What inspired you to write your first book?
Frustration with the Harper government in Canada was the catalyst forFrom Thine Own Well, a story of a dystopian Canadian future. They signed a 31 year agreement allowing Chinese corporations to sue Canadian governments should there be rules and regulations that hindered their profits. That motivation grew to include irresponsible mining, polluted watersheds and corporate control of government. In short, disgust with political matters was the inspiration.
Do you have a specific writing style?
No; short and simple, no. I write when inspiration prompts me. If what I do is to be considered a writing style, it is that I write, rewrite, read and rewrite. Then I have it edited and set about rewriting again.
How did you come up with the title?
I believe in food and water security; that we must provide for ourselves and not depend on others for life-sustaining necessities. That said I encourage our communities to safeguard our water systems jealously.
Although I’m not religious by any means, the phrase in Proverbs 5:15 “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” caught my imagination. I reworked the last four words for the title.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Our world teeters on the precipice of disaster. Investigating alternate forms of energy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels is paramount. We can no longer allow the multi-national corporate control of our governments. We require resources but obtaining them must have minimal impact on the environment, regardless of the demands of corporations.
Providence connected me with water.org as a result of writing this novel. These good folks work at providing clean water throughout the world. A mere $25 can provide clean water to someone for a lifetime.
How much of the book is realistic?
I believe the story presented in From Thine Own Well is not only possible, it is plausible. Similar situations are now taking place. For example:
· Opening of the Peel Watershed in Yukon to mining development and fracking
· The recent devastating tailings pond spill at the Mount Polley Mine in BC.
Statements from readers on how realistic the story is:
· A wonderfully realistic dystopian!
· This is what I would call realistic dystopian.
· From Thine Own Well is a pertinent piece of eco-fiction
· An attention-getting look at the future
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As alluded to above, the story is based on reality. I’ve watched corporate control of government decisions place profits before people. I lived in Yukon, a pristine area of the world, for 40 years. Recent agreements with Chinese mining corporations are disconcerting. Opening the watersheds to development by oil and gas companies causes concern, and may prove disastrous.
Changes to the Navigable Waters Act in 2012 removed protection for all waterways in Canada except for the three oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers. This left the majority open to destruction. In Yukon, only the Yukon River is protected.
Some of the characters in the story are based on real people, as I see them. Others possess characteristics of folks I have met.
Are there any deleted scenes or “cut” characters you’d like to share?
There’s a dog, Bob, who is an integral part of From Thine Own Well’s story line. At one time there was a scene where Bob was killed. As it turned out, that scene didn’t work so it was reworked.
There is another scene that I wrote, removed, re-wrote, deleted and finally put back in. I was having difficulty with the feelings it evoked in me, but eventually chose to leave the emotions as part of the tale.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Some books have influenced my writing and beliefs.
· Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”
· Ken Follett’s World War II novels, epic volumes of The Pillars of the Earth series and the Century Trilogy
· Stephen King and Justin Cronin for their horror and apocalyptic passages.
Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior and other books in his series of shamanistic writings and self-help have helped shape my personal life.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would choose Ken Follett as my personal mentor. His ability to create worlds with live characters, locations that appear in the mind’s eye and believable situations is amazing. Couple that with the inclusion of factual information and historical accuracy and he provides everything I could ask for in a writer.
What book are you reading now?
At the time of this writing I just finished reading Writer (Daughter of Time Book 2)
by Erec Stebbins. It’s a tale of survival and cooperation between species and races, an account of hatred, vengeance and annihilation. But woven throughout is a remarkable love story. You can read my review on my website. http://normhamilton.ca/writer/writer-daughter-of-time-book-2
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have been enjoying the work of indie writers exclusively for the past few months. Some standouts, out for me, are Martyn V. Halm (Amsterdam Assassin Series), Carmen Amato (Emilia Cruz Series) and Erec Stebbins (Daughter of Time Series). These authors are proof that indie writers are every bit as good as those promoted by mainstream publishers. I have posted review on their works on my website.
What are your current projects?
I am honing my short story skills, taking instruction from experts and practicing the craft. The result of this is that I am busy writing a number of shorts with varying styles, emphases, and subjects. That said, they all have human relationship in common.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I am fortunate in that I have friends that support me in my endeavours. However, I’ve learnt to not rely on them for more than moral support By that I mean friends will always tell you something is great because, for them, it is. They love your creation.
The greatest help I had to write a novel was the National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo) http://nanowrimo.org/. Joining this in 2012 gave me the impetus to complete a first draft. A year of re-writes and editing later, I published From Thine Own Well.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m going to answer with a resounding no. The reason is that once the project is completed, published and marketed, it’s time to move on to another. The things I learnt creating the last book will, inevitably help in the writing of the next.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always had a desire to share my thoughts and stories through the written word. For most of my life I chose to work outside the home, have a family and raise our children. Now that I’m retired and the kids are grown, I have the opportunity to take that off my bucket list.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As mentioned earlier I am honing my craft. Hence, there really isn’t a “current” piece of work to share. I have an inspirational personal story being considered by editors. A short love story and an essay on personal growth are in the works.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The greatest challenge, for me and many others, is fear. I’ve written a guest blog for this website that explains it further than I can go into here. See http://bit.ly/YkXRCX
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d be repeating myself here. See my comments on Ken Follett in the “If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?” section above.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I haven’t traveled at all concerning my books.
Who designed the covers?
I have had cover designs done by Elliot Hamilton-Boucher as well as creating some myself.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me, the most difficult part was, and is, having confidence in myself and my work. It seems that no matter how many great reviews I get or how many times I’m published, I still get that twinge of insecurity.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The biggest thing I learnt is that I can do it. That is huge. There’s been all kinds of writing, publishing and marketing lessons as well, but realizing that I can actually write a book is, by far, the greatest lesson of all.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The one thing that I can suggest is something you will hear over and over again. If you want to write … write. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, write. When you don’t feel up to it, write. The only way you will ever get anything written is to, you guessed it, write.
Everything else will find its own way. Tell your stories.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The main thing I’d like to say to my readers is Thank you.
Thank you for sharing part of your life with me by reading my work. I hope that the words that were written as I laboured over the keyboard will have some meaning in your lives.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I did a considerable amount of research before attempting to write From Thine Own Well. There were two main reasons for that.
One, the subject matter is one that I wanted to maintain objectivity and present as balanced a picture as possible.
Second, I believed it necessary to have as much factual information as possible so the dystopian world that was created is believable.
Norm Hamilton (1951- ) lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for 40 years and has now retired to Vancouver Island with his wife, Anna, where he is meeting people and experiencing new adventures.
Norm had numerous feature articles published locally while in Whitehorse as well as a column on photography that he wrote for a year. He has one non-fiction book, The Digital Eye, a compilation of articles for people wanting to improve their photography skills and a novel, From Thine Own Well, about a dystopian Canadian society after the fracking.
Disillusioned former Yukon mining exploration worker, Landon McGuire, is torn from his self-imposed exile into a Canada he no longer recognizes. Water is a precious commodity, and the environment is contaminated. Individual rights are non-existent and corporate rule is the law—a law enforced by the corporation’s own brutal militia.
Unregulated fracking and irresponsible mining have destroyed the watersheds. A small group of people band together to combat the ruling coalition, but find themselves embroiled in a dangerous game. Landon meets Nora and is drawn into the fray. What begins as a fact-finding mission turns deadly as they get closer to the truth.
Deceit, threats and violent encounters emphasize the reality that economy trumps environment even when lives are at stake.
“This is a truly thought-provoking story that people need to read. I enjoyed the plot twists and the vivid description, the tension and moments of humour.”
Erin Potter, Shamrock Editing
“A sensitive topic, spiced up and delivered with insight and originality, as tense as it is thought-provoking.”
Matt Kruze, Author of Crime Mysteries
“A plume of black smoke belched from the Peterbilt’s exhaust stacks as Josh brought the powerful diesel through the curves and began climbing the 8% rise in the highway known as Jackson’s Hill. There was a lookout at the top where he would be able to turn off and take a break after seven straight hours of driving from the mine. He felt a surge of joy as he pushed down the throttle to keep the containers with 21,000 kilograms of ore moving upward. He loved being in control of that much power.
Who would’ve believed that little Joshua Parsons from Trinity, Newfoundland could be making this much money and giving so much to Beth and the kids, he thought. He crested the top of the climb and pulled into the viewpoint. He slid out of his seat, down the step and then walked over to the guard rail, overlooking a section of the Tintina Trench a bit south of Stewart Crossing.
In the distance he could barely make out the flags that were flying on the top of the oil and gas rigs that dotted the low-lying plain. He was thinking of those damned environmentalists who had tried to stop development in this area. They’re stunned as me arse, he thought. There’s a lot of people working because of all of this. All kinds of money has been taken outta here. Oil and gas exploration is good for the economy. Mmm-hmm, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
He walked back to the big rig and climbed back into the cockpit. He was anxious to get to the next stretch of road as it was a gradual decline into the lower reaches of the Trench and he would be able to make some good time. He was looking forward to getting home to Carmacks.
The massive starter shook the huge PACCAR MX engine as it cranked up to starting speed. Another belch of black smoke and the 18-wheeler was ready to roll again. He dropped it into gear, released the air brakes and cranked the shiny red behemoth back onto the road. He started humming the tune to “Missing Home Today” and a moment later broke into full song.
The truck lurched precipitously toward the side of the road. He held tight to the steering wheel as he brought it back toward centre.
The sound of tires screaming and air from the brakes hissing echoed through the valley below as Josh wrestled the truck to a stop. He squinted, then his brow furrowed as complete disbelief ran through him. The road ahead was undulating—moving up and down like a gymnast’s ribbon. Unbelievably, the motion was headed toward him.
He was glued to his seat, terrified and locked in by the seatbelt when it hit. The groan of twisting metal and the crash of breaking glass went unheard as the roar of the trees and rocks being thrown about drowned out all other sound. He stared, unblinking, as the truck was raised 10 metres, then dumped on its side to roll into an ever-expanding maw of moving earth.
It was over less than a minute later … “
Thanks for the interview, BC Brown. It’s a pleasure to share my experiences and joy of writing with you and your readers.