“Jane inched slowly across the floor being careful to stay below the trail of bullets above.”
That single line of dialogue inspired 108 Mile resident Gord Smith to write and publish his first book Eight Days in July, a crime thriller set in Prince George.
The story is centred on a young legal secretary named Jane who accidentally reads a sensitive file that entwines her fate with Rudy, a man looking for the reason his brother was shot.
Smith said the characters are inspired by people he’s known in the B.C. Interior. However, he said the book is “straight fiction” and isn’t based on any real people or events.
“I just thought of that one line, that premise, and I built from that. I like reading crime novels so I guess that was why I chose to write one,” Smith said. “I really like reading historical novels too but a tremendous amount of research goes into them and I don’t think I’m up for that.”
He decided to set it in Prince George because he wanted to use a big city in B.C.’s Interior, which isn’t often featured in fiction stories.
He started writing the book in 2016 shortly after he retired. He completed a third of the manuscript but then put it aside to participate in acting, curling, hiking and other pastimes.
He picked it up again in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. It took him about three months to finish the book before he began the process of editing and finding a publisher.
“I ended up self-publishing it on Amazon both as an e-Book and a paperback,” Smith said. “I have some copies at Nuthatch books and I have some more ordered for myself.”
Smith said he has received positive feedback on the book although he admits most of it has come from friends and family. He welcomes anyone who reads the book to give him some criticism, either in person or on Amazon.
While this is Smith’s first time publishing a book, it’s far from his first time experimenting with creative writing. As a member of the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society, he wrote the one-act play Make Believe, which premiered in 2019. He has also penned several love poems for his wife Karen over the years.
He said he finds writing relaxing and he enjoys just putting pen to paper and seeing where the story goes.
“I wouldn’t enjoy it, I don’t think, if I was working to a deadline or a set pattern. I enjoy the freedom of just starting with a premise and working from there to see where it takes your mind.”
Smith has already begun writing a sequel to his debut novel. While he hasn’t decided on a title just yet, Smith said he’s considering naming it “Aftermath” and hopes to finish it by the winter.
“I was sort of curious myself about what would happen in these characters’ live in the future so I thought I’d try writing what that would be,” Smith said. “It’s a journey for me as well as the characters.”