Saturday 27 August 2022

The Story behind the story with Kathy Roberts of Ontario, Canada.


Let’s welcome Kathy Roberts to the Scribbler. 

 One of the fun parts of having a blog dedicated to authors and stories is sharing new authors to my readers. 

Kathy has kindly agreed to tell us more about her work.


Read on!




I have always loved books, and although I was a corporate restructuring and e-commerce lawyer for 15 years, I was always writing. I wrote a children’s book in high school, my first novel when I was Articling at a law firm (which looking back now seems crazy), and I’ve been writing novels ever since. I just got an agent for my last book, so stay tuned!


I live in Toronto with my husband, two children, and my very quirky, but adorable dog. I love travel, any sporting event, time with friends and family, cinnamon rolls, and a cold beer in a frosted glass.



Working Title: Six Minutes


Synopsis: Three very different people witness the same horrific event on their way to work. Their lives shaken, each struggle, confused by the past and the decisions they have made. Spanning three years, the story unfolds through each character’s viewpoint of the same events.


And then, just as they seem set to move on with their lives, something even more shocking occurs that redirects their paths yet again.


Though this tale underscores how alone we can be in our perceptions, and how little we can control our reactions; it also reminds us of the depths of strength and courage we can find to battle through it all and build bridges between us.




The Story Behind the Story: All of my novels begin with one idea, and Six Minutes started with the simple question, “Do we ever really know the truth behind why something happened?”


This question hit me when I was driving alone in my car and heard on the news that a small boy had died after falling from a balcony. The story was upsetting, and I realized that I would probably never hear an update or learn what had happened. And then I realized that even the people who were in the apartment, or knew the child, may never know exactly what happened.


Six Minutes is really a story about how an event can shape our lives, or more accurately, how our perceptions of an event can shape our lives.







A question for you before you go, Kathy:


What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?


My absolute favorite part of writing is watching the characters take life. I just start with an idea, so even I don’t know the characters when I first start writing, and I just love getting to know them.


I find the isolation of writing challenging. I miss getting out of the house, having colleagues, and being part of a team. Also, sometimes it’s tough to measure productivity, like when I’ve been working for 4 hours and have 2 sentences to show for it. I know it’s because I was doing research, or plotting out other chapters, or editing other sections, but sometimes hours fly by and it just doesn’t feel like I got much done.


Thank you for being our guest this week, Kathy. Wishing you continued success with your writing journey.




And thank you, dear readers and visitors, for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment. We are always happy to hear from YOU!

Saturday 20 August 2022

The Story Behind the Story with Award winning Author Martha Vowles of Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, Canada


Our Guest this week has made a real splash with her debut novel which has gone on to win the prestigious Best Non-Fiction in the NB Book Awards. 

I’ve had the opportunity to read Martha’s fine book and I enjoyed it tremendously. 

The Scribbler is pleased to have Martha as our guest this week. 

Read on, my friends.



Martha: I grew up in a rural community in Quebec, along the Ottawa River. I was surrounded by nature and a  wonderful mélange of Quebecois and Celtic culture. A retired speech-language pathologist, I now live beside the St. John River, with my husband and a household of rescued dogs and cats. I devote much of my time to writing and gardening. I’m currently working on a second memoir, a collection of poetry, and I have a novel on the back burner, next to the stew pot.



Title of my first book: Senior Management: Parenting My Parents (published in April 2021 by Nevermore Press, Lunenburg, NS)



Synopsis: This is the story of how, at the age of fifty-five, I became a parent for the first time. My charges were reckless, accident-prone, pig-headed, out-of-control, over eighty years old, and bigger than me. In my book I chronicle the roughly seven years I spent trying to ensure the safety and well-being of my father and stepmother, as they both slipped into dementia. The story takes the reader on a journey from a chaotic Christmas, to the shenanigans of an addled father who insisted on driving long after he had lost his license, and to a high-priced care facility that lost track of my stepmother.  






The Story Behind the Story: My parents lived in Quebec, over a thousand kilometres from our home in New Brunswick, so I wore a rut in Highway 7 and the Trans-Canada going back and forth to deal with one crisis after another. The phone calls and text messages from my parents were constant and they always resulted in a need for me to spring into action. One of my coping strategies was to write about these events and post them on social media. My friends would respond with concern and support, but more importantly, with laughter. Apparently, my tales of woe came across as humourous. I discovered that I loved to write and share my stories, and I loved to elicit an emotional response, particularly laughter, in the folks reading my posts. In the course of those seven stressful and chaotic years, a number of people told me I should write a book. My husband, Bill, strongly endorsed the idea. Then I met Author Gerard Collins at a writing retreat he hosted not far from our home, and I presented the idea to him. He thought it had merit and, fortunately for me, became my mentor and a dear friend. 





A question for you before you go, Martha:


What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?


As strange as this might seem to some people, my favourite part is editing and revising. That’s the stage when you already have the blueprint for the story. What’s left for the writer to do is to whittle, refine, and polish. I love reading a paragraph and thinking, “I know how to make that better.”


The part I enjoy the least – hmm. I enjoy the whole process, so it’s hard for me to answer this. I think my lowest moment was when I had the actual book in my hand and found two typos in it that we had all missed, despite the many pairs of eyes that had looked at the final version before it was sent to the printer.




Thank you for being our guest this week, Martha. Congratulations on your award. Wishing you continued success.

Thanks to my visitors and readers. Please leave a comment.

Sunday 14 August 2022

The Story Behind the Story with Author Darlene Foster of Alberta, Canada.



The Scribbler is most fortunate to have Darlene Foster back. A charming and incredibly friendly lady.

If you missed her previous visit, please go HERE.


I invited Darlene to share her Story Behind the Story and I’m happy she agreed to be our guest this week.


Read on, my friends.


Darlene Foster grew up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, where her love of reading inspired her to see the world and write stories. She is the author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old girl who loves to travel. All ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, Darlene relaxes at her home in Spain with her husband and rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Working Title: Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral




Synopsis: Amanda is in love! With Paris – the city of love. She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie, Leah, and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

Except, while she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during their visit to the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker, writer and artist, show up every time something bad happens?


Join Amanda as she explores the exciting streets of Paris, the fabulous Palace of Versailles, and the gardens of the painter Claude Monet, all the time looking for clues as to who would want to destroy such a beautiful, historic cathedral.  




The Story Behind the Story: My dream to visit the romantic city of Paris came true when we took our dog on a road trip to visit friends living on the outskirts of the city. Paris, and the surrounding area, was everything I imagined it to be and more. Our friends kindly took the time to show us around this fabulous city as well as Monet’s gardens in Giverny and the amazing Palace of Versailles. I was so excited and knew it would be a perfect setting for Amanda’s next adventure.


While there, I visited the famous book store, Shakespeare and Company, and learned about their Tumbleweed Program where book lovers and writers can actually stay at the book store in return for volunteering there. I knew Amanda would like that.


A year later I sat in front of the television sobbing as I watched Notre Dame Cathedral burn. I knew immediately I had to include this terrible event in the book.


Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral will be released September 13th, 2022. It is available for pre-order. A free digital ARC can be requested for review from NetGalley.





A question for you before you go Darlene:


What is your favourite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?

Doing the research is my favourite part as it usually involves travelling to the location the story will take pace in. Since I enjoy visiting unique locations, historic sites, old churches and cemeteries this is no hardship for me. I also love trying out the local cuisine and learning about the culture which I try to incorporate in the story. Part of my research is people watching, something I can do all day. Later, when I am back home with my notes and pictures, I start writing the story and am able to relive my experiences. I also enjoy researching things on the internet, although I do get lost down some rabbit holes at times.

I didn’t used to like the editing part of writing. When I am finished a project, I like to move on to the next one. But I soon learned how important editing is and how you need to go over each manuscript numerous times until it is as error free as possible and good enough to be published. I once said to my husband as I went through a book for the twentieth time, “It’s a good thing I like these stories as I almost have them memorized by the time they are published.”

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on your blog, Allan.




It’s my pleasure to have you return Darlene and thanks for the SBTS for your latest work. Wishing you continued success with your stories.

Thanks to all you readers and visitors. Please feel free to leave a comment for Darlene and the Scribbler.

Saturday 6 August 2022

The Story Behind the Story with Phyllis Humby of Ontario, Canada.



I had an opportunity to read Phyllis’ debut novel, Old Broad Road   and I enjoyed it tremendously. She’s published her second novel - On The Rock - a sequel, and is our guest today. She’s going to tell us about her books.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit her website (URL below) and read more about this talented author.




Phyllis Humby lives in the municipality of Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada. Although her passion is crafting novels, her short stories, often scheming, twisted, or spooky, appear in anthologies and journals in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, she has won national awards for her stories and appeared as a Fringe reader at Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. She is the author of Hazards of the Trade - Memoir (Crossfield Publishing 2020), and novels Old Broad Road (Crossfield Publishing 2020) and On The Rock, a sequel to Old Broad Road (Crossfield Publishing  2022).


Working Title: Old Broad Road/On The Rock



The rugged East Coast seems like the perfect refuge for Sylvia Kramer, but life isn’t perfect. This two-book series set in Newfoundland and Labrador begins with a woman in her mid-to-late sixties who flees her elite urban lifestyle in Toronto following a shocking revelation. A psychological roller coaster of tragedies, betrayals, even violent assaults leads to unorthodox coping mechanisms, but it will take more than out-of-body experiences and superstitious tattoos to heal the damage. Despite the trail of disasters in her wake, Sylvia keeps doing what she loves: hosting lively parties, supporting her community, caring for her loved ones, and cooking outrageously good meals. The large and memorable cast of Old Broad Road and On the Rock will take you on a journey through heartbreak and laughter, flirtation and affairs, new beginnings and bittersweet endings.


The Story Behind the Story:

Without the setting, Old Broad Road and On The Rock wouldn’t exist. Newfoundland is the most important character in these books.

The youngest of six, I was the only family member not born in Nova Scotia. Ontario was my home but the Maritimes remained close to my heart. Then I married a Newfoundlander. During a visit to my husband’s birthplace I fell in love. To someone from Ontario, it seemed like a different world. Newfoundland and Labrador was like nothing I’d ever experienced, yet at the same time I felt very much at home there. The culture, cuisine, and dialect were wonderful, yet unfamiliar. I suppose it was these contrasts that inspired the niggling of a story. Then, of course, I imposed mayhem and volatility, and the protagonist Sylvia Kramer began to take shape.

I’m often asked if it had always been my intent to create a two-book series, but the thought hadn’t entered my mind as I was writing Old Broad Road. If was only after the early readers of my manuscript encouraged me to write a sequel that I began On The Rock. Admittedly, I didn’t need convincing. We were all reluctant to let go of the characters.

It’s difficult to pin down the genre of these books. They’ve been categorized as Drama, but I believe the genre is Life: the experience of happiness, tragedy, love, and loss.

Readers ask if they have to read Old Broad Road first. I respond that though On The Rock was written as a standalone book, if they plan on reading both books – and why not? – they might as well begin with Old Broad Road to learn how the first three years in Newfoundland influenced and shaped Sylvia’s identity.

Old Broad Road and On The Rock are available for purchase through your local bookstore and online at Amazon. They are also available through your local library!





A question for you before you go, Phyllis:

What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?

The entire writing process excites me. I love to create unique characters with realistic flaws and insecurities. Invariably they take over the story and it’s all I can do to keep up as they brave the difficulties of life. Every aspect of penning a novel is gratifying, even the research needed to create a credible and ‘true’ story. I would say that the hardest part for me is typing The End. That generally involves tears.

Thank you for being our guest this week, Phyllis and for your stories. All the best in your writing journey.

And thank you to our readers and visitors. Feel free to leave a comment.