Too Exciting Not To Talk About

I am trying hard not to write too often about the publication of my new book Lost on the Prairie in these blog posts. I know people read my blogs because I write about many different things so I don’t want to focus too much on just one topic.

But……….. so much cool stuff has been happening since my novel was published that I just had to write about it even though it hasn’t been that long since I last posted news about my book.

The very best thing that has happened as far as I’m concerned is that yesterday afternoon when he got home from school my nine-year grandson who lives in Saskatoon called to talk about the book with me. His Dad has been reading Lost on the Prairie to him and his younger brother before they go to bed every night, but my older grandson was anxious to see what was going to happen next in the story so he took the book to school yesterday and read ahead.

He told me he loved the book and he had all kinds of questions to ask me about the plot. He said his teacher was surprised when he told her his Grandma had written the book he was reading. In one chapter I used a reference to an experience my grandson had with his Grandpa and he recognized it right away. No review I may get for my book will mean more than my grandson’s interest and approval.

I am completely astonished and grateful that Lost on the Prairie has made the bestseller list at McNally Robinson Booksellers for the last three weeks. On Saturday it was even the featured book pictured in the Winnipeg Free Press. There was about a 24- hour period when the book was actually sold out at McNally’s and I was getting messages from people about that, but McNallys are very good at what they do, and they had already ordered more copies and had Lost on the Prairie back out on the shelves the very next day.

I have lots of family support and I am so appreciative of that. My sons have both been on social media promoting Lost on the Prairie and it is because of them I have received my first reports about children who are reading the book and enjoying it.

My younger son put a promo for my book on his Facebook page. A follower of his on the American west coast bought the book and sent my son a message that he was reading it aloud to his six-year-old and they were both really enjoying the story.

My son took this photo of my book on the shelf at the McNally Robinson Booksellers in Saskatoon

My older son is a vice-principal and middle-grade language arts teacher in a rural Saskatchewan community. He gave my book a plug on his Twitter page and then went to the McNallys in Saskatoon to buy Lost on the Prairie for his classroom. He sent me a photo of one of his students reading the book and said she was really liking it.

My husband’s support as usual is being shown in interesting ways. You probably remember the giant canvas he had made of my book cover. Now as his way of showing support he is creating an imaginary lineup of actors to play the various characters in the novel since he predicts it will eventually be turned into a movie.

I have received e-mails and phone calls from my aunties who are reading the book and cousins who have bought the book. My family in Ontario all have copies in the mail since Amazon just released the book on Friday. In fact, Amazon says they only have four copies left but more are on the way.

My brother Ken and his partner Harvey who live in Victoria have been buying copies at various bookstores there and putting them in Little Free Libraries around the city so people can enjoy them. I love that!

My church community has been supportive too. I got a phone call from my pastor saying he had read the book and he and his wife were buying copies for their grandchildren. One of the women in the seniors’ apartment affiliated with our church, said my book is very popular there. I know lots of folks from my church have been buying the book and I am very grateful.

My friends have been buying the novel too and letting me know they have purchased it. My friend Debbie even put together a marvellous little eight page book that tells the story of my journey as a writer beginning with my early love of reading and ending with a toast to my book’s success.

The members of my writers’ group, former colleagues, my blog readers and former students have all bought copies. Thanks to all of you.

Photo by Carillon photographer Jordan Ross

I wrote a previous post about the article in The Carillon. I have given three more interviews since then and I will let you know when those stories appear in the media.

I was pleased to have my book mentioned in a recent edition of Prairie Books Now and in the newsletter of the Manitoba Writers Guild. I was also able to read an excerpt from my book at the Prairie Horizons conference for children’s writers.

I have already received indications of interest from schools, book clubs and senior’s homes to come and talk about my book once the pandemic is over. I am really looking forward to those kinds of opportunities and my brain is whirring with the different kinds of presentations I might do.

Finally, my online book launch is on June 16th at 7 pm. I will be interviewed by Winnipeg educator, book reviewer and author Harriet Zaidman. You can register here to join us. There will be a time for participants to ask questions about the book.

People are starting to write to me to let me know what they think of the book and you can read some of their responses on the review page of my website. If you have read the book I’d love to know what you thought.

As I’ve mentioned before I want to promote the work of other Manitoba writers with each of the posts I do about my book. Here are some books I have written about in the past on my blog.

The Constructed Mennonite by Hans Werner

Sons and Mothers by Mary Ann Loewen

The Truth About the Barn by David Elias


Filed under Lost on the Prairie

5 responses to “Too Exciting Not To Talk About

  1. Al Hamm

    Yep, Mary Lou, I went and bought your book at McNally Robinson and read it. Eleanor is reading it now. I enjoyed the book, and of course, being interested in genealogy, I compared your family to the GRANDMA program. My question is, as probably others may be asking, did all those events really happen to your grandfather, or did you add some of them to the plot? Cheers; Al Hamm

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


    • Oh no Al as I explain in the notes at the end of the book it is definitely fiction! However I do give a brief list of all the true things about my family that are included in the story but the full list would be much much longer and of course, I did tons of research to make sure everything was authentic to 1907. As for Grandma online, I used some members of Grandpa’s family but no all for a variety of reasons and I changed ages and names in some cases. This is very much a work of fiction inspired by some actual events in my family’s history. Thanks so much for buying my book and reading it. I really appreciate your support.


  2. As a former educator, I soooo enjoyed this book. It was a quick, engaging read. It kept me wanting to continue reading to find out what happens to Peter. The development and evolution of the story had interesting twists and turns. I kept thinking about what reading Lost on the Prairie would be like to my former students and what their reactions would be. It brought back memories of specific students who I know would love the book. Bringing in Mennonite and First Nation cultures is an opportunity for great discussions.
    The bonus for teachers is the Study Guide. Well done!


  3. Pingback: At the Top of the List | What Next?

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