When I last visited the Dames, I wrote about the Simple Writers Life as I live it (https://damesofdialogue.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/simple-writers-life-by-vicki-delany/). The time before that was about my one true love – Tomatoes. (https://damesofdialogue.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/3241/)
Time for an update. I am still living the good life on a small patch of land in the country in Prince Edward County, Ontario. My new book, a standalone titled MORE THAN SORROW, is just out from Poisoned Pen Press, and is getting good reviews including a starred review from Library Journal which called it a “splendid Gothic thriller”.
On the tomato front, I have to admit that I’m a failed farmer. I’ve decided to give up on the tomatoes and not try again next year. Mine are tiny and shrivelled lumps of red clinging to a thin browning stalk. In fact they look much like my 2010 attempt that I told you about.
I’m better off confining my farming efforts to the realm of fiction.
MORE THAN SORROW is set on a small scale organic vegetable farm. A place of of huge heirloom tomatoes growing on thick green plants and baskets overflowing with produce.
The novel has a backstory, as all good Modern Gothics do, and this one is about the people who settled Prince Edward County in 1784. They were Loyalists – refugees from the American Revolution. The arrived in boats because there were no roads, to a land of untouched wilderness. First they had to chop down ancient trees with hand axes to clear the ground, and they used those trees to build the initial shanties, in which they spent the winter – in Ontario! Gradually stumps were cleared, crops planted, and the settlement began to grow and eventually prosper.
Good thing they weren’t counting on my gardening skills, is all I can say. We would have all starved.
I seem to do better with flowers. Here’s a pic of me among the sunflowers. (Confession: not my property, but the farm next door).
But I did have an abundance of peonies in June.
Here I am hard at work on my deck.
Vicki’s newest novel is More than Sorrow, from Poisoned Pen Press. The book got a starred review from Library Journal which called it “a splendid Gothic thriller”.
Once, Hannah Manning was an internationally-renowned journalist and war correspondent. Today, she’s a woman suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Unable to read, unable to concentrate, full of pain, lost and confused, haunted by her memories, Hannah goes to her sister’s small-scale vegetable farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario to recover.
As summer settles on the farm, she finds comfort in the soft rolling hills and neat fields as well as friendship in the company of Hila Popalzai, an Afghan woman also traumatized by war.
Unable to read the printed word, Hannah retreats into the attic and boxes of mouldy letters that have accumulated for more than two centuries. As she learns about the original settlers of this land, Loyalist refugees fleeing the United States in 1784, she is increasingly drawn to the space beneath the old house. More than carrots and potatoes, soups and jams, are down in the dark damp root cellar.
Hannah experiences visions of a woman, emerging from the icy cold mist. Is the woman real? Or the product of a severely damaged brain?
Which would be worse?
Then Hila disappears. When Hannah cannot account for her time, not even to herself, old enemies begin to circle.
In this modern Gothic novel of heart-wrenching suspense, past and present merge into a terrifying threat to the only thing Hannah still holds dear – her ten-year-old niece, Lily.