9/05/2018

Jacqui Nelson’s North of the Border with guest Alice Valdal


Last month, I launched my North of the Border guest series blog—with myself as my first guest. New ventures can be daunting, especially if you overthink as much as I do. That's why I chose myself as my first guest (aka test subject/guinea pig). I prodded and poked my thoughts until I got them corraled. Until I knew what I wanted—a blog series for anyone (Canadian or not) who has ever found inspiration in something Canadian (be it good, bad, or somewhere in-between). 

And now I have my first real guest! As you'll see below, Alice Valdal makes blogging look easy. She has a wonderful way with words. Alice and I met ten years ago when I moved to Victoria and joined the Vancouver Island Romance Authors

Where does Alice get her inspiration? How is Canada part of her inspiration? Read on and see...

~ * ~ 

Thank you, Jacqui, for inviting me to your blog – and for creating a North of the Border corner.  I’m thrilled to be part of it.

You asked me to share any particularly Canadian influences on my writing.  There are so many it’s hard to know where to start.  So, as Maria Von Trapp said, “let’s start at the very beginning.”  The beginning of my reading/writing life included Anne of Green Gables.  That is practically a cliché among Canadian women writers, I know, but I was a super fan.  I read all of the Anne books – from Green Gables to Rilla of Ingleside.  Then I read the “Emily” books, then I drove my small town librarian nuts demanding more and more of Lucy Maud.  I read every stand-alone novel I could get my hands on, like Jane of Lantern Hill and Kilmeny of the Orchard.  Like I said—total fan girl.

Some time ago, I was able to visit Prince Edward Island and do the “Anne” pilgrimage.  




While there we caught the tail end of hurricane Hugo so the Babbling Brook was a
muddy torrent  


and the path through the haunted wood was more like a mud slide. 


Despite the storm, I managed to walk on the beach, just as Anne did in Anne’s House of Dreams


Re-reading the Anne books now from the point of view of an author, I’m struck by how Montgomery was able to add conflict and tension to very small, domestic situations.  Our age is wired to high concept, high stakes – e.g. the fate of the planet, the survival of the human species, lots of explosions and high-speed chases.  The trials of a little orphan girl with red hair and a plain name don’t even appear on the scale.  And yet . . . Montgomery’s “Anne with an e,” is deeply embedded in our collective conscience.  Why?  Because she made us care.  A century after the book was published, we still care, as witnessed by the many re-imaginings of the story--a musical play, a movie, several televisions series and now video games.

I believe it is because of the characters. LMM created interesting, complex characters that appeal to all ages, across the years.  Any school child can relate to the taunts Anne suffered over her hair, her freckles, her lack of family.  She is the ultimate underdog, and who doesn’t cheer for the underdog?  And who doesn’t relate to a child desperately wanting a place to call home?
Home is one of the most powerful motivators in human experience.  It’s a concept I use in my own stories.  All of the heroines in my Prospect Series are seeking a home.  Lottie, the outcast, clings to Pine Creek Farm and fights any who would take her home from her. Emma, torn between her new life in Prospect and the old one in San Francisco, finally finds her true home with Grey North.  Louisa, setting out to make her own way in the world, adds a lean-to to her shop and furnishes it with a few bits and pieces, fulfilling her desire to have a home of her own.  A threat to “home” makes for powerful conflict.
Alice Valdal's Prospect Book Series
Home can mean a place, a state of mind, a physical region, or an ache in the heart. Where do you call “home?”  Where is your favourite place in Canada?

I’d love to see your answers. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free e-copy of The Man for Her, the first in the Prospect Series. BTW, Prospect is a fictional town, just as Avonlea is fictional.

~ * ~

Alice Valdal is a traditional and indie published author.  Her books include the Prospect series, collections of Christmas short stories, and one long ago contemporary romance.  

Find her at www.alicevaldal.com, or at her amazon page. 

She blogs most weeks at www.alicevaldal.com/blog.  



She is very fond of cats.

21 comments:

  1. Interesting blog! I honestly say a little Sheepishly that I have never read the Anne of Green Gables books... How sad! But I wholly agree with your comments about home and the many things it can mean to different people. I am excited to read some of your books! already following you on Amazon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandy. So exciting to meet a "follower." :-) You know, it's never too late to pick up an "Anne" book. I guarantee you'll laugh, and cry.

      Delete
  2. Such a good interview this is a new author for me. Thank you. I can't do ebooks due to a disease i have ! ptclayton2@aol.com peggy clayton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Peggy, Sorry to hear you have trouble with e-books. Personally, I prefer to read on paper -- old school -- but I'm glad to have to option of e-books, so quick and easy to acquire.

      Delete
  3. Great blog. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your story Alice. You are such a good storyteller.
    Jo-Ann

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the pictures you've shared Alice. I think I've read all your books, but, alas, not all of Lucy Maud Montgomery's. But a couple of weeks ago, I stood at the grave of her infant son, who passed within 24 hours of birth. Heart wrenching and I'm sure the pain never left her.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Bonnie. Isn't it odd to stand at a gravesite of someone you've never met, yet feel you know them? Ross Bay Cemetery is great for stirring up memories.

    ReplyDelete
  6. where family is

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I moved across the country 40 years ago. I still go "home" when I head for the farm where I grew up. But when I leave there to come back here I'm also "going home." Glad you've found your home in family.

      Delete
  7. Interesting prospective on Montgomery's style. Makes me think. Great blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yvonne. When you read as a writer, you learn amazing things.

      Delete
  8. Great blog! Welcome to GLIAS Alice! and Jacqui, you did a great job. I loved Anne of Green Gables and now you've got me hooked on visiting Prince Edward Island. Thank you for the pics! I love your point about creating conflict and tension in the little things. Those small things are often what most connects us to a character. As for your question about home, it's where family is and I'd add, a sense of connection with the land. I'm not a native Kansan, but I've lived here long enough for it to feel like home. Interestingly enough, when I write about historical settings, I tend to become connected to those places and they also seem like home.
    Does that happen you you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew up on a farm in a fairly remote part of the country, so a lot of my own memories and the stories I've heard, find their way into the fictional place of the story. So, yes, I feel a connection, but whether the story came first or the connection came first is hard to say. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  9. Oh how I love Anne - I reference to Anne and Diana in my upcoming memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors. I reflect on a good friend who I cherished as my kindred spirit. I am from Nova Scotia and have been to PEI many times - I haven't been back since the bridge was built. I think it's time for an Anne adventure. Thank you for sharing your inspiration Alice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, a kindred spirit! I longed for a Diana in my life as I grew up but never did find one until I was all grown up. You're so lucky to have had such a friend. We visited Nova Scotia at the same time as our PEI trip. It is beautiful and I really enjoyed refreshing my historical knowledge. Did the graveyard walk in Annapolis Royal. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  10. I've really enjoyed my turn as guest in this little corner of the blogosphere and I'd love to continue the conversation, but the time is up for the draw. Drum roll please . . . and the winner is . . . Jo-Ann. Congratulations Jo-Ann. I'll send you a copy of Her One True Love.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Enjoyed this post, Alice. I've never had the chance to visit Anne of Green Gables home but you brought it to life with your pictures. Home is where the hearts is- for me that means my family. If I'm near them, I'm happy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, family means a lot to me too. Sometimes I wish they weren't so far away. Other times, I think we're better friends with a little distance between us. :-)

      Delete
  12. Thanks for being my guest, Alice! Also sending my thanks to all of our blog visitors for joining us!

    ReplyDelete