What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?
When I left the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada's largest museum, after having worked there for more than 20 years, I couldn't get the place out of my blood. So when I enrolled in the Humber School for Writers, I wrote my first novel and set it in the Museum and drew from a real-life, never-solved heist that had taken place at the ROM and about which I had some insider information. I added a bit of humor and a Ukrainian-Canadian protagonist (Kalena Boyko) with a chocolate addiction, and ended up with the novel Theft By Chocolate, about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places.
The book launched in Canada and the UK. Readings and special events were held at the ROM, Chapters Indigo, The Bay's flagship store in Toronto, and hosts of libraries and community centers in Toronto, Hamilton, in smaller communities in Northern and Southern Ontario, and in London and Edinburgh during the UK's Chocolate Week.
The most frequently asked question by readers and event hosts has been when the sequel would be released. I've had to fit the writing in between a full-time job and teaching yoga part-time, so in an effort to speed up publication (regretfully, my publisher, Attica Books, closed their doors), I decided to self-publish, distribute, and market Theft Between the Rains.
Writing a novel without having a publisher takes a great deal of faith and it's a labor of love. But the reality is, there are significant costs involved if you want to produce a quality work. With the funds raised by this campaign, remaining editing and cover design fees will be offset and allow for the purchase of inventory so I can travel with the book to do readings, attend book festivals like Word on the Street, and to get to smaller communities which might not often attract writers.
Theft Between the Rains is set in rainy and cold weather and that's precisely what I got on the day I shot my campaign video outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The chilling drizzle and wind are a most appropriate backdrop. But the shoot was also replete with distractions, as evidenced in the amusing video bloopers reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY68zMvBb14
As I launch the book and this campaign, the city has experienced yet another bizarre torrential downpour with cars afloat in many parts of the city. I draw from these kinds of stories, which are becoming alarmingly more common in urban areas globally, to paint the backdrop to Theft Between the Rains.
Kalena is still just trying to fly under everyone’s radar. But her non-descript existence is threatened when she starts receiving enigmatic clues leading her to precious works of art, long thought lost forever after the plunder in the Second World War of some of Europe’s most glorious art troves.
Kalena and her troupe of misfit colleagues are sent repeatedly on scavenger hunts throughout the museum environment in which she works and through and under the streets of Toronto, during the wettest weather conditions the city has ever experienced. They are led to some of the most incredible masterpieces on the world’s registers of lost art, but with each discovery the conundrum becomes ever more puzzling.
Theft Between the Rains is not only a Da-Vinci-Code-like cat and mouse thriller, but is also a love letter to the city of Toronto as well as being a cautionary tale about the world’s changing weather patterns. In Theft By Chocolate fun was poked at the author’s addiction to chocolate, while in Theft Between the Rains, where water is a character unto its own, the author’s complicated relationship with the element is embodied in this genre-bending, page-turning story.
Don't miss out on the book about which renowned British mystery writer Marsali Taylor (author of the Cass Lynch / Gavin Macrae detective stories) has said: "Stolen art, mysterious clues, smart comments and of course chocolate - a fast-moving, clever follow-up to Theft By Chocolate. I was hooked from the first page. Recommended!"
Theft Between the Rains has been funded in part by a grant from the Shevchenko Foundation.
Risks and challenges
The book is ready for both print and digital publication. I will have a booth at Toronto's Word on the Street book and magazine festival in September 2019 and I already have a number of events and readings tentatively lined up. I have well-established relationships with coordinators of library readings and have a comprehensive marketing plan in place.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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