Kelowna author Mix Hart
A local author has turned a piece of Kelowna's history into her debut novel.
The junior fiction novel, titled “Peter Not-Pizzaface and the Decrepit Caboose”, is set aboard a ghost train on the Kettle Valley Railway. Author Mix Hart has had an affinity for the area for some time.
“I'm just so in love with the Kettle Valley Railway. I've lived here for over a decade and ever since I moved here I've been up there all summer long. I either hike or bike; right now I bike the railway every Sunday,” she says. “I'm just in love with that whole area so it's always fascinated me. I researched stories about it and that just triggered my imagination. There's such a rich history – even a human history.”
Hart drew from ghost stories and even stories of horrific accidents as inspiration for her novel, including a real-life event that occurs in the book where a deer is trapped in an avalanche and is brought down the mountain, still living, buried in the snow.
Hart, who worked on the debut novel for the past five years, describes the main character Peter as genuine and relatable, someone whose perspective informs the story and the characters around him. The Kelowna author was also very conscious of having strong female characters central to the plot. One of those main characters is known to readers as “Hippy” and Hart feels that Hippy's strength becomes even more apparent as she is seen through Peter's eyes.
Illustrations from the novel are drawn by Mix Hart
The self-published novel is the first of a trilogy, each one based on historical events in BC's history. The sequel is called “Peter Not-Pizzaface and the Sugar Shack at Sea” and takes place at Britannia Beach north of Vancouver where a massive flood washed out much of the town. The third book called “Peter Not-Pizzaface and An Optimist's Guide to Sasquatch Tracking” takes place in Haida Gwaii. Hart also illustrates all of the books and is just finishing up the drawings for the second novel, which is expected out later this summer, while the third book is currently in first draft.
Hart's blog has won awards three years running as one of the Top 25 Canadian Mom Bloggers. She also expects to have exciting news regarding a young adult fictional work coming out soon.