#Interview with Meredith Egan, author of Tide’s End

Welcome to the book tour for Tide’s End by Meredith Egan! Today you’re going to get a sneak peek inside the book, plus learn a bit more about the author. Be sure to follow the tour for even more!

Taylor Smythe dreams of having a loving family. But first, he has to rescue his little sister Jenny from the gritty underbelly of the child cyberporn industry. Taylor journeys from homelessness in the inner city to a community in the dripping forests of the Pacific Northwest to confront the relentless pounding of his fiercest pain. Can he become the big brother Jenny needs right now, and for the rest of their lives? Tide’s End explores the many faces of sexual assault and human trafficking, and how life can shatter for those most affected – the victims. Because #MeToo is more common than we can imagine. As is #ChildrenToo and even #BoysToo. It tears apart our families and neighbourhoods. And wherever there is suffering, there are guardians and helpers who still the relentless pounding to encourage Tide’s End.

Read an excerpt:

“Welcome, everyone. I’m Rosie, and I’m honoured to be here today,” she said, and she waved the long stick she was holding, getting us to stand. It had a carving of a big, black bird on the top and was painted bright colours. There was a large crystal in it, and some feathers fluttered from a ribbon. I liked it, I decided. 

“Let’s start this evening in a good way, with a prayer,” she said. A prayer? Weird.

“Thank you, Creator, for bringing us together tonight. Thank you for the journeys that brought us here, especially the good bits.” She asked for kindness on our “healing journey,” and open hearts and minds and other stuff. Then she said something I won’t forget. 

“Creator, we ask you to remind us to believe each other as much as we want to be believed. And to show us new ways to make sense of what happened to us. Help us find a way to go back into the world with less hurting.” Less hurting. An idea I could get behind. 

“Let’s be open to new things, and not be too judgemental.” She just stood there for a bit, and when she finally sat, so did everybody else. People were smiling, even me. 

“Tide’s End. I don’t know if you know why this place is named that, so I’ll try to explain. 

“Mission – the train bridge, actually – is the place where the folks who regulate fishing have decided the tides end. The water is brackish until here, up the river delta, but First Nations People have been fishing here since time…forever.  At least 10,000 years. We fished the salmon, and the sturgeon, and other fish. And we know about tides, and how they pound and beat on a place. Without ending.

“So, we called this place Tide’s End because we hope to help with the relentless pounding.” She adjusted her skirt and looked at us again. 

“We’ll talk about Taylor’s participating later, but for now, know that sometimes we are going to push you. Ask you to work hard. But you can always say no, if you need to. We just don’t want you to be disruptive…stopping someone else from getting what they need in the circle.” She smiled and handed the talking stick to Kate.

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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.

Tide’s End tells the story of Taylor, a young man working to overcome childhood abuse so he can rescue his little sister Jenny from the same kinds of harm he experienced.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

I have been honoured to work with people affected by crime, trauma and childhood abuse, both with crime victims and people who are incarcerated for causing harm. I bring them together so they can understand the impact of the harm and build empathy for their victims to reduce further victimization. 

Hearing their stories about childhood sexual abuse (from both men and women) over 30 years struck me. 

A wise woman and mentor was speaking one day about the horrors of those stories and she said something like  “I don’t know why we don’t talk about child sexual abuse in our homes and communities, but I think it might be because it’s just so big we can’t wrap our heads around it. We just don’t know what we’ll do about it, so we pretend it doesn’t happen.”

That wisdom stuck with me, and I started to think “How will we deal with this if we don’t talk about it?” and Taylor was born. 

Working my novels with an inmate-led critique group in a medium security prison was so profound. The men had enjoyed my first novel, Just Living, but they really participated in the crafting of this one. They were open and vulnerable about their experiences, and the stories of the men they’d served time with. Their contributions made this story both profound, and believable. 

They, and the sexual abuse survivors who read early drafts, are the true heroes of this book. 

And of course, all the people who work to help them live their lives fully alive.

What kind of research did you have to do for it?

Working and volunteering for the past 30 years with people affected by trauma has given me the most profound experiences. I have been honoured to help people make sense of what has happened to them, and to help them work towards becoming “the author of their next chapters”; deciding how they want to move forward after they’ve been hurt. 

Also, I’ve been privileged to work with First Nations Peoples and Elders during that time, and they have been generous with their Teachings and have encouraged me to write my stories for my People, who colonized North America so that they can understand the impacts of colonialization on the original peoples who lived here before we arrived. That learning has helped both my writing and my life immensely.

Finally, I have been mentored by so many GREAT authors in critique groups, at conferences, through social media and course work. I have been very privileged to work with and learn from Diana Gabaldon and Robert Dugoni, both of whom have accompanied me into the prisons to teach the critique groups I co-host there.

I have been very lucky to learn from so many others!

Which character was your favorite to write?

I loved writing Taylor, the young-man-on-the-cusp-of-adulthood. I loved learning about his life and struggles, and the strength he developed to overcome his challenges. It was fun to hang out with a young man again – because my children are much older than that now. 

However, I really wanted to get to know Jenny! She was elusive, and I struggled to understand her (even decide how old she was!). 

Imagine my surprise when she showed up in my current work-in-progress – four years later! I’m really moved by how strong and resilient she is now – still struggling with all the impacts you can imagine she would struggle with but showing up and learning! It’s delicious…and challenging.

What was one of your favorite scenes?

I continue to come back again and again to the very beginnings of the book when Taylor shows up at Tide’s End. He’s cold and hungry and has been living in his car. And he enters a huge log building, full of warmth and caring. He’s a bit shut down, and definitely feeling vulnerable as they begin their “Survivors Retreat”.

He’s been told he has to heal from past sexual abuse to apply for guardianship of his sister, who is missing from care.

The contrast between Taylor’s situation and the warmth and caring of the people at Tide’s End was really fun to write.

Will we see these characters again?

Yes! Some of them appear again in my next book, Ricky’s Place, about a family trying to work through their dysfunction as one of their brothers is dying in prison.

Of course, some of the people in this book – Beth, Ben, Nora, Cook, Kenny – originated in my earlier novel, Just Living. It’s fun to re-connect with them after some years and learn about how their families are growing! 

Why should we read your book?

The people who have enjoyed and appreciated my book tend to be people who want to understand (or just read about) real life stories of trauma, crime, and how our current society deals with inequality, victim wounding, and how systemic oppression has shaped our institutions.

In a nut shell, true crime afficionados, and murderinos! 

What do you hope people will get out of your book?

I hope they (of course) enjoy the story, and that through the story they learn a little more about how people are affected by assault, so that we can begin to have conversations about how trauma and childhood abuse affect all of us, but especially those who are marginalized after generations of harm.

In this time of Black Lives Matter (as do FN lives), of #MeToo, and striving towards more equality, compassion and care,  this novel provides a window into a different approach in a familiar world. I hope it can be encouraging and informational, but mostly that through story people can share understanding a little more profoundly.

How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?

The challenges that are facing the world currently are challenges I’ve been thinking about for decades. If my real-world experiences, written into fiction, can help make way for experts to make our world better, I’m so glad for the opportunity. That is what motivates me.

Of course, I am particularly pleased when people who have lived through harm in their lives or worked with victims and survivors read the story and tell me it ‘reads true’. I’m glad to have written a book many other survivors relate to, and true crime afficionados enjoy!

#SSDGM

Meredith Egan is an author of critically acclaimed novels, Just Living: a novel and Tide’s End: A Just Living novel. The stories are shaped from her work with crime victims and violent prisoners over more than thirty years. Meredith is trained in mediation and peacemaking circles., and has been honoured to learn from many First Nations peoples. Meredith coaches writers and other creative folks and offers workshops and training through her Daring Imagination work. 

Meredith is the principal at Wild Goat Executive Coaching where her clients include leaders in the automotive, technology, government and small business fields. She lives at the Groundswell Ecovillage in beautiful Yarrow, BC. with her dog Mollie, and rambunctious feline sisters Firefly and Filigree. For fun she dabbles in cooking soup for her neighbours, and soaking in her hot tub with her four adult children when they visit. 

You can find Meredith through her website, and on Facebook and Twitter for information about her novels, and her coaching work. Meredith welcomes opportunities to speak with groups about justice, and writing. Her books are available through Amazon and local bookstores.

Website: http://www.meredithegan.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meredith.egan.writer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WildGoatCoach

Meredith Egan will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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