THE BATTLEFORDS — Although Jim McLane spent his working years as a veterinarian — albeit with a love of English and the written world — it took him until his retirement to publish his first novel. Now, on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the North Battleford Public Library, he'll be reading from segments of his novel, Where Joy is Born, followed by a Q and A session.
"I always enjoyed writing in the creative process [in University]," he told the News-Optimist.
"We studied English novels, like Oliver Twist, or Pride and Prejudice," he said, adding, "... I really enjoyed learning about plot and character development, and stuff like that," McLane said.
Now he says happy to be able to write without the pressures of a full-time job or raising children, finishing his novel of adventure and friendship, action, humour and intrigue just a few years ago.
"It's a delightful story. The children encounter a bully, who is very mean to them, and their pets, which challenges the children in many different ways. And when the children are invited into an invalid's life, they find themselves entering ... a hidden world that they had not thought much about."
Beyond the theme of acceptance, McLane says the book also teaches children about dealing with the death of animals and how to process difficult emotions.
The children in the book, growing up in an unnamed small town in Saskatchewan also learn about nature and the universe during their adventures.
"The novel is big on forming relationships and dealing with those relationships, and dealing with responsibility and forgiveness. It's a big part of that,
McLane has been working on the novel for years, but only after the pandemic brought him into retirement, he said he had time to both write the novel, as well as edit and rework it for publication again, in September 2023.
"It's ready to go and meet the public," he said.
A sequel, After Dawn Comes Laughter, is set to release early in 2024.