Fairy Fiction an Environmental Tale

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)

Book Launch at McNally Robinson's in Winnpeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Book Launch at McNally Robinson’s in Winnpeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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.

Northern Lake Adventures - The Encounter

Northern Lake Adventures – The Encounter

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Baby Merganser

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

Baby Merganser

I had a hard time capturing this photo and some others similar to it because ducks are mobile, constantly moving by swimming, ducking into the water and/or flying.  This is a baby merganser just developing its changing colours and feathers.  This is one of many species of birds that live near Lake Winnipeg which is the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world. The mergansers are fish-eating ducks.

Thank you for liking, commenting and/or sharing.  Mary

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/baby-merganser-mary-mikawoz.html?newartwork=true

Golden Eagle Head

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

Golden Eagle Head

I took this photo of the Golden Eagle near Lake Winnipeg.  I also saw and took photos of Bald Eagles.  Their range of living is 200 km2 (77 sq mi) based on what Wikipedia says.  This is quite a big territory but not if you are a flying eagle that soars across the skies with ease.  They have a partial migration.  If they are further north, they usually migrate when living at a latitude of 60 degrees north and shorter migrations if they are at the 50 degree latitude.  If you take the location of Gimli, Manitoba they are at 50.6667° N, 97.0500° W.  And if you are at Winnipeg, Manitoba the near center of Canada it is 49.8994° N, 97.1392° W.   These beautiful yet hardy birds will only do a partial migration during the cold months of winter.

Thank you for liking, commenting and/or sharing.  Mary Mikawoz

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/golden-eagle-head-mary-mikawoz.html?newartwork=true

“Look Ma, I can fly!”

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

Copyright Protected by Mary MIkawoz

This is an image of a pelican flying near a dock on Lake Winnipeg.  I like the way he or she delicately takes off from the rocks to fly and seems to be saying “Look Ma, I can fly!”  The other pelican is oblivious and looks like he or she is saying, “Boy, I don’t care.  Stop showing off my brother/sister (pick one).  We can all do that!  Who really cares!  I am going to ignore you.”

Their large beak and large throat pouch is used for catching fish and not carrying babies as fairy tales would have us believe.  Too bad!  They range in many areas and fossil evidence show that they date back to 30 million years ago.  They are gregarious birds who hunt cooperatively and breed colonially.  Pelicans are found on inland lakes and costal waters.

According to Wikipedia, “They have suffered from habitat destruction, disturbance and environmental pollution, and three species are of conservation concern. They also have a long history of cultural significance in mythology, and in Christian and heraldic iconography.”

Please press on this link to see a bigger image:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/look-ma-i-can-fly-mary-mikawoz.html?newartwork=true

Thank you for checking out my artistic endeavours.

Whitemouth River Falls

I love the contrast of the water in this photo.  The snow and ice are white, serene and still.  Underneath, you find flowing and open water but it is placid and calm.  It looks blue but it clear water.  Just below, you see the water not only trickle but really come alive as it falls over rocks.  From passive to active, this water flows and changes down the river path.

Due to the many rapids along this river’s path, it is apparently very popular with canoe enthusiasts.  Aside from the Seven Sisters, there are also the towns of River Hills, Elma, Whitemouth, and Hadashville located along the river in Manitoba, Canada.

Copyright Protected by Mary Mikawoz

Copyright Protected by Mary Mikawoz

Please press on this link to see a bigger image:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/whitemouth-river-falls-mary-mikawoz.html?newartwork=true

Thank you for checking out my photographic work.