All residents of the Bay of Quinte area on the north shore of Lake Ontario, Canada, we range in age from mid-50s through mid-80s. Veterinary technician Donna McDonald; author and retired school administrator Wendy Russell-Sheppard; restorer of historic buildings and artist Kim Fedor, and retired teacher Linda Bond, all live in Belleville. Nell Davidson, a retired office manager and business owner, comes from Quinte West; Pat Whittaker, a retired journalist, is a Prince Edward County resident.
Top: L-R Wendy Russell-Sheppard, Donna McDonald, Pat Whittaker. Bottom: Kim Fedor, Linda Bond, Nell Davidson
In the fall of 2017 we were a disparate bunch who shared a desire to tell our stories and to tell them well. By the time our month-long weekly workshops with facilitator Linda Bond ended, we had become a co-operative group - writers helping writers -and friends as well. Six of the group wanted to continue, agreeing to meet monthly at the Belleville library.
At the end of 2018, as we celebrated the holiday season with a lunch at a small Wellington restaurant and read our seasonal stories aloud, Linda took us by surprise. "We should put out a book together." Linda has remarkable powers of persuasion. She assured us our stories were worthy of publication, with a bit of fine tuning. Six stories by six writers . . . . The idea started to take hold.
In the spring the hard work began. Decision by committee is not a fast process, but it was important to reach consensus on a myriad of details. We would be self-published. But we needed a copy editor, a contents editor, a graphic designer, and a printing company. All the while we supported one another through family illness, the deaths of a brother, a father and a husband.
Our stories will transport you to a 1950s beach in South Africa, to the middle of a bustling Winnipeg Free Press newsroom, to the bench of a girls' soccer team in Calgary. You will witness a happy gathering in hurricane-shattered Haiti. There's a coming-of-age tale, a mid-life revelation, and an examination of the hard choices that come with aging. And much more.