An exciting dream realized in print

Lisa Goudy
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Moose Jaw author sees first book published

After three years of hard work, Moose Jaw resident Gladys McElrea has her first book published.

“It’s pretty exciting and scary," she said. "You’re really putting yourself out there, especially when you do a work of fiction because you basically create it and you hope that people will enjoy the story as much as you enjoy telling it."

McElrea, who moved to Moose Jaw with her husband in November, recently had her first book published called DYING TO LIVE: Death May Be a Second Chance.

On Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., she will do book signings at Chapters bookstore in Regina.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and just talking with people about the book and meeting everyone,” said McElrea. “It’s kind of exciting.”

From beginning to end, it took her three years to complete the book.

“(It) sounds like a lot, but my first year I didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t take myself as a writer seriously,” said McElrea. “I just thought, ‘Oh this is kind of a hobby,’ but I don’t know. When I started writing on it, it just felt so right. I just felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, so I just kept working on it.”

She started working on her book just prior to leaving Ontario.

“It was a long process and I was learning as I was doing,” said McElrea. “When you get into a project far enough so it’s looking like it’s going to be completed, then you actually have to find somebody that will publish you and when you are unknown, that’s a bit of a challenge, but I managed it.”

Her novel is about the aftermath of a girls’ night gone horribly wrong. The heroine, Cherri, is married with two young teenage daughters, and she goes out with her best friend to a popular nightclub. On the way home, predators they’d met that night attack the women. Cherri is left dying in an alley and her friend is abducted and later found murdered.

As she lay dying, a stranger she met at the club comes along. However, he isn’t human and to save her, he turns her into an immortal like him. Faced with reconciling her new existence with her former human life while dealing with the loss of her best friend, she wants to keep her double life a secret and find lasting happiness. But a secret like that isn’t easy to keep.

“I read pretty much anything and most immortal-based books in that genre, the main character she’s always some 18 to 25 year old. She has basically no family, not a lot of baggage and so it’s not such a big challenge if something like that were to happen to them,” said McElrea.

“But when you take someone who’s already married and has kids and a mother who very much likes to get into her business because she cares about her, you take somebody that’s got all that kind of baggage and put them in that situation, I think it makes things a little bit more interesting.”

McElrea has a background in media studies from Lambton College in Sarnia, Ont. For 15 years, she performed as a singer/songwriter under the name Northern Gypsie. She also worked as a hair stylist in Ontario. Her first publishing experience was a self-published book of poetry as a gift to her father for his birthday.

“I thought, ‘Well this is fun.’ I always have these stories running through my head. So I thought I’d write those down for a change,” she said.

Currently, she is working on her second book in a different genre based on a song she wrote many years ago.

But with her first book published, she feels she has more confidence.

“I’ve proven that I can do it. It’s a lot of work,” said McElrea. “But I love the creative process, creating something that is just total imagination is really exciting. Also too, you have to learn how to do the research because you need enough realness or reality or fact in the story to suspend belief in order to create whatever you’re creating for people to believe it.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.


Organizations: Lambton College, Chapters

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Ontario, Regina Sarnia

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