ll be joined by new author Tricia McDaid who will read from her semi-autobiographical memoir All the Aunties. Ross will do further readings on October 2nd at Hal Newman’s Stanstead House Concert, On October 12th at the Lennoxville Library, and on October 13th at the Knowlton Literary Festival.
A Hole in the Ground is available at the Colby-Curtis Boutique, the Stanstead Familiprix Pharmacy, Studio Georgeville, and at blurb.ca. Visiting children had a great view of the sheep at the Bergerie et fromagerie Nouvelle-France, in Racine, last Sunday. Pr in t e d an d di s t r i b u t e d by P r essReader