There was a ripple of anticipation throughout the small but lively crowd assembled in the Nakusp Public Library last Wednesday evening as Deryn Collier took the floor.
Deryn was due to read from her One Book One Kootenay award winning book “Confined Space” and in the process entertain everyone with her amusing anecdotes plus a little bit of magic that none of us could quite figure out. She possesses a quirky sense of humour and in no time had members of the audience participating in some very strange goings on! Apparently Deryn, the name, means “little bird” in Welsh, so that explained, more or less why she had a tiny replica of a bird pinned to her head. No wisecracks involving birds and brains were even considered.
Born in New Brunswick and having lived in various Ontario towns, Deryn spent her teenage years in Montreal and graduated from McGill University. Now a resident of Creston, she sets her stories locally, which gives them some extra pizzazz for fellow Kootenay dwellers.
She had always harboured a secret desire to write, but put it aside as a pipe dream, probably never to become reality. After a succession of excellent jobs, she landed one in a brewery which really suited her. However the writing bug kept gnawing away until she finally gave up work to follow her dream. This was no easy task with a husband and two small boys to care for, but thanks to some wonderful friends she pulled it off.
Hence her debut novel (predictably enough set in a brewery) was born and launched to great acclaim, garnering a nomination for the Crime Writers of Canada award.
Deryn had promised herself that if her first novel was a success, it would be the first in a series with the coroner in “Confined Space,” one Bern Fortin, featuring in future books. The second in the series is called “Open Secret” and is due to be published next Spring, something to look forward to for all who enjoyed her first book.
There is no doubt we have not heard the last of this talented writer and her standout character, the charismatic Bern Fortin. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the next suspense filled tale, again set in our very own Kootenays and dealing with a topic that is probably as open a secret as you can get.