Gillian didn’t actually visit the setting of her novel River of the Stick Wavers until her manuscript was well under way. But she fell in love with the French River on sight and has spent many summers travelling its tributaries with friends, exploring, hiking the nearby La Cloche Mountains, where members of the Group of Seven artists once painted, and just plain relaxing with a good book on its rocky shoreline.
The main character in her novel, Grace Irwin, is based on an obituary that was in the Toronto Globe and Mail. She was captivated by the image of this woman who, well into her 90s, travelled in her motor boat to a Haliburton island in Ontario to spend the summer alone. She wondered, “Who is this woman?” and “Why is she alone?”
Gillian has always enjoyed reading about strong women, and is delighted to share the journey of her own strong women in the characters of, Grace Irwin, Mary Whitefeather, and Maggie Williams with her readers. She is currently in the process of continuing her exploration of A Woman’s Journey – the phases of a woman’s life, in the form of a workshop she is working on with three writer friends.
Born in the village of Wrenbury, England, on the Welsh border, Gillian loves her adopted Canada and plans to set all her novels in this great country.
She is currently working on her second novel, as yet untitled. But you will recognize the character of Maggie Williams from River of the Stick Wavers, as Gillian takes her back in time to when she is 18 years old and is trying to find a place for herself in the art world of 1911. It is a time when the Group of Seven were creating a unique style of painting that embodied the rugged landscape of Northern Ontario.
My French River Gals