For years I've been waiting for the right characters and moment that would bring the story of my paternal grandfather's (many times removed) family in the early 19th century to fictional life. One day two years ago, the stars aligned and I began to write.
Two characters sprang
full blown into my imaginative view. Highland Harry Wallace, a former
highland rogue, and nineteen-year-old tavern girl Maggie Fowler were the
perfect couple to become step-parents to a brood of seven children
ranging in ages from seventeen to three. Then Precious the Pig came into
my mind's eye. What better companion for the youngest child who hadn't
spoken since the death of her mother and what an unusual pet to sleep
each night in the cabin with step-parents and children.
Harry into the respected and respectable family man would be no easy
task...as difficult as it would be to have a former tavern girl accepted
by the straight-laced women of their rural New Brunswick community.
But, then, that's the delightful challenge of fictionalizing one's
In actual fact, my grandfather many times removed wasn't
murdered for his mills but died at age 50 of pneumonia, leaving his wife
with nine children to raise. This she did as well as running the
family milling business. The eldest, James, who appears as a
belligerent teenager in "Highland Harry" became a clergyman and
respected botanist. In later years he became the first professor of
natural science at prestigious Queen's University. His daughter was the
first woman to receive a university degree in science in Canada.
hoping to write a series of books on the children and have one
currently in the works about Brodie, Highland Harry's best friend who
joins their family. But his partner in love and life has not yet fully
revealed herself. Perhaps I should work on a short biography of
Precious the Pig?