A Livelong author and a Turtleford musician entertained an enthusiastic audience of friends, family and avid readers of western Canadian authors at Crandleberry's in North Battleford Friday.
Lisa Guenther offered readings from her first novel, Friendly Fire, the second place winner in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild 2013 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Awards.
Best Kept Secret Girlfriend, otherwise known as singer-songwriter Carmen Loncar, performed a number of her own compositions that tied in with the readings presented by Guenther. They have been on tour together launching Guenther's first novel and Loncar's first debut CD.
"I don't know too many writers and musicians who tour together," said Guenther.
She thanked Loncar for "agreeing to take part in this crazy journey," dubbed the Secret Fire Tour.
Guenther explained her work and Loncar's music, described as alternative country-folk, have a number of themes in common, such as inspiration from the boreal landscape, love and nature.
"Carmen is a music therapist," said Guenther, who has been friends with the musician for many years. Art, music and literature have the potential to help some people work through grief or other difficulties they may face, she said.
In her book, her main character turns to music when faced with death in her family, she added.
"Poor Darby. I do a lot of horrible things to her," said the author. "As a musician, she turned to songwriting."
Guenther's book is set in her home territory, starting with a body floating in Brightsand Lake. Also found in the book are scenes set in places such as Dexter Hall and Moosehead Hall as well as fictional versions of a dramatic forest fire. As she wrote her manuscript, Guenther's story evolved to touch on the issue of violence against women.
"Violence against women is an issue we both care deeply about," Guenther said when she and Loncar announced the reading to be held in North Battleford.
They invited Ann McArthur, executive director of the Battlefords Interval House, to hold a draw, with winners receiving a book, a CD and a tour poster.
"Every bit helps," said McArthur.