My love of books and reading started as a young child in a very small community library. Long before I could read I remember going to the library with my sisters and my Mother. Thank goodness Mother enjoyed reading to us because she was pestered every evening to do so until I could read on my own.
I think my interest in ordinary and perhaps extraordinary people began in that rural setting. A one-room schoolhouse with all grades gave me the opportunity to “listen in” and watch. In a rural church, going to a rural high school and joining local clubs I was probably more given to watching and listening to others than I was listening to the “teacher or leader”. I do apologize for that. I had become a “people watcher”.
I spent most of my working life first as a nurse, then as an educator and an academic. I love nursing and will always call myself a “nurse”. As a nurse you see others in their finest and their worst moments. When you can help in any small way, often just by listening, you see and feel their pain, sorrow, joy and humanity.
I enjoy learning and found myself going back to school as an adult learner first for an undergraduate degree in nursing and then to do graduate work. My doctorate was earned by hard work and regular evening train travel to the University of Toronto.
That experience left me with a great respect for the value of education as well as the use of technology to help narrow “the distance between us.”
At a time when our contemporaries were retiring, Patrick and I started a small business, which we continue to run and grow. I suppose it was our way of not “retiring”.
I write in spare moments, essentially telling stories. They stem from that “people watching” thing again. Although the characters, setting and story are pure fiction, the lives and emotions and adventures of the people in my book remind us of real and shared experiences. We love, we raise families, we work, we experience tragedy and loss and sometimes we are frightened by the world around us. This book is about all of those things.
I hope you enjoy meeting my book family and their life experiences. The Gatehouse makes no claim to be a literary masterpiece. But if it makes you sad, makes you smile, or cry, or better appreciate the rich saga of human experience, that will be good enough for me.
Beth O’Kelly, October 2014.