News from Castlegar

The Castlegar Writers group perseveres through the pandemic – newly formed in early 2020 at the Humble Bean, the group could not meet in person for several months. In July 2020, six writers met at Millennium Park to share readings of their work and swap stories. One recounted how she sold poetry chapbooks on the street as a student to make some quick cash – successfully. Another is happily writing the next novel in her series, which is trending up the charts on Amazon (see About Katie Berry, below). Others write short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and novels in various stages of completion.

At the September meeting, the group voted on a writing prompt and shared short stories written from it, with fun results. The group’s structure is informal for now, and our goal is to support each other with critique and camaraderie. The weekly Zoom presentations from the Fed have brought excitement, and we also share opportunities like calls for submissions and writing contests in our Facebook group. We welcome writers living in the Castlegar-Trail area. Meetings continue outdoors and online, and the next one will feature a campfire.

For more information, contact local FBCW rep Gwen Higgins. Gwen is gearing up for NaNoWriMo and plans to host a Zoom writing group for young writers.

FBCW = The Federation of BC Writers. Join for support and access to resources, here: https://www.bcwriters.ca/

More news from the Castlegar Writers:

One of our members, Katie Berry, is excited to announce the recent release of her audiobook, CLAW: A Canadian Thriller, on Audible.

About Katie Berry

Katie is a fiction writer of many years. She has recently self-published her debut novel, CLAW: A Canadian Thriller, selling over 9,000 copies worldwide and counting. The novel has been well-received by Kirkus Reviews, and recently won the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal for Excellence in Horror Writing. Katie is currently working on three novels, with one releasing this fall and two more in the spring of 2021.

My Projects

Part of my writing practice is maintaining a couple of blogs. The first, Tea & Quiet, is my personal journal with snippets of memoir and spiritual musings.

The second, Wool Witches (a.k.a. Blueberry Creek Crafts), is all about knitting, crochet, and where those crafts intersect with spiritual practice.

I’ve done some other writing for various websites. View my portfolio here: https://gwenhiggins.contently.com/ 

Finally, there’s my first novel: The Wool Witches of Castlegar, due out sometime soon. It’s in the editing and revision stage, but I’m so excited about it, I just had to announce it a bit early.

About me.

I live and work in Castlegar, BC, by choice. This is a lovely city, with several parks and lots of green space.

I’m a professional accountant by day, and creative by night. Writing, music, and fibre arts are my creative outlets. I’m also a former Chemical Engineer. I studied Chemical Engineering and minored in Commerce at UBC Vancouver, graduating in 2003, and went straight to work for Syncrude in Fort McMurray. During my engineering career, I earned the Professional Engineer designation in BC and Alberta, having worked in the oil sands and in pulp & paper. My experiences as an engineer led me to become committed to environmental protection, service to humanity, and gender equity in the workplace.

Having children resulted in the need for flexible work arrangements, and my interest in finance led me to a second career in accounting. I ran my own consulting company for a period of time, doing analytical work and technical writing. During that period I had many articles published, including non-fiction articles for online publications on topics such as professional development, wastewater treatment, career options, taxation, business strategy, and interviews with other professionals. My work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle Chron.com, the Nest.com, Arizona Republic, Intuit’s TurboTax, SFGate Homeguides, STC Canada West Coast Chapter, CheNected, Geez Magazine, and others. I also maintain a blog at WoolWitches.com. My dream job came along in 2014 with Community Living BC, a crown corporation focused on supporting people with developmental disabilities to live good lives. I’ve also studied piano pedagogy with the Royal Conservatory, and ran my own piano studio for five years in Castlegar.

More recently, I’ve become interested in writing fiction, inspired by my work and life experiences and my curiosity about the world and its troubles. These days, I live and work in the beautiful Kootenays, where I was born and raised. I volunteer as a Guider with Girl Guides of Canada, leading the Dove Hill Rangers unit in Castlegar. I’m also the treasurer for the Castlegar community units.