Former KL resident listed among top authors of 2010
By RICK OWEN, NORTHERN NEWS
Posted 16 days ago
KIRKLAND LAKE -A former Kirkland Lake resident is making a name for himself with the publication of his first fiction novel, titled Upcountry, which has been very well received by book reviewers.
The book is named to the Top 25 Best Books for 2010 by Fran Lewis Reviews, who is a New York based book blogger with thousands of readers.
Rick Doyon, who was born and raise in Kirkland Lake and attended Holy Name School, Sacred Heart before graduating from KLCVI then attending the University of Western Ontario where he studied history and political science and moving on Carleton to study journalism, hasn't forgotten his roots or early influences.
Doyon's drive to achieve resulted in him having a successful career in journalism working as a reporter for the Citizen, Ottawa Journal and UPI. He also worked as a freelancer for The Financial Post, Mclean's Magazine and the Vancouver Province.
From journalism Doyon moved into politics as a speechwriter for both Liberal and Conservative ministers. Not one to rest on his achievements he moved to public relations consulting with Hill & Knowlton where he worked from 1991until 1996, before he started his own firm, High Road Communications. He and his partner sold High Road to another large PR firm, Fleishman Hillard in 2000.
In 2005 Doyon retired from public relations returned to his writing and wrote the stage play (Pirouette) on the life and time of Pierre Trudeau. After this he wrote two screenplays in conjunction with his wife Shelly Anthony, called Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda and The Last Carousel.
Now living in the Ottawa area Doyon said he started the novel in July 2009 and finished it by early September this year. Describing the writing process he said, "it was a real labour of love."
Doyon said Upcountry has subtle references to the North that only people from the North would recognize, including his main character who's name is Schumacher, as well as a judge named Englehart, a former boyfriend named Dobie, an editor named Matheson, a daughter named Monteith and a prosecutor named Cochrane.
"I thought these people need names and these are excellent names and I thought I would have some fun at the same time."
Since the book has been published Doyon said he hears daily from readers saying how great the book is and asking when the sequel is coming. From this feedback Doyon plans on bringing back the major characters in another book.
He said the book revolves around Jane Schumacher, a smart and savvy aide to the Governor of New York, who is making a serious run for the presidency. She is shepherding him to go for it when she discovers she has serious health problems so the day before Thanksgiving she decides to return to her upcountry home to make amends to her estranged family. When she arrives she finds out that her fraternal twin sister has ben the victim of serious domestic abuse and "that is when all hell breaks loose."
Doyon said while the story revolves around the serious issue of abuse it is really a story about how the two sisters come together and how there is a rebirth and redemption involved in their lives even though it still very tragic.
In Upcountry, Doyon said "the issue I do highlight in the novel is very very clear, it is how women, usually always women, suffer at the hands of their partners or husbands and how wide spread it is, and how many of these women are in denial for most of their lives because they believe there is no hope for them."
Doyon said he is very interested in politics so the book is written with a backdrop of modern political times and he tried to weave the political story into the lives of the main characters.