Nanaimo-based author Joan Mettauer speaks at the Hazelwood Writers’ Festival on Aug. 9.

Nanaimo-based author Joan Mettauer speaks at the Hazelwood Writers’ Festival on Aug. 9.

Author draws on her own life

NANAIMO – Inspiration for novel comes from time spent in Arctic.

For Joan Mettauer, writing was something she had thought about for a long time, but it wasn’t until she moved Nanaimo several years ago that she decided to try it.

What followed was her first novel, Diamonds in an Arctic Sky, which was released last year.

On Sunday (Aug. 9) Mettauer will be reading from her book at the Hazelwood Writers’ Festival.

The festival, which takes place in Cassidy, features a number of writers and poets from the around region including David Fraser, Kim Goldberg and Naomi Beth Wakan.

Diamonds in an Arctic Sky centres on Andi Nowak, a young woman who decides to move to Inuvik, N.W.T., to work for an aviation company after losing her daughter.

“It is loosely based on my life,” Mettauer said. “There are a lot of extra things put in there such as the diamond mine. I did that because I needed to add a little bit of intrigue and mystery.”

Prior to becoming an author, Mettauer had a lengthy career working in Canada’s aviation industry. In the 1980s, shortly after her son died in an accident, Mettauer divorced and decided to move to Inuvik as a single mother.

“To me it was just another adventure. It was an opportunity to meet more people,” Mettauer said.

After retiring to Vancouver Island in 2007,  Mettauer started writing to deal with the loss of her son. That’s when she decided to create Diamonds in an Arctic Sky.

“The first book was so easy because I had a lot to say,” Mettauer said. “Through Andi and Andi’s eyes I was able to help with my own grief and find a closure.”

Mettauer says she was motivated to write when she saw the success of local author Chevy Stevens after the release of her first book, Still Missing.

“I thought if she can do it, I can give it a try and that also spurred me on,” she said.

The festival takes place at Hazelwood Herb Farm, 13576 Adshead Rd., from 1-4 p.m. Admission $10. For more information, please call 250-245-8007.

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