SASKATOON — Growing up, Janelle Filteau had to overcome language and reading struggles. She even considered herself illiterate until she was 13 years old. However, that did not prevent her from putting all of her imaginative ideas into writing and later become a published author.
Last Tuesday, Nov. 23, she had her formal book launching at the Prince Albert Public Library for her first published work The Egyptian Heir, the first installment of a trilogy. She live streamed the event, for those who couldn’t attend the book launch. She also read a couple of pages from her book and answered questions about the story, writing and publishing. She also signed copies for readers who bought her books.
“When I started writing it was mainly to get ideas out of my head and onto paper. I had to overcome some language and reading struggles. Until I was 13 and actually started to write, I would've considered myself as illiterate. But, I had so many ideas, I picked up a pen and wrote The Egyptian Heir,” said Filteau during a conversation with SASKTODAY.
“The book began as a 50-page notebook with no storyline and just scribbled ideas, then through many drafts turned into the novel you see now. Since then, The Egyptian Heir grew into a trilogy and I've got about six other stories on the go, and or are completed. Writing improved my troubles with reading, and I became an avid reader and passionate about writing.”
Doubt also creeped up on her, since she’s not a full-time writer, as she thought her stories were not good enough.
“It's taken many years for me to feel comfortable in sharing my writing (17 years), even to family and friends. I was embarrassed that it might not be good enough and that people would hate my writing style or dislike the story. I've learned in recent years that it shouldn't matter because I truly enjoy the stories that I write, and I’m entertained by them. If even one person can enjoy The Egyptian Heir as much as me, I think that is a successful book.”
“I'm finally comfortable and confident enough that I can share my writing with readers. In the last few years, when I decided that I for sure wanted to aim to publish, that I wanted to entertain people, and I hope that my journey from illiteracy to being published will inspire people to find a passion and work on it. No matter how much someone might struggle, it is definitely worth it in the end,” added Filteau, who is currently on maternity leave from her full-time job as plant solutions assistant manager at Dutch Growers-Saskatoon.
However, it wasn’t that easy getting her book published. “It's definitely been a trying year to get it published. I started the process of publishing a month before I found out I was pregnant. It ended up being a lot busier and challenging as I was in the midst of editing and making decisions on the book with a newborn and being sleep deprived.”
“I was fortunate that my little girl is patient, and sleeps fairly well at night because there were many late nights of me getting things complete so I could get The Egyptian Heir published in a timely manner.”
The 30-year-old is relieved and satisfied now that her labour of love is finally printed, although, she kept it a secret from some people. She also thanked her family and friends for their support.
“It really feels fantastic. It’s been a long time since I started writing. When I received my book, it felt so cool to be able to hold the physical book with my hands.”
“I didn't tell too many people when I started the publishing process, so it came as a surprise. Though, the people who I did tell, such as my parents and a couple friends, were quite excited for me. They knew it was something I was passionate about and I'd worked hard on it.”
Having a creative mind and a wide imagination helped her a lot in creating world of The Egyptian Heir.
“I've always been imaginative. My mind is always reeling with ideas and thoughts for books or how to make a story even better. I never thought it would get this far. I wrote to get ideas on paper and that's it. As the stories grew, and more drafts were made, I got more excited, and it soon became a goal to eventually get published.
“Writing started more as a way to ease my mind from all the thoughts. Early on, as I worked on finishing The Egyptian Heir story, I realized that it had become easier for me to read, and my writing became significantly better. I was actually able to finish several series of books that before I would've found daunting, such as The Inheritance series, Harry Potter and The Shadow Children series.”
She said that her interest in ancient history paved the way for the story of The Egyptian Heir to be formed in her head.
“I was always interested in history [ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome], and just one day Cassandra Waters popped into my head and the story sort of blossomed from there.”
Cassandra Waters is the main protagonist in The Egyptian Heir, a magical tale of action and mystery filled with the mysticism of ancient Egypt, that will take readers to an adventurous voyage from the streets of Saskatoon and across the globe.
“I enjoyed action and adventure with aspects of magic involved, so that was the influence to bring the idea of the diamonds, these mystical gems that can be controlled by their rightful heir. The ideas definitely come from somewhere inside my mind, and when they want to expose themselves, they do.”
She plans to finish the trilogy and have her other story ideas published.
“The Egyptian Heir became a trilogy because its story wasn't complete after one book. I plan on getting The Egyptian Heir trilogy published, hopefully, within the next four years and then I'd love to share other stories with the readers.”
Readers and book fans can check theegyptianheir.com to get more information on The Egyptian Heir.