Book lovers from in and around Cranbrook gathered last Friday evening to take in a reading by local author Shelby Cain.
Mountain Girl, Cain’s debut novel, was launched earlier this month in Fernie by Oolichan Books, a publishing house based in Fernie.
The reading took place at Lotus Books downtown and was an intimate gathering of Cain’s friends, family, and fans. Cain read the first chapter of the novel and a few short excerpts that epitomized the novel’s themes of empathy, love, forgiveness, and the recognition of oneself.
As Cain spoke of her novel, it was obvious that she was buzzing with excitement and gratitude. She welcomed each guest and wore an ever-growing and infectious smile throughout the evening.
Attendees engaged with Cain and asked questions that explored her creative journey and what is still yet to come for this first-time novelist. Even though she just released a novel, Cain says that she already has some ideas brewing for a second.
The book tells the story of Kris who has been missing for four years. She returns to town with a child and a man whom she calls her husband. From there, Mountain Girl delves into issues of empathy and the psychological repercussions of Stockholm Syndrome. Throughout the novel readers see Kris’s transformation as she readjusts to a life that was taken away from her four years prior.
Cain, who grew up in Cranbrook, wrote what she knew and utilized her knowledge of the outdoors to craft the setting for her book. Readers who are familiar with the area will be able to recognize the influence of Cranbrook and the Kootenay landscape throughout their read.
When asked about the inspiration for the novel, Cain says that growing up she always had a fear that someone was going to kidnap her while she was running through the forested areas around Cranbrook. She decided to take expand that fear, twist it, and run with it.
“I love a good psychological thriller, I always have. When I actually decided to write a book I knew it would be dark and twisty, because that's what I like to read.”
Mountain Girl took Cain seven years of hard work and dedication, and encouragement from those around her to get to the published novel that it is today.
Shortly after moving to Fernie, Cain became inspired by and received undying support from Fernie author Angie Abdou.
“Mountain Girl would not have been the book it is today without [Angie’s] influence. She is an amazing advocate for writers and writing in Canada,” said Cain, in an interview prior to the reading.
In the fall, Cain is planning a book tour around British Columbia to promote Mountain Girl. Those who have yet to read the book can pick it up at Lotus Books in Cranbrook, Polar Peak Books and Treasures in Fernie or order it online to your local Indigo store or through Amazon.