Shari Narine’s first novel, Oil Change at Rath’s Garage, was released in May. Narine kicks off her book tour on June 19 at the Morinville Public Library.
by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
Author and journalist, Shari Narine, is kicking off her book tour at the Morinville Public Library (MPL) on June 19 at 5 p.m.
Narine’s book, Oil Change at Rath’s Garage (published by Thistledown Press) was released in May and briefly made it to the top of the Edmonton’s Best Seller List for fictional books.
“My tour was arranged by the Northern Lights Library System (NLLS),” explained Narine in an interview (MPL is one of over 50 members of that regional library system).
“It’s really wonderful because NLLS is one of only two library systems in the province that will arrange book tours for authors,” Narine said, adding she is grateful to have the opportunity to participate in a tour for her new book and most looks forward to connecting with readers.
The first-time author will be visiting 17 NLLS libraries in two weeks time, holding events at about two libraries per day.
The presentation at MPL will see Narine read different scenes from her book, introducing characters and some of their complex relationships. Signed copies of Oil Change at Rath’s Garage will also be available for purchase. “…I’ll be sticking around afterwards, as well, to answer any questions people may have about the writing process,” explained Narine.
The book, which has been a labour of love for its writer, took six years to go from an idea scratched down on paper to published book. “The process is long. [My book] was first picked up by a publisher out of Vancouver, but after eight months of editing back and forth, we decided to (amicably) split,” said the author. Instead of feeling defeated, Narine took the opportunity to rewrite portions of her manuscript and further develop its characters.
“My first draft didn’t have a lot of colour. Since I was a journalist, I was used to just writing the facts…it was pretty bare bones.” It was challenging, and it took a lot of work but, “I didn’t let it sit,” she said. In the end, it all paid off because the book caught the eye of Saskatchewan publisher, Thistledown, and a contract was eventually signed in 2016. Since that time, it’s been a matter of editing and preparing for the book release.
Narine remarked that the work it takes to be an author falls into three categories: writing, publishing (edit, edit, edit!), and marketing; “all three of these things are equally as time-consuming” she said, it is something aspiring authors may not realize.
“I would encourage any writer; however, if you believe in your [story], keep going. Don’t give up because it takes a lot of work,” noted Narine, who said her manuscript went out to upwards of 20 publishers before finally being selected for publication. Sometimes it’s not about the quality of your story; it’s about whether or not that particular publishing house is looking for the theme you’ve written on, or if they’ve already published something similar in recent years.
Oil Change at Rath’s Garage is about the nature of life and people’s capacity to change (or not change); “life is untidy,” emphasized Narine, “we don’t always get neat endings, but life keeps going on.” The book is character driven; it uses central themes like family and community to explore the complexities of human emotion and struggles.