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Local author has sixth story published in book series

'They rejected it and then that made me mad so I re-wrote it and tried again and the next year they published it,'
Brenda Leppington

YORKTON – A local author had her sixth story published in the popular book series 'Chick Soup for the Soul'.

Brenda Leppington of Yorkton said the first time she had a story published in the series was in 2016 and recounted her experience in an interview with Yorkton This Week.

"It was actually a friend of mine — who is an author and has several published books — that told me to write a story about one of my cats," said Leppington, "I didn't know why she wanted me to but I wrote a story and I sent it to her and she said, 'now send it to Chicken Soup' and I thought 'I don't want to do that'."

"But anyway — I did — and they rejected it and then that made me mad so I re-wrote it and tried again and the next year they published it," said Leppington, adding, "Since then I've had [other stories] that I've submitted and they haven't acknowledged and haven't been published and then other ones that they do."

Leppington's most recent story, 'Living Life at 90-9' appears in 'Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Advice That Changed My Life' and centres around a neighbour of Leppington's, Kay Bortnack, who'd passed away but taught Leppington to appreciate the little things about life.

"It was about my neighbour — she passed away 20 years ago — but it's now that I'm 20 years older I'm sort of understanding the things that she was saying and realizing how true that was — her little words of wisdom."

Though Leppington had written plenty of published stories for the book series, she said this was her first endeavour into writing about someone that wasn't close to her.

"This is the first time that I'd written a story about somebody else," said Leppington, "my stories up to that point were about my life, my family, my past...I had no idea if any of her family was still around."

"As the way life happens sometimes — a friend of mine recognized who I was writing the story about and happens to be best friends with her grand-daughter [Sharon Loster]."

Leppington said her friend was able to get a copy of the book into Loster's hands through their mutual friend.

"She was so thrilled that a total stranger had that many fond memories of her grandmother," said Leppington, "to me that was almost more exciting than having the story published — was the fact that I was able to connect with her family and got to share some of that."

"Then I was worried and I thought, 'what if she thinks I misrepresented her grandmother', but she said I nailed it," said Leppington, adding, "she said it was so nice to read and know that it was somebody that was special to her had that much of an impact on somebody else's life."

Leppington remarks in the story that Bortnack, a woman in her 90s, would spend time at a park on a swing, stating that the wind felt the same on her face at 90 as it did when she was nine, something that reminded her of youth.

Leppington said she's taken that wisdom in her senior years and opts to go kite-flying, something she enjoyed doing in her own youth.

"I don't care what people's my life and if it makes me feel good and young again — go for it," said Leppinton.

Leppington said that writing about a person, outside of family, who touched her life was something new to her.

"I guess it was a little more meaningful to me from that perspective," said Leppington, "the fact that my other stories primarily impressed my family...this one sort of has made a difference in somebody else's life."

"That's the whole thing of writing and communication — to know that you've been able to connect with somebody," said Leppington.

"Previously — the book before this one — it was called Navigating Elder Care and Dementia," said Leppington, noting that she had two stories published in the book that centred around her mother.

"I couldn't believe how far that went," said Leppington, noting she was asked to appear on a podcast and write an article for the Sask. Alzheimer's Association due to the success of the stories.

"You appreciate how much just getting the information out there can make a difference to other people," said Leppington, "you may not realize it at the time, but just knowing that getting information out there really helps other people."

However, Leppington said she isn't interested in self-publishing anything on her own for the time being.

"I've kind of toyed with that idea as one of my friends said, 'I keep wondering why you don't write a story of your life, but on the other hand I guess you are, one story at a time'", said Leppington, noting it's easier to submit her stories through established book series.

"They put out titles and if you think you've got a story that fits with their title — and it has to fit very closely to their theme — then I submit it."