Livelong author Lisa Guenther's first novel has garnered more honours. Friendly Fire, a novel of murder in rural Saskatchewan, has been shortlisted by a Sask Book Awards jury for a New Book Award.
Guenther, whose book was the second-place winner in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild 2013 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Awards, finds herself on a shortlist that celebrates excellence in books from a wide ranges of genres and diverse cultural heritages. The categories include poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children's literature, publishing in education and more.
"On Friday, I travelled to Saskatoon for the shortlist announcement," said Guenther earlier this week. "Author Brenda Baker hosted the event and announced the shortlists. It was a well-organized event, with a little ceremony to it, and I really appreciated the work done by Sask Book Awards staff, and the Saskatoon Public Library for hosting it."
She met a number of other Saskatchewan authors there.
"Several of the shortlisted authors were there, along with their families and friends, and it was nice to start matching faces to names."
Also nominated in Guenther's category are Carol Daniels for Bearskin Diary, Tara Gereaux for Size of a Fist, Beth Gobeil for Breathing Room and Cassidy McFadzean for Hacker Packer.
The winners in 10 categories for writers and three categories for publishers will be revealed at the 23rd awards ceremony April 30.
Guenther is a writer and agricultural journalist based in northwest Saskatchewan. She’s a staff writer with Grainewsand Country Guide and has also contributed to the News-Optimist/Regional Optimist. She is currently the president of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation.
Guenther has intimate knowledge of the setting of her book – it’s her home territory.
“I didn’t change any of the place names,” she has said, although all the characters are fictional.
The novel deals with a serious subject.
“It’s about violence against women. That’s something I’ve been concerned with since I was a teenager.”
In 2015, Guenther undertook a book reading and launch tour with Saskatoon singer-songwriter Carmen Loncar, who is originally from Turtleford, which included a reading and performance in North Battleford. A draw there raised funds for the Battlefords Interval House.
This summer, fans of Guenther's writing will have a chance to tour the locations in the novel along with the author herself. All the tour proceeds will go to local agencies that serve people dealing with domestic violence.
The tours will take place on the afternoons of July 2 and 30. The cost of taking part is a $100 donation to be divided between Lloydminster and North Battleford women's shelters.
"For decades, both these interval homes have been helping families experiencing violence and abuse in northwestern Saskatchewan," says Guether. "They provide not only emergency shelter to women fleeing abusive relationships, but also counselling, help finding legal counsel, help finding affordable housing and more."
Participants in the Friendly Fire tour will drive, convoy-style, between tour stops.
"I’m planning to include Brightsand Lake Regional Park, Moosehead School, the site of the 2002 Turtle Lake Fire and Elmhurst Cemetery on the tour," says Guenther. "At each stop, I’ll talk about my own connection to those places, share any local history, perhaps do a reading and happily answer any questions that readers have."
Afterwards, readers are invited to join the author for supper at Turtle Grove Restaurant on Turtle Lake. Guenther notes the cost of the meal isn't included in the initial registration cost.
“It's basically a literary tour of the Turtle Lake region,” Guenther says.
Visit http://lisaguenther.com/events/ for registration information.