I wrote Lake of Dreams to give away. I imagined it as a fun little book – could see Colleen dancing on the dock in her cowboy boots – and was surprised at the personal, poignant themes that emerged as I wrote.
As a child, I went to cottages belonging to family and friends and always envied the kids whose families had cottages of their own. Eventually, I was lucky enough to marry into one of those families.
My husband’s family cottage was on a lake in Muskoka, in rugged, rocky northern Ontario. From the stories I heard, he and his four brothers and sisters ran wild there for two months every summer throughout their childhood and teens. Later, our own children got to experience the fishing and boating too for a few weeks every summer.
On the long weekend in the middle of the summer, the whole active, extended family would meet there for the annual regatta. (Watch for a regatta book to show up in the Fortune Bay series.) The cottage would groan but accepted us all in the grouping of small sleeping cabins around the central cabin. Our favourite place to congregate was on the screened-in porch, called a Muskoka room, a must at dusk to hold back the mosquitoes.
My father-in-law, the patriarch of the family, was a lawyer and eventually a judge, but up at the lake he was more like Alex’s grandfather than his father. There was a dock with a boathouse and a couple of boats, including canoes hung in slings against the far wall and a rowboat that we used daily. Early morning paddles on lake to the sound of loons were particularly magical.
The cabin on Fortune Bay is an amalgam of one of the cottages in the compound (the one with the washroom outside at the end of the porch), a cute white cottage down the lake that always seemed empty, and a cabin on the lake here on Vancouver Island. Like everything else I write, there is a touchstone of truth, although it is usually unrecognizable by the time it hits the page.
Eventually my in-laws could no longer manage the hill, and when the grandfather died, we were not as lucky as Alex and were not able to keep the cottage. A few years later I wrote Lake of Dreams, channeling fond memories of summers on that Ontario lake.
A weird thing happened after I published Lake of Dreams. I was checking the listing, I think it was iTunes, and although the cover said LOD was set in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, right beside the book on the online page was a listing for the Logging Chain Lodge. Looking closer, I saw that the lodge was set in the tiny village not 5 miles away from our cottage in Ontario. Coincidence? I think not.
Is there a place that is near and dear to your heart, where you can get away from your regular life and kick back? Or a place you remember where you’d love to return? I’d love to hear about it. Also any questions or comments on the book.