A former resident of Vanderhoof has published her first book which she says is very much inspired by the Nechako lifestyle.
Michelle VanNice moved away to Port Alberni a few years ago but she says it stays very dear to her heart and influences the characters she creates in her latest book and the one she is writing as a sequel. VanNice notes that her characters in the book SerendipiTEA reflect the small town atmosphere she remembers living here. She says in larger communities one tends to see birds of a feather flocking toether – people who have the same background and interests hang out with one another, but in Vanderhoof she believed the diverse groups really mixed more than elsewhere she has lived.
“When I grew up we had to pull together; we were all we had,” the novelist remarks, “we had a wide variety of people who would care about each other.”
The English teacher says she misses her old home town, but finds some similarities where she’s living now.
“I think Port Alberni reminds me of Vanderhoof … it has the same rough edges,” VanNice observes.
She likes to incorporate realistic characters who have similar challenges and virtues of many small town people and tries to accentuate the moral that even a small kindness goes a long way.
“I try to highlight how some small caring action has a big benefit,” the UVIC graduate says.
In addition to her English teaching she also once worked at the Tastee Freeze and the Nechako Chronicle newspaper.
Her book, also incorporates the unusual with the commonplace, placing a page with tea facts at the end of her chapters and a fictional news story.
“It’s a reflection of my Vanderhoof mind – each chapter ends with a news story from a Vanderhoof newspaper,” VanNice says.