Tuesday, July 20, 2021

our new home - hah!

Roger and I, posed in front of the children's playhouse at my niece's home in Englehart, ON. July 14, 2021


A Girl Should Be  is the title of my new book, to be published later in 2021 by Baico Publishing of Ottawa. It's a stand-alone sequel to my novel, 
Votes, Love and War, published by Baico in 2019.  Votes is about the Manitoba Women's Suffrage movement and the First World War. It centred on a fictional character, a farm girl named Charlotte, but brought in historical figures such as the Beynon sisters, Nellie McClung, and other pioneers of the 20th century women's suffrage movement.

Charlotte was of a generation that came of age just before or during the First World War.  I am particularly interested in the history of the 1920s and 1930s, and decided to write another novel, focusing on Charlotte's younger sister, Annie.  Annie is as much of a "flapper" as she can be in rural and small town Manitoba in the 1920s.  Then, with the onset of the Great Depression, starting with the stock market crash in 1929, Annie's life changes.

Although Annie's chief interest is in fashion, she qualifies as a teacher and finds a job at a remote school in Northwestern Ontario, where she makes a success of a difficult job - but not so much in her personal life.

The title A Girl Should Be, is from a quote attributed to Coco Chanel, who is reported to have said, 
"A girl should be anything she wants to be."  The novel is about women's changing roles and the various social expectations of women at that time  (many of them unfair.)

In writing about Ontario backwoods schools of the 1930s I was inspired by the experiences of my mother and three of her sisters who were rural teachers during the Depression years and afterwards.  I hasten to add that none of these ladies was the real Annie, who is a fictional creation.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

review of Closer to Fine

Here is my review of Jodi S. Rosenfeld's novel, Closer to Fine :

Friday, April 30, 2021

my review of "Sylvia Pankhurst" by Rachel Holmes

Here is my "Compulsive Reader" review of "Sylvia Pankhurst:Natural Born Rebel", by Rachel Holmes 


Sylvia Pankhurst is mentioned in my novel, "Votes, Love and War" (Ottawa, Baico, 2019, info@baico.ca)

ISBN 978-1-77216-191-5

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Cover of "A Girl Should Be"

 This is the cover of my novel, A Girl Should Be, which will be published later in 2021.

The painting, "Sunrise" is by my husband, Roger Latta.

Friday, March 12, 2021

A Girl Should Be

 "Write what you like to read" is a time-honoured principle for novelists. I've always liked historical novels, with an elementary school favourite being "Rebels Ride at Night", about the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada.  More recently, I've enjoyed historical fiction by Paula Maclean, Paulette Jiles, Isabelle Allende, Sofia Segovia - to name just a few authors. I'm particularly interested in the history of the Left, in Canada and elsewhere.

Having studied history, (Ruth "Olson", M.A., Queen's University, 1973) I've decided to blend his my interest in the past and in fiction into novels of my own. I've written seven so far. Six  are in print, and available through libraries or from me, and a seventh, called "A Girl Should Be" is now at Baico Publishing (info@baico.ca) and may be in print in the fall of 2021. All of these novels are published by Baico Publishing of Ottawa, Canada

Before telling you about "A Girl Should Be", I'll say a few words about my first six historicals.

"The Secret of White Birch Road", 2005, is a girls' mystery set in the 1950s.   

"The Songcatcher and Me", 2013, involves folk song collecting in Ontario in the 1950s and has a co-protagonist loosely based on the Canadian folk song collector, Edith Fowke.

The two Grace books are about Grace Woodsworth, (1905-1991), later Grace MacInnis,  a democratic socialist, Canadian Parliamentarian and women's advocate. "Grace and the Secret Vault", 2017, is a young adult novel about Grace and her family in 1919 at the time of the Winnipeg General Strike.  "Grace in Love", 2018, is about Grace's  life and emotions in Paris and then in Ottawa, between 1928 and 1933.

"Votes, Love and War", 2019, takes readers back to Manitoba women's suffrage movement in the teens of the 20th century, and to the First World War, from the perspective of  Charlotte, a young Winnipeg housemaid who became a teacher. Real people mix with fictional characters in this novel, as in the Grace novels. In "Votes, Love and War" we meet two sisters, Lillian Beynon Thomas and Francis Marion Beynon, who in real life played crucial roles in Western Canada's women's suffrage movement.

In "A Girl Should Be", the novel I recently mailed to Ray Coderre of Baico Publishing, I've taken a minor character from "Votes, Love and War" (Charlotte's little sister, Annie) and set the novel in the late 1920s and early 1930s. 

The title, "A Girl Should Be", is from a quote from Coco Chanel: "A girl should be who and what she wants." It fits my novel, since Annie, my central character, is affected by the fierce debate and ever-changing attitudes of the day about what a woman's role should be.

 Also, there's a saying, "I'd rather be a human be-ing than a human doing." What Annie wants is to find herself and be that self - a challenge in the late 1920s and early years of the Great Depression.

"A Girl Should Be", won't be out until later in 2021. If you would like a copy of any of my other books, email Ray at Baico Publishing (info@baico.ca) and ask him for my telephone number and/or email address, and we'll talk arrangements.