A former Castlegar reporter returned to town to read from his new book at the public library last Wednesday.
Ron Norman lived in Castlegar for 20 years and was very involved in the community. He was chair of the Castlegar & District Public Library board, a school trustee, editor for Castlegar News and editor for Rossland Summit.
Norman’s book, Slouching Toward Innocence, is a novel that tells the story of Malcolm Bidwell — who’s “just been hired by mistake by newly elected Premier Steven Davis as his ‘go-to guy’ for every political mess that needs cleaning up.”
The book was inspired by Norman’s experience as not only a deputy minister and head of communications for the B.C. government but by his time as a reporter.
“I’ve had people tell me, they like the observation, not just of the description of the legislature and description of how the hallways work, and not just around the legislature, the exterior, but the characters in there,” said Norman. “And so a lot of that comes from being a reporter, where you kind of cultivate those kinds of skills and habits.”
Norman read some of those descriptions from excerpts in the book to a very receptive audience, and then answered questions — many coming from old friends and acquaintances.
Though Slouching Toward Innocence is Norman’s first published novel, it is not the first book he wrote — that book was written and set in the Kootenays.
“I wrote a book set in the Kootenays — a fiction — in the late ’40s. It was kind of a historical novel and it did get kind of not bad reception from publishers, but it was my first one and I didn’t really do it as well as I could have,” Norman said.
That first novel has not been published, but he says he will return to it for a rewrite.
“If I go back now — and I will — I thought it had the bones for being a good story, but I need to kind of fix it a bit,” said Norman.
In the meantime, he’s already come up with an idea for his next book.
“It’s about family relationships, and relationships between siblings and between their parents and some memory things around how people remember things growing up and how people remember different things,” he hints.
Slouching Toward Innocence was released on Oct. 15 and is published by Now or Never Publishing in Vancouver. It’s available at Otter Books in Nelson, at Chapters Indigo and on Amazon.ca. The library also has a copy on order.