Saturday, 29 March 2014 04:37

Alberta author launches spring tour in Medicine Hat April 3

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Corrine Jeffery was in Swift Current in 2013 and will be in Medicine Hat April 3. Corrine Jeffery was in Swift Current in 2013 and will be in Medicine Hat April 3.

Author Corinne Jeffery has been on a roll with her Understanding Ursula Trilogy. She wants to keep rolling both figuratively and literally as she is going back on a book tour which starts in Medicine Hat April 3.

She had been touring Saskatchewan in the fall. Now the the St. Albert author is looking forward to  hitting Alberta communities to discuss her historical fiction work about the Werner family, “a contentious German-Lutheran family that immigrates to Canada in the early 1900s. The trilogy follows their lives, hardships, and triumphs until 1989.”
“I’m excited, I haven’t been on tour since October,” explains Jeffery who at that time went through Saskatchewan, her home province. “My grandson is my biggest fan and like he told me one time, ‘Grans, your books sell like hotcakes.’
“It’s always fun and very important to meet all the potential readers and those who are enjoying them now. I’ve got a nice tour planned.”
Jeffery toured Alberta a while back and says she knows people in many of the communities including the bookstores. Jeffery also only stays in bed and breakfast establishments as she feels more comfortable in the more personable homes, especially with people she may have already met.
The author loves talking to people and from all of her discussions, Jeffery has been surprised at how many people tell her how much the book resonates with them and how easily they see their own families in the Werners. It may not comes as a surprise then that the fictional book had some basis in realism as part of the trilogy is based on her own direct experiences with her family.
As an avid reader herself, the now 68-year-old decided to write a book because of what she thought was a void in literary works. There are books based in Great Britain, France, the United States, etc., but nothing about Canada.
“I write literature. My readers tell me I’m a classicist. Years ago, I could’ve told you Jane Austen was going to be huge. After all of the work I’ve done, I decided I was going to write literature,” she explains. “Why aren’t there any good books written about Canadians? The appeal of my books is that people can relate to this family. I’ve got people who tell me to write a prequel or sequel to the trilogy because they tell me ‘I’m lost, I want to know more (about the Werners).’ It floors me. Initially, I was writing the book for me, especially the third book which is autobiographical. It’s a human journey for me.”
The books are so popular and strike such a chord with readers that she’s even had requests to do a cookbook based on one of the character’s love of culinary delights in the kitchen.
Jeffery started typing away at expressing her thoughts on her and her family’s life and transition.
According to a release, Arriving: 1909-1919, the first book in the series, was published in 2011. It quickly made its way to No. 10 on the Edmonton Bestsellers list and No. 14 on the Top Fiction Titles of 2011 list (Audrey’s Books). Her second novel, Thriving: 1920–1939, published in 2012, made No. 8 on the Calgary Herald’s Bestsellers list, and No. 7 on the Edmonton Bestsellers Fiction list (Audrey’s Books). The last book in the trilogy, Choosing: 1940–1989, published in 2013, has since placed No. 4, No. 6, and No. 7 on Audrey’s Books’ Edmonton Bestsellers Fiction list.
Jeffery is actually trained as a nurse. She says it would be difficult to make a living as an author so after the age of seven when she told everyone she knew she was going to write books, as an adult she took a three-year registered nursing course and graduated from the Brandon General Hospital School of Nursing with a bachelor of nursing degree from the University of Manitoba.
She started her career in nursing, was married and eventually worked her way up to the point where she was not only managing younger nurses, she was writing training manuals and taught at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan College.
After a while, the writing bug hit her and she started writing ideas on recipe cards. Jeffery would have an idea for a story and start recording onto the cards. She decided to pursue writing this fictional story based on her own family. She toured the small Saskatchewan town of Neudorf to gain a better idea for a setting.
“I was just writing and my daughter would start reading over my shoulder and she asked when was I going to share this story with others,” explains Jeffery. “I finished writing it in 2011. My publisher believes the trilogy was in my heart. I wrote and it just kept coming. I really don’t know where this all came from.”
She followed other authors closely and became an avid reader of California-based author Anne Lamott who has a huge following if the 176,000 friends on her Facebook account are any indication.
If there’s anything Jeffrey says she learned from the multi-talented author it is that you have to focus on your characters, learn to trust the characters and they will in a way be able to write themselves.
Jeffery really worked hard on the books. A managing editor from Thistledown Press told her it would take two to three years to complete one book. Thistledown Press eventually turned her down and she went with Roadie Books Inc., a publisher in Edmonton.
About 6,000 sold books later, she wrote three books, about 1,100 pages, in 23 months with each page being edited seven times.
Now, she will go on tour and will be excited to talk about each and every page with fans who are constantly contacting her about the Werners.
On April 3, Jeffery will be at the Medicine Hat Mall at the Coles bookstore from noon-6 p.m.

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