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Pioneering Novels

by Dorris Heffron, over 3 years ago

Somehow, around the age of 7, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I got an old calendar journal from my Dad and began to record the life around me. It was clear from the start my focus was not on myself or the world of fantasy, but what actually happened in my community, Canada and the world. I was hooked on realistic fiction. After reading Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne and Avonlea novels, I looked for other realistic novels about young people. There were none to be found back then in the fifties. So, I decided I would try to fill that need and write realistic novels about teenagers.

Winding up in Oxford, England as a graduate student, after finishing my thesis, I wrote my first novel, about a 16 year old who hitch hikes from Kingston to Toronto in the late sixties exploring the Hippy scene. Amazingly it was taken on by the first and biggest publisher I submitted to, Macmillan, London. It was regarded, and derided as a pioneer in the genre now known as young adult novels. The deriders were over ridden as the novel was eventually translated and put on high school literature courses in Europe, North America and Japan.

I had two more pioneering young adult novels published before returning to Canada in 1980 then two more adult novels, A Shark in the House and City Wolves. My novel in progress is Bear With Me. All my novels portray Canadian life, landscapes and historical events. Bear With Me is set in Fort McMurray. For I learned early on that it's not just me, much of the world is interested in Canadian life and sees in it the profoundly universal.

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