Writers On Reading: Canadian Author Francis Guenette Talks All Things Books

Latest stop on the blog tour – the dates are winding down now folks, so get those comments in to get more chances to win an autographed, softcover copy of The Light Never Lies delivered by mail to your doorstep or local post office. Pamela Cook over on the Flying Pony Blog has put together some great interview questions – find out what I think of all things reading related. Writer as reader – makes for an interesting interview.

Flying Pony

Today’s Writers On Reading Blog Interview is with Canadian author Francis Guernette. Francis has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher.

The Light Never Lies is her second novel.

Francis Guenette - author photo

Francis has the most amazing view from her deck which obviously inspires her writing.

Guenette - Lake view from our deck

The Light Never Lies - ebook cover - Francis L. Guenette

As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma…

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Tess of Portelet Manor–Location, Location, Location.

Cover of Tess


I’m an long-time follower of  Back on the Rock, Roy McCarthy’s blog. Seeing his posts pop up in the WordPress reader, his icon on my like bar or accompanying a thoughtful comment has become part of my blog world. I read Roy’s book, Tess of Portelet Manor, last year and when I had the idea for this location series, I knew that Roy would be a great guest. His novel simply drips with Jersey location.




Take it away, Roy.

Portelet Bay2

Jersey, lying in the bay of St Malo within sight of France but belonging to the English crown, is a fortunate isle. Sloping gently north to south it is regaled by our unofficial national anthem as ‘Beautiful Jersey, gem of the sea.’

Today it is a busy, cosmopolitan place with the problems that come with being a relatively prosperous community on a finite land mass. Finance is the mainstay of the economy, but this wasn’t always the case.

Come with me to the west of the Island and imagine you have stepped back 80 years in time. It’s not so very hard to do. The golden beaches where Tess used to walk with her best friend Lucille, collecting shells for her mirror frames and the places she courted Robin are still there.

You may still climb the steps cut into the cliff and find yourself on lonely Portelet Common, a myriad of colour during summer, wild and swept by wind and wave in the winter. Find yourself there on a misty day and you may see Tess’s cottage. I saw it. Or maybe it was just my imagination.

Railway Walk

Walk the few gentle miles along the Railway Walk from Corbière to St Aubin, the breeze playing in the pines. Close your eyes and visualise the steam trains that were once part of everyday life.

German troops arrive in 1940


Watch now in horror with Tess as her beloved island is captured and overrun by soldiers of the Third Reich. They come in their thousands to build the Atlantic Wall, tearing up coastline and countryside, leaving their ugly handiwork as a monument to naked greed and ambition. For five long years the islanders can only accept their fate and give thanks that it wasn’t worse.




Rejoice now with Tess and her friends as the Allies liberate the Island and the people are left to rebuild their little corner of the world. But it is impossible to destroy all that concrete, those ever-present reminders of a cruel occupation.

How easy it is to write a story of Tess and her times. And how emotional to be able to give a reading from that story, deep in the German Command Bunker at Noirmont Point, during the 2013 Liberation celebrations.

Thanks, Roy.

Roy has written a number of interesting posts about the island of Jersey and his endearing character, Tess. Here are links to just a few.

An interview with Tess

An early autumn stroll around the island of Jersey

The final liberation of the Channel Islands.

My Book Review: Tess of Portelet Manor

Tess, the main character of McCarthy’s novel, is a woman with an abundance of grace and courage in the face of adversity.

The author takes the reader on a journey through a period of history that would test the most stalwart. A young woman named Tess comes to realize her true measure as she faces up to the challenges of being on her own, on the island of Jersey, during the German occupied years of World War II.

The book has a distinctive feel. Almost as if McCarthy had access to Tess’ journals and then sat down to retell her story. This becomes evident in the multitude of details given. The reader is easily able to imagine Tess’ life and empathize with all the ups and downs, both small and large. McCarthy writes Tess as a woman most people would love to know – selfless in a way that is admirable, but not unaffected by her own flaws.

The Jersey landscape is lovingly described. Anyone who reads this book will want to travel there someday. For those readers too young to know anything of the deprivations of the War years, the book will leave them wondering – what on earth would I have done in such a situation? And for those needing inspiration to get through tough times, Tess’ grace and courage in the face of adversity provides an admirable model.


The latest stop on the blog tour – an author interview on What has been Read Cannot be Unread. So true. Find out if I’ve ever seen a UFO and other interesting tidbits of information. Get your comments on the post for another chance to win an autographed copy of The Light Never Lies.

What Has Been Read Cannot Be Unread

Francis Guenette - author photo No, this gorgeous person is not me. I am not nearly that good looking or that young. Sigh.

This is a photo of  Francis Guenette, author of some great books, one of which I reviewed here,  The Light Never Lies.

She was kind enough to agree to an interview with me.   Brave soul,  since I haven’t a clue as to what I am doing.  I am not a professional interviewer.  I am just nosy.   So I ask questions to which I really want to know the answers.

Marti:     I admit it. I have the kind of admiration for writers that teen girls have for rock bands. I think it is because I cannot write fiction. I have no stories in me. You obviously have glorious stories in you. Have you always had these stories inside you screaming to get out?

Francis Guenette:  I’ve always had a very…

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Easter Weekend and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classic Chinese Garden


We managed a mini-vacation day in the city of Vancouver during the fast-paced Easter weekend and found ourselves wandering through the first classical Chinese garden constructed outside of China. It is modeled after private classical gardens in the city of Suzhou during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Although not large, the garden presents a constantly changing series of vistas. You have only to turn your head or the angle of your body and everything is viewed anew.


Located in the midst of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the garden is an experience of balance. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is an example of a secluded, urban garden-home where landscape masterpieces embody the best of Chinese arts, gardening, philosophy and architecture.

Four main elements dominate – buildings represent the human element, rocks symbolize rugged landscapes and sculptural elements, water creates a tranquil atmosphere in which to reflect all the other elements and plants represent nature.


I was drawn over and over to the magnolias dropping their heavy pink blossoms into the cloudy, jade-green water, reflected back to me in rippling movement, the wooden window enclosures – everyone different in design, leaking in air, breeze, light and the scenery from beyond, the intricate stonework in the courtyard where pebbles and rock are turned into art and the Tai Hu Rocks – fantastically shaped stone that changes with the light and angle of viewing.



Thanks for letting me share some photos of this beautiful garden tucked into the city. I wish all of you a wonderful Easter long weekend and ask your indulgence to share a link to the latest guest post on my blog tour. I was honoured to be able to appear on Gemma Hawdon’s blog – Top of the Slush Pile to do a guest post on how self-publishing feels the second time around.




The Value of Courage – “42” A Movie about Jackie Robinson

I’ve brought my 200th post back in honour of April 15th – Jackie Robinson Day. A big shout out to all who struggle for acceptance against ignorance and bigotry. To paraphrase Margaret Mead – never doubt that one person can make a difference. It’s the only thing that ever has.


Jackie Robinson - Pasedena CA - throughtheluminarylens

The value of courage, my 200th post, the last day of 2013, baseball and a little taste from my upcoming novel – I have an eclectic mix of thoughts to share today.

When my kids were little, we had a set of books entitled, The Value Tales. These books featured people whose achievements fit the criteria of many important values – Believing in Yourself: Louis Pasteur, Helping: Harriet Tubman, Determination: Helen Keller, Kindness: Elizabeth Fry, Giving: Beethoven and many others. The book that was requested the most in our home was, The Value of Courage – The Story of Jackie Robinson.

Over the holidays, my husband Bruce and I had the opportunity to watch the movie “42” – The Jackie Robinson story. For the baseball lover, “42” is right up there with, The Natural and Field of Dreams.

That children’s book from long ago came to life…

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An interview and opportunity to win a signed copy from Francis Guenette

Hope you have a chance to check out this interview I did over on Readful Things Blog. Find out what I’d ask J.K. Rowlings, if I ever had the chance. Many thanks to Ionia for the great questions and a well-done presentation.

readful things blog

The Light Never Lies - ebook cover - Francis L. Guenette Francis Guenette - author photo


As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the…

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