Debi Goodwin has been writing fiction her entire life, but hasn’t realized a novel until now.
Goodwin’s third book and first published work of fiction, “Rains, at Times Heavy,” is a story about loss and generational pain.
The novel, set for release on Oct. 6 following an Oct. 5 launch party in Toronto, takes readers into the family life of Lindem Kemp, a woman whose grandfather drowned trying to save others during Hurricane Hazel.
“I wanted to show how a single death can permeate through three generations,” Goodwin told The Lake Report.
The inspiration for this novel struck, Goodwin said, while walking with her husband along the Humber River and passing the stone monument in dedication to the five firefighters who died rescuing people during Hurricane Hazel.
“I kept passing that monument and I kept thinking, ‘What happened to those families of the five men?’ ” Goodwin said.
From there, Goodwin began to read all first-hand accounts of the hurricane and began to write the novel.
“We moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2014 and I had the outline and maybe the beginning of a draft by that point,” she said.
Goodwin told The Lake Report that when her husband Peter became ill in 2015, that draft was put aside and she began writing her second non-fiction book, “A Victory Garden for Trying Time,” which captured a year of caring for her husband with cancer.
She picked up the draft again during the pandemic, citing COVID as a time for writing and reflection.
“I was totally stuck at home, which in a way allowed me to tear the whole thing apart, analyze it, put it back together again and really polish it,” Goodwin said.
After completing the novel it was sent to agents and then the long process of finding a publisher began. Goodwin was granted an audiobook deal for North America and Russian translation rights were sold.
Goodwin enjoyed dabbling in fiction writing again after her first two books which were journalistic in nature, she said.
“Novels of course are totally different, I have a couple that I have worked on before,” she said.
“It’s your imagination and getting to know your characters. Taking the time to almost interview them and know everything about them, even if certain things don’t go into the book.”
Goodwin explained that fiction writing has always been a part of her life: even after a career in journalism and script writing at CBC, she has never left creative storytelling.
Novel writing has given her a chance to get back into what she really loves, she said.
“I hope (readers) identify with the characters, one of them in particular has a sad outcome and I hope they get attached to those characters,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin also added that she is currently working on other new projects and for people to keep an eye out.
“Now that I’ve got the bug, I’m going to continue,” she said.
“Rains, at Times Heavy” is available on Friday, Oct. 6, and there will be a launch celebration at Mahtay Cafe in St. Catharines on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.