Welcome, Eileen Schuh to my blog site! Eileen is an author from the northern boreal forests of Alberta, Canada. We’ve befriended via the internet and I’m very pleased to welcome her first ever blog trip Down Under. *pop in tomorrow too, for more from Eileen about being a Canadian writer.
To start off Eileen’s blog tour, I asked her how important is the setting in her YA novel, THE TRAZ. (As we who use Australian settings find, we get mixed responses from overseas publishers.)
EILEEN: I was quite surprised when an American publisher suggested she’d be interested in THE TRAZ if I change the Canadian setting to one in the United States. I found it odd that she thought American kids would only want to read about American kids.
Some of my fondest childhood literary memories are stories that took place across the seas…Winnie the Pooh and Curious George set in England, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates in The Netherlands. I loved learning the strange language and cultures–lorries, boots, lifts, and double-decker busses, windmills and dikes. Exotic settings intrigued me, like India and Yorkshire in The Secret Garden.
Even Canada’s very own Anne of Green Gables series took place way across Canada, on tiny Prince Edward Island…where people had red hair to match the red earth and the ocean was never far away. The Little House on the Prairie series was fascinating, not only because it was set far away in place, but also in time.
I don’t remember reading any Australian stories, but I vividly remember learning Waltzing Matilda and being fascinated by jumbucks and tucker bags, kangaroos and boomerangs.
Perhaps that American publisher didn’t consider Canada exotic. Perhaps she found no wonder in Alberta’s vast prairies and rugged Rockies or in our long summer days and dark cold nights. Perhaps our warm and wild Chinooks don’t enchant her.
I loved translating my province into words for THE TRAZ—it ignited in me the wonder I felt as a child as the seasons changed. It reminded me of how intriguing my own back yard once was. I saw things with young eyes…
“Katrina looked past the parking lot to the brilliant autumn colours. This used to be her favourite time of the year, with the fire of the foliage under the mellow glow of a sun riding low on the horizon, the honking of geese flying white against the azure sky. Hunting with Grandpa…”
My story is about Katrina, a young girl who falls in with a biker gang called THE TRAZ. She has many adventures—some very exciting and others, traumatic. Katrina is extremely intelligent, beautiful, wealthy, and is into computers. Life deals her some tough blows and she doesn’t handle them well. After a few bad decisions, she finds herself in too deep—with no way out.
The prologue is set in the Canadian Arctic when Katrina is four years old. “Had there been any sunlight at all, she’d have been able to see a thousand miles of flat white tundra spreading to the horizon. In December, though, there was no sun.”
Katrina’s dad is a police officer and transfers to Calgary in Southern Alberta where she grows up. Calgary is on the flat prairies, east of the Rocky Mountains. “There was little to see besides the brown stubble of a harvested field and the blue sky that met it along the horizon…”
She ends up living in THE TRAZ biker compound—hidden in the foothills. “She gazed around. Gone were the miles of endless prairie. A ridge, glinting with the gold of September poplars, circled the gully enfolding them.”
THE TRAZ Kindle ebook will be FREE on Amazon for THREE days only–April 14,15,16 . I’m not sure which Kindle store Australians purchase from…if it is Amazon.com than the sale will likely be running pretty much on Canadian time.
Readers will know if the sale is in effect because the purchase price will show up as $0.00 on the Amazon Kindle Store site. What a great deal for our readers! If people don’t have a Kindle eReader they can download for free “KINDLE for PCs” from the Amazon site and read the story on their computers. It’s easy to download this software which is quite nice for reading books. Amazon eBook
And remember, if people leave a comment on your site, I’ll enter them in a draw for a Kindle.
Also available from other fine online bookstores. If THE TRAZ is not on your local bookstore or library shelves, ask for it to be ordered in for you.