Saanich author Valerie Green says she has taken somewhat of a gamble in her senior years, setting aside her craft as a non-fiction writer to pursue her dream of completing a work of fiction inspired during her childhood.
Her debut historical fiction novel recently released by Hancock House Publishers – called Providence – is the first in a four-part series chronicling B.C. history from early European settlement to today’s time of truth and reconciliation.
Green has published more than 20 non-fiction crime books set in the Pacific Northwest, but says writing a definitive historical novel set in Canada’s westernmost province has been a lifelong dream.
“It’s strange – it sort of goes back many years,” she told the Saanich News in her living room. “It was always my desire to write fiction.”
“But this particular story that I wanted to tell, in many ways, might have been inspired by something that happened when I was about nine years old. An uncle of mine who had a wonderful collection of rare books had given me a little book and it was inscribed to a woman called Jane Hopkins, who I was told was my great-great grandmother.”
But Green says it is not her great-great grandmother’s story, despite taking the name for the book’s protagonist.
According to Green, Providence tells the sweeping story of two parallel lives – a feisty orphaned girl, Jane Hopkins, in England and the son, Gideon McBride, of a poor fisherman in Scotland – who both journey to Vancouver Island in search of a better life.
Their lives eventually converge in Victoria, where the two fall in love, marry and build a family dynasty with a business.
The four-book McBride Chronicles series is a family saga following six generations from the 1840s to present day. Green says the series also attempts to illustrate both sides of colonialism in B.C.
“I wanted it to be something like the definitive story, the background of British Columbia, told through the voices of a fictional family,” she said. “But the background is always the real history – the things that were going on at the time.”
While the fourth and final book remains a work in progress, Green says the series’ second book, Destiny, is expected to be released sometime this summer.
Copies of Providence can be purchased from all quality bookstores, online and directly from the publisher at hancockhouse.com.
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