WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
On Sept. 20 the Port Alice Branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library hosted an author reading by Yvonne Maximchuk as part of the celebrations for their new refurbished library.
Maximchuk read from her self-published book, “Murder Rides a Gale Force Wind” (Searose Publishing, 2022) to a good-sized crowd of about 20 people.
Maximchuk, who grew up in the former mining community of Bralorne, near Lillooet, now lives in Echo Bay, an off-grid community on Gilford Island 28 miles east of Port McNeill. She ended up moving there after getting involved with a fisherman who became her “holiday man”: “you know when you’re a single mom and your kids go off with their dad and you get to run away…” She didn’t get to see him often over an eight-year period, but, she says, “we had a great time when we got together.” Finally, after eight years, he asked her if she wanted to make it “a long time as well as a good time.”
Echo Bay was a good fit for them because her husband had been fishing prawns in the area and there was a school there for her two children.
According to Maximchuk, Murder Rides a Gale Force Wind is set in the Broughton Archipelago, in a community very much like Echo Bay with “…a cast of characters that closely or less closely resemble what people are really like there and how they can…deal with what happens on their own.”
She explains how they tend not to call the authorities and end up making mistakes, by dealing with situations using “incomplete information.”
Although the title suggests a murder mystery, she describes it as “more like a mystery.” In fact, she says a key question might be if anyone was murdered at all.
Maximchuk says the book is “total fiction,” so, “don’t look for yourself in there.” She has, however, modelled two characters after real people with their permission.
One of them is her neighbour and close friend, Bill Proctor. She mentioned that her memoire, Drawn to Sea, is, “…about all the experiences I had up and down the coast fishing for eight seasons with him and learning about running a boat, running a chainsaw and… identifying animals and flowers.” She adds, “it’s a little hard to make up somebody more interesting than him.”
Maximchuk has co-authored two books with Proctor. Full Moon Flood Tide (Harbour Pub, 2003) is an account of the people, places and history of the Broughton Archipelago. In Tide Rips and Back Eddies (Harbour Publishing, 2015) they explore the history of the Blackfish Sound area. Maximchuk is also the creator of Colour the British Columbia Coast (Harbour Publishing, 2016), a colouring book featuring drawings of the people and places of the southern Gulf Island, Pacific Rim National Park, the Broughton Archipelago and Haida Gwaii.
Maximchuk is also a painter, painting west coast-themed subject matter in water colour and acrylic. Her artistic repertoire also includes pottery, wearable art and art cards. She runs art retreats and painting workshops at her home in Echo Bay.
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