Valley residents are combing their closets for vintage outfits to wear to the B.C. launch of local author Elinor Florences debut wartime novel, Birds Eye View.
Sponsored jointly by the Invermere Public Library and the Columbia Valley Arts Council, the event will start at 7 p.m. Friday, November 14th at Pynelogs Cultural Centre.
The author, Elinor Florence, grew up on a former wartime airfield near North Battleford, Saskatchewan, worked for newspapers in all four western provinces, and was a regular contributor to Readers Digest. She moved to the valley with her family in 1996.
Elinor published the Columbia Valley Pioneer from 2004 to 2010. She sold the newspaper to finish a manuscript for a novel, which had been languishing in a shoebox for several years. Elinor spent one long winter rewriting the novel, and it was accepted by the first publisher she submitted it to, Dundurn Press of Toronto.
It was a stretch to write fiction after decades of reporting the news, but I drew heavily on my own background as a farmers daughter, plus stories about the war from my mother and father, who served in the RCAF, Elinor says. And I read everything I could find on the subject of aerial photographic interpretation. So my novel is truly fact-based fiction.
During her research, Elinor also interviewed a number of valley residents. On the acknowledgements page of my novel, I thanked several local people RCAF veterans Leo Richer, Ed Kluczny, Duncan McIntosh and Art Wilks; and RCAF Womens Division veterans Lou Marr and Nancy Lee Tegart. All of them gave me valuable background material which added authenticity to my book.
She also writes a weekly blog called Wartime Wednesdays, telling true stories of Canadians during wartime, at www.elinorflorence.com/blog.
The Pynelogs event will mark the provincial launch of Elinors book, although she is in the midst of a month-long book tour that has taken her to locations such as Toronto, Saskatoon and Calgary.
The author will give a short presentation and sign books. You may bring your own copy or purchase one from the Invermere Public Library during the event (for each copy sold at $24.99, the library will receive $10).
Guests who show up in vintage wartime wear are eligible to win the door prize an autographed copy of the book. Live music will be provided by Bruce Childs and Mike Smith. As well, guests will raise their voices in a wartime singalong. Many people already know the words to such familiar tunes as Dont Sit Under the Apple Tree or Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag but the library will hand out song sheets. There will also be a dance demonstration from couples who know how to shake a leg to hits from the blitz. And to top it off, there will be free refreshments, and a cash bar.
Theres plenty of adventure, romance and Canadian wartime history in this novel about prairie farm girl Rose Jolliffe, who joins the air force and becomes an aerial photographic interpreter in England. Searching for camouflaged military targets, she makes some startling discoveries. And all the while, she stays in touch with the home front through frequent letters from her mother.
This will make a great Christmas gift for anyone who enjoys a thrilling yarn with a Canadian flavour. For information, or to buy your book ahead of time, call the library at 250-342-6416.
For more information, visit Elinors website at www.elinorflorence.com.