Just why is this so exciting you ask? Well (and here, picturing me looking a bit sheepish), the series was supposed to come out back in 2019. But, for lots of reasons (among them burnout) that didn’t happen. Then there was those little speed bumps otherwise known as the pandemic and 2020… (insert *eyeroll*)
BUT, we are finally there!
Where did this idea come from?
I always knew that the magical town of Beckwell was bigger than what I could explore in just the Sisters series. The Seniors Center in particular became a place that amused me and many readers.
Then three things in particular happened that created THIS series.
First: at an author reading for my very first published book, Must Love Plague, there was a lovely gentleman who I don’t think had intended to be there for the reading at the library… but since there was an event and a small audience, felt almost obligated to attend (he said he’d give the book that he then also bought, sweet man, to his daughter.) But he also said something about how he’d seen someone and commented to his wife “look at that guy. He’s just so old.” And his wife reminded him they were pretty much the same age, and he’d thought how strange it is to look in the mirror one day and realize you’re not as young as you feel anymore… yet you’re still you.
Second: when visiting my great-uncle in Minnedosa, Manitoba (that’s two provinces east here in Canada), he took us to meet his men’s supper club, the AOTS, a church group who did good things for their community, like hold pancake breakfasts, support activities at the local school. Women were rarely allowed at these dinners, where they’d take turns cooking the dinner and cleaning up, then enjoy the evening together, teasing each other and making comments as only a group of friends who’ve known and cared for each other for a long way can. Most of them were retired, but still very active in caring for their community.
And finally, then I lost my own beloved grandfather, a man who I saw at least once a week every week, pretty much all my life. Grandpa was a man with a twinkle in his eye when he’d tell a story that inevitably had a joke or a twist. He was always there to play, actively be part of our lives, even getting down on the ground to play with my own children, no matter how difficult it was for him to do so. He’d hold the baby dolls, listen to the stories, let my youngest hold his hand to make sure she didn’t fall. There is rarely a day that I don’t miss him.
And from all of this, the Shades were born.
I wanted to ask the question: what does it mean to age, especially when so often, as we get older somehow it’s like we’re no longer the same capable people we always were? When our bodies can betray us… yet our minds and our soul are still fully present, want to still be the same person we’ve always been?
I wanted to recreate those friendships and bonds, that gentle teasing between men who have known each other so long, they’ve been through good times and bad. But they are still there for each other, still determined to make a difference.
And I wanted to honor Grandpa. A man with a twinkle in his eye, a plan, and sometimes a plot. 🙂 Who never let his age stop him from helping in ways he felt necessary, who was sometimes frustrated by the limitations age attempted to place on him… but who loved well and loved hard, and always made a difference.
I hope you enjoy this series and this world as much as I have returning to it.
And I hope I always portray the men who make up my Shades with the dignity and love that inspired them.
Thanks for reading, please do tell me who inspires you to make a difference, and as always, I hope you find the magic in your day today.