Talking About Defiant Island

Thanks to Philip Carroll for another interview, this one on Defiant Island. The novel has just been published in a new edition, and the interview went live this week. Philip and I discuss Defiant Island’s characters, its (important) setting, and what the story is about, namely, a small, remote community under threat of disappearing.

The first edition of Defiant Island was published in 2007, and, looking back, was remarkably prescient with the threatened loss of rural communities in the news again, and likely to remain there.

For example, here’s the headline from the lead article on the Opinion page of the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal recently:

Shift spending to urban growth

The writer goes on to quote, approvingly, a researcher’s opinion that Atlantic Canadians can no longer live in a “fantasy land” where they can expect to receive all sorts of services at their doorstep, regardless of where they live.

So where do you stand on the Great Urban-Rural Rift?

Do you think rural communities should be allowed to disappear as government funding is directed increasingly to urban centres as the fairest and most effective way, through economy of scale, of utilising scarce financial resources?

Do you believe people from rural communities should move to urban centres?

Do you believe in forced resettlement?

Defiant Island presents the for and against arguments about the viability and sustainability of rural life through the microcosm of a remote island community under threat of disappearing through the ‘rationalisation of services’ proposed by a government forced by dire financial circumstances to make some tough decisions.

But the novel is not just a political tract. As Terry Seguin of CBC Radio and TV wrote in a kind review: Defiant Island is “… An absorbing story of a proud people’s fight to survive … a story of struggle and enduring friendship … a story about love.”

Philip and I discuss these themes in the Defiant Island interview, which you can find as follows:

On Stitcher at:

On Philip’s podcast website at:

(This link should take you directly to the interview on Philip’s website:

Or on iTunes where it’s listed as Bonus Episode #2 March 22 2016.

The new edition of Defiant Island is published by Speaking Volumes Press, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

defiantisland - draftA



When Life and Fiction Collide (2)

Footprints blog

In Footprints (Breakwater/Jesperson 2008) I envisaged the young man and the young woman at the centre of the thriller as a kind of latter day Heathcliff and Cathy, sharing a bond that had something elemental about it, something that superseded being boyfriend and girlfriend and that made it their destiny always to be together.

When it came to naming them, I wanted for the young woman a name that was somehow timeless, maybe old fashioned, something matching her quirky, enigmatic character, and after a web search came up with Isora, to which I added a local (for me) surname, Lee.

When I couldn’t come up with a name that seemed right for her companion, I did what I often do when stuck for a name. I went for a walk in a local cemetery and looked at headstones.

And found Drumgold – just Drumgold – on a stark monolith of granite. The name seemed, in its austerity, to match the cool, inscrutable nature of that character.

A few weeks after the book was published I strolled through the same cemetery again. I acknowledged Drumgold as I passed that headstone, walked on, and noticed not far away, for the first time, although I’d walked that way hundreds of times before, a headstone memorialising … Isora Lee.