Former Clearwater resident and author Amber Cowie is set to release a new book this year, hot on the heels of her novel Raven Lane, which just came out last November.
Cowie said she believes her newest work, Loss Lake, will resonate with locals because she’s returning to a small town setting after Raven Lane’s more suburban tone.
“It’s likely to come out in late fall or winter. I’ll make a trip to Clearwater and have an event there and I think it would be fun to have all three books with me so people can see the different kinds of settings and different kinds of references that I use,” she said, noting her first book, Rapid Falls, drew largely on her upbringing in the Gateway to Wells Gray.
Cowie said Loss Lake is about a recently widowed woman whose husband died of a prolonged illness and in the midst of her grief she decides to abandon her life in Vancouver to head far north after buying a house in a town she’s never been to.
The protagonist buys the house, sight unseen, and while unpacking her belonging a police officer arrives to tell her a person has recently drowned in the lake close to her new home.
“She’s surprised, taken aback and upset to hear of a death on her doorstep, but all the more so when she realizes the death occurred on her property,” said Cowie.
“I’d say Loss Lake is about adjusting to small-town living, about being embraced by a community when somebody is at their most raw and saddest moments, but it’s a thriller so there’s a lot of things that happen along the way to the main character as she tries to adjust and heal as well as solve a mystery.”
As for Raven Lane, the author is holding an event at the Kamloops Library on March 26 at 6 p.m, where she’ll have a reading and discussion on the book for those interested.
She said the book was partly inspired by the neighbourhood in Toronto where her sister lives, which Cowie often visits, and is extremely tight-knit.
She took that closely integrated social element and decided to give it an ominous twist.
“In Raven Lane my main character lives in a city that has a small neighbourhood that’s very tight-knit, almost maybe too tight-knit, and has a lot of connections between people, and being honest, my inspiration for that particular neighbourhood is my sister’s neighbourhood in Toronto,” she said.
“She lives in a really cool place where the houses are really close together, where all the neighbours socialize on a regular basis. I go there often and I get a chance to be a part of that community and I think one of the times I went for a visit I sort of took the tight-knit relationships and intimacy between the neighbours in a darker direction and started thinking, what would happen if in a community like this if not everyone had each other’s best interests in mind?”
Given that Raven Lane is set in a city suburb, Cowie said there are fewer references to her home town, but admitted every book she writes has some element of where she grew up.
The main inspirations for the setting were Toronto, as mentioned, and Vancouver where she lived for a time, but she wanted a sense of being both connected as well as disconnected to a community, which is part of how she felt being from a small town and then living in a large city for many years.
“If there were references to Clearwater they would be indirect, but I think people who read see things in my books that I don’t necessarily see,” she said with a laugh.
Cowie’s event in Kamloops is free, but those interested are recommended to register to ensure an open seat.
Registration is available online at www.tnrl.ca (library cardholders only), or contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-372-5145.