Review of “Not My Fate”
Janet was nominated for the Jeanne Clarke Local History Awards. The following is a review written by Myta Blacklaws, the Local History Committee Chair.“Not My Fate: the Story of a Nisga’a SurvivorBy Janet RomainI am delighted to introduce “Not My Fate: The Story of a Nisga’a Survivor” written by Northern BC author Janet Romain and published in 2016.“Not My Fate” is Janet’s telling of the courageous story of Josephine Caplin (also known as Jo) as she journeyed through life in Northern BC from Prince Rupert to Endako, Fort Nelson and places in between. Jo was born a Nisga’a citizen, yet lived off reserve throughout her life. Her story is at times uncomfortable as it explores the many traumatic experiences and barriers that she faced as she strove to determine her own fate. Yet this woman’s strength, bravery and unending resolve to not only survive but also to thrive inspire and captivate the reader as they share in her successes and triumphs.This story is poignant and pertinent in our current societal climate of the Truth and Reconciliation process. Through Janet’s telling of Jo’s experiences important topics such as residential schools, alcoholism, child protective services, adoption, Northern BC pipelines and the Idle No More movement are broached, compelling the reader to engage not only in Jo’s personal story but also in the larger realities of these subjects. This memoir is both personal and political in its intonation and will serve as a testament to current and colonial occurrences in the years to come.Janet’s book opens with a dedication “to all those who refuse to be defined by the hardships of life” and this is exactly what Jo’s story demonstrates.”
by Janet Romain
It was published by Caitlin Press in the fall of 2016.
This book was not easy to write. As I worked on it I came to look at Canada with eyes that saw more than they did before.
It was a long process to get this book from draft form to publication, with many rewrites, some laughter and some tears.
Most of the names have been changed in the book to protect people’s private lives.
A friend has pointed out that people are defined by opinion in the book and that someone else’s opinion of a person does not define that person. I totally agree. Other people may see a completely different aspect. That is another good reason for fictional names.
In the book I tell the story of my friend who I call Jo. I admire her strength and her happiness. She continually chooses the high road and has determined her own fate. While writing this book I discovered many things about North America and colonization. Some of it is uncomfortable.
I did write some fictional parts into the book to describe Jo’s mother and grandmother. Their true stories are lost to Jo and time.
I am very happy with the final version of the book and would like to thank Caitlin Press and their wonderful team for their support.
by Janet Romain
Grandpère is a story that came flying out of my fingertips onto the computer. It began with the idea of a brush pile cremation, which is a traditional method of body disposal in many parts of the world, including the area where my roots are sunk.
I didn’t do any of the things considered proper when I wrote Grandpère; there was no story outline, no prep work done whatsoever. The story seemed to tell itself, taking its own little twists and turns and delighting me in the process; it took only three months from start to finish of the first rough draft. I was mighty pleased with the story and I gave it to my sister to read, whose judgment I trust, she’s honest even if she’s not really arms length. She pointed out a few of the books flaws, which I quickly tried to correct, but on the whole was very positive with her feedback.
So there I was, story written- with not a clue of how to market it. So I did what any sensible modern woman would do-I googled ‘how to get published’. I opened up realms of new information and spent days reading page after page, letting the net lead me around into all the areas of book production.
General consensus was to get an agent, let the agent do the selling, the agents are like realtors, they know the rules and can protect their clients. To that end I signed a contract with Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency and she sold Grandpère to Caitlin Press.
Then the work really began, the fine tuning of the story, what to leave in, what to take out. The team that Vici, of Caitlin Press, assembled was great to work with and I am so pleased with the result.