From love for the young, for the adventures, comes the first Salmon Arm woman’s book
Pen, paper and a pandemic helped turn a Salmon Arm woman’s dream of writing a book into reality.
As a poetry writer, Pam Saul had long thought about a book, but it was the impact and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted her to take the plunge.
Never having learned to use a computer or type, Saul literally wrote his book with pen on paper.
Saul grew up in a small hillside village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with no electricity or tarmac roads. His family owned the only car, so they made many trips to bring people to a nearby town. She went to school by train.
Her father had an ocean-going boat and she spent a lot of time there when she was little. He was an electrical engineer and specialized in marine engineering, so she often accompanied him to the docks. His boat was his kind of “dream kid,” Saul explained.
From this dream came the name of Saul’s youth fiction adventure story, Dreamkeeper.
Pam taught high school in England before moving to British Columbia with her husband Mike.
They settled in Prince George and then Penticton where she continued her career as an art educator, while teaching many other subjects as teachers are often asked to do.
She and Mike retired to Salmon Arm about 30 years ago.
Pam said she chose a youth fiction story because that was the middle and high school age group she was teaching.
“I got very emotionally attached to my work and to the students, so that was my comfort zone, I guess, writing for that kind of age bracket.”
However, she said Mike pointed out to guests at a recent book signing at Bookingham Palace in Salmon Arm that it was also good reading for parents and grandparents because of its happy ending.
As one online reader commented, “Pam Saul! What a beautiful soul! I am certain that any reader, young or old, will benefit immensely from the wealth of insight, kindness and genuine understanding of this lady.
Pam said she writes by first drawing on her experiences and then using her imagination.
Her daughter, Rebecca, who runs a global company that addresses women’s and girls’ issues, travels extensively. In order for Pam and Mike to see their grandchildren, who are now 18 and 20, they traveled to remote places such as villages in Tibet or rivers in Nepal.
The characters are pretty closely based on their grandchildren, especially their grandson, she said. The illustration of a boy on the book cover is from an actual photo of his son, Arran, when he was younger.
The story centers on an orphan named Kestrel and his life with the rest of the crew on a ferry serving two small villages on the Gecko River.
“Unexpected dangers, well-kept secrets and incredible revelations from the past could easily tear the Dreamkeeper and his crew apart before they reach the end of their amazing journey to the sparkling sea,” Pam writes, describing the plot.
As the Dreamkeeper characters face obstacles, Pam has done the same by publishing her book. She decided to self-publish, which turned out to be easier said than done.
“It was like walking on hot coals last year, in that I’m not technologically astute,” she said with a smile. “I’m just a naive person, I think.”
Her wish to illustrate and lay out the book herself also complicated matters. She notes that the cover illustration is a little fainter than she intended.
In the end, however, with the help of her family, she was completely successful. During her first book signing, which she called a “baptism of fire,” she sold more books than expected.
If you want to buy Dreamkeeper, it’s available at Bookingham Palace in Piccadilly Shopping Centre, online at Friesenpress.com/store/Dreamkeeper and on ‘E’ book at Nookstore, Apple Books, Google play and Kobu store.
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