Fairy fiction an environmental tale – Writer draws inspiration for novel from Lake Winnipeg
Article written by Danielle DaSilva – News Reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press (Sou’wester)
Local writer Mary Mikawoz’s new novel transports young readers into a world of fairies, magical time travel, and environmental responsibility.
The Waverley Heights resident has penned Northern Lake Adventures: The Encounter, a 202 page fantasy-fiction story for 10 to 14-year-olds.
The inspiration for the self-published novel comes from Mikawoz’s personal experience building the family cottage off of Lake Winnipeg.
“The creative process was physically building our cottage, but also we were thinking about how we were impacting the environment. So that’s one of the messages in this book, the impact of people in the environment,” Mikawoz said.
The story follows a set of triplets as they realize how their actions are affecting the fairies that also inhabit the land. The narrative is told from three perspectives — that of the triplets, the fairies, and the narrator — and uses both first and third-person voice.
Along with fairies, the characters also encounter time portals that transport them to the past where they meet Vikings and other historical figures.
“I think that’s cool because the kids can travel anywhere in time and space and also the lessons they can learn along the way,” she said.
Mikawoz is also a substitute teacher in the Pembina Trails School Division and noticed some of the content she encountered in the classroom was not engaging. That got her thinking about telling a story that would get students interested in history and geography.
“I was teaching Grade 5 in one of the school divisions and we were reading a book in the classroom and I kept reading and I kept thinking I could write better than this and that was really my inspiration,” Mikawoz said. “I thought the material that we were reading in the classroom was inadequate and I thought I could write something that kids were more interested in and at the same time learn something.”
Mikawoz has also learned a bit about the publishing industry along the way. She single-handedly designed the book and the illustrations. The images were drawn by hand and then scanned into the computer where Mikawoz touched up the pictures with Adobe Illustrator.
She also had to search out an appropriate self-publishing company to get the hard copies printed.
She said it was quite the process and required countless hours, but made the decision to move forward.
“If you’re focused on spending a lot of time doing it you can’t do other things, so I just took the risk and did it,” she said.
Mikawoz plans to write a series of Northern Lake Adventure novels and has already started the second instalment.
To pick up a copy of Mikawoz’s book you can go to McNally Robinson Booksellers at 1120 Grant Ave., where it sells for $12 or get a digital copy for $2.99 in the iBooks store.