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Until the Deep Water Stills Online Companion
A unique and innovative fusion of a traditional print novel and a companion website featuring text, photograpy and professional quality audio recordings.
Until the Deep Water Stills: An Internet-enhanced Novel is a double award winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards:
* Canada East Region Winner
* Writers in the Sky Award for Best Creative Writing of the Year
For Katherine Orr the words "I love you" are not enough. Only a demonstrative expression of her husband Jayce's love can rescue their relationship. But Jayce's personal demons prevent him from giving her this even though he knows that she is all that stands between him and a descent into chaos.
Simultaneously, Bryan struggles to repair the breach of love in his life caused by the death of his daughter Sarah. But his wife, Jayce's sister, grows ever more distant. Charismatic social activist Faith, who longs for love but fears she will lose herself in it, unwittingly becomes the catalyst for change in the lives of all four characters.
The paths of these four converge toward a tragic event as each struggles to decipher the intracacies of love lost and love found. Each discovers in their own way that love is the living core of human existence and that how we love defines who we are.
Each chapter in the novel has a corresponding entry on the companion website where the four main characters have an online identity: Katherine's Photo Journal, Jayce's Diary, Bryan's Blog, Faith's Letters to her Runaway Mother.
There are three ways to approach the book: 1) Read the print novel only as it does stand on its own. 2) Alternate between the print novel and the companion website on a chapter by chapter basis. 3) Read the print novel first and then experience the companion website.
UNTIL THE DEEP WATER STILLS - An Internet-enhanced Novel
Excerpt: Part 1, Chapter 6
Peregrines and Mill Ruins
FAITH followed the rock-strewn path through the pine and oak woods. Catching the scent of Sixteen Mile Creek even before the whispered rumble of Hilton Falls reached her on the breeze. Chickadees fluttered out from the branches angling for handouts. But she had nothing to give them. Submerged memories nudged the edges of her consciousness like the ancient coral reefs and sea creatures that lay buried beneath her feet in the layers of sedimentary rock. The sound of cascading water grew audible as she neared the falls coaxing the memories up through the layers of emotional shale.
At last Hilton Falls came into view tumbling over stepping-stone rock ledges and plunging 10 metres into the cool, clear pool below. The memory haunted mill ruins bordering the falls circumnavigated time and opened her heart to the voices of her childhood. This was her secret and sacred place. Secret because she only came here alone and when she felt troubled. Sacred because of the memories it held of her father. He brought her here as a child to tell her the story that shaped her childhood and her adolescence. The story of the mother she had never known. How she had done what was unthinkable in that day and age. Leaving her husband and her one year old child for another man. Faith had never asked why although the question burned in her mind. The sadness in her father’s eyes when he spoke of it made her understand intuitively that he could speak of this once and once only.
He was in a nursing home now lost in the thick haze of Alzheimer’s. Drifting backwards and forwards through time but often dwelling in that single year of joy between Faith's birth and that day. She visited him often but not often enough. There was no such thing as enough for him.
Faith sat on the edge of the mill ruins and tried again to remember her mother. Scouring her memory for details of that one year of happiness. For her father’s sake she wanted to find it and own it so she could share in the experience with him. And for other reasons that had nothing to do with him. But her memory bank did not reach back that far. In her mind she had no mother. Only a father and a void where her mother should have been.
The ethereal, spiraling flute of a Thrush surrounded her. She shuddered at the loneliness that suddenly took hold of her.
“Is it possible? That I never fully committed to the relationship? That I just skated across the surface of it for seven years… Come on, Faith. You’re the therapist. What does that say about you?”
A Kingfisher dove into the pool below the falls, came up empty-handed and protested with its strident, rattling call. Sadness and hurt ebbed out of her a few tears at a time. Tracing the lines and curves of her face the way his fingers had once done but never would again. He had proposed, she told herself. Actually proposed. But she had not been able to love him enough to say yes or even no.
Reality settled in like a stone sinking to the bottom of the clear pool. She was alone again. The motherless child once more. She would have to learn how to go to sleep without the sound of breathing next to her. How to wake up in an empty bed. How to contain that bubble of fear that gathered in her chest in the dark of night. How to visit her father knowing that the only person intimately connected to her could no longer protect her.
She was alone.
Faith looked down to the creek where it emerged from the pool renewed and reborn. Sensing the current that throbbed beneath the surface like her own restless heart. She longed to release herself to it. To float like a fallen leaf content to be at the mercy of the water. Carried for miles and miles through city and country to a destination foreshadowed but not foretold. Perhaps then her destiny would finally reveal itself. The meaning and purpose of her life might become clear.
This was a sad and pleasant image that she dwelled within for a time. But in her heart she knew it was not within her to give up control in that way. Life called out to her laying its injustices at her feet and defied her to ignore them knowing full well that she could not.
Her thoughts returned now to the Raves. Of course Greg was right, she conceded. She was putting Youth Voice out on a limb. But risk was the price of courageous decisions. The Raves were an olive branch to that disenchanted generation of young people. A way to break down barriers and make a connection with them. They were also a turning point for Youth Voice.
“This is why you worked so hard to build this organization. So you could make a difference. So lives like Sarah James wouldn’t be wasted. You can’t let the pessimists stop you. There’s too much at stake here.”
Faith felt her strength returning now. She rose, picked up a stone and gave it a sidearm flick watching it skip it four times across the surface of the creek above the falls. A good omen. Her own version of a four leaf clover. Let them try and stop her, she vowed. Let them try. They had no idea what a bulldog she could be. Come hell or high water the Rave Series would go on. Her mother, wherever she was, would be proud.
A Tantalizing Tale
Author, Michael Dyet, has written a tantalizing tale which is further enhanced by internet interaction of the reader. I read this ground-breaking novel in two ways to get the full impact. First I read the book just as a traditional novel. Then I went back and read the book, using the author’s website and his suggested readings, which added dimension to the story and genuine human qualities to the characters.
The first chapter draws in the reader as it introduces two of the five main characters featured in this gripping book. Jayce and Katherine (Kat) have a heated discussion because she no longer wants to be a stay at home Mom and wants to go back to work. Jayce settled himself on the dock needing time to decode what had just happened. “I’m feeling fenced in.” The words rattled around inside his head with the hollow knock of things left unsaid. It was impossible not see that she was unhappy. How unhappy was the critical question. If she went back to work she would be out of radar range. She might begin to believe that she could live without him. The couple is also dealing with the possibility that something could be wrong with their 15-month old baby.
Next we are introduced to Bryan and Grace. Grace is Jayce’s sister and husband to Bryan. Recently they lost their daughter, Sarah, from an accidental drug overdose at a rave party. This seems to be the inmost event which has caused several lives to spin out of control. The question lingers, is love ever enough?
Enter a social activist named Faith that touches each of these characters in different ways. She seems to have the knack to bring out the strongest personality traits in people.
The most engaging thing about this book is how real it seems, especially as you read each of the characters journal entries (on the internet). It is as if you are sneaking a glimpse into the most private parts of a person’s life, showing how fragile and tenuous life really is.
I was reminded time and again, through Mr. Dyet’s writing, how everything we do affects someone else’s life. Those things we do may seem small, but the thread that connects all of us and the synchronicity of our lives is unmistakable.
The well developed characters and the effectively told story, not to mention the striking book cover, create a book that I would highly recommend to others. Michael Robert Dyet has set a new bar for authors. His unique approach to the written word infused with internet enhancement may well be the literary wave of the future.
Reviewed by: Donetta Garman, Allbooks Review www.allbookreviews.com
A Cautionary Tale of Our Contemporary Times
It's an urbane story of relationships and choices people make. The theme of facing up to the consequences of our choices is poignantly unfolded, with the tragic loss of love and life, a cautionary tale of our contemporary times.
The writing is excellent, whose luminous quality oft outshines the waxing moon on the deep still water.
Past President, Canadian Authors Association, Toronto Branch
Author of: Blood & Nemesis, Penance, Living on the Market and The Priest and His Karma
A Glimpse into the Evolution of the Novel
Doomsday prophets who sound the death knell of the book shortchange the artist and his abilities to find new ways to express himself. In Until the Deep Water Stills, Michael Dyet offers a glimpse into the evolution of the novel, harnessing the new technologies to reveal layers of story in a way that can only be done in the electronic age. Dyet deftly uses the Internet to create underlying strata, allowing the reader to slip away, if she wishes, from the third-person narrative of the novel to access the first-person intimacy of the blogs, diaries, letters, audio, and photo journals of the characters. When the reader returns to the main narrative, it is with deeper understanding, and sometimes astonishing new facts.
The story unfolds from a central event – the drug overdose death of a teenage girl at a rave. The aftershocks set out in ever-expanding circles, engulfing her parents, her aunt and uncle, and also a social worker using the death to promote her personal agenda of drug-free raves. Tragedy and misfortune rock the lives of the characters, but it is the emotional narrative beneath these events that is the epicenter of the novel. Secrets lie beneath the surface, as do fault lines beneath the earth. It is private life to public life, subconscious mind to conscious mind, third person to first person - what we choose to reveal (or not) to those who are supposed to be our “intimates” – our spouses and partners.
Bryan speaks openly of his affair in his blog, telling strangers of his marital infidelity and his innermost thoughts, but not his politician wife, Grace. Jayce’s anger erupts so that he smashes a glass-top table in front of Katherine and their young daughter, but he can’t bring himself to share with his wife the one act of violence from his past that most plagues him. Katharine publicly communicates to her husband her desire to leave their marriage through the photographs she has chosen to display at the opening reception of her art show. Faith writes letters to the mother who abandoned her at a young age, but doesn’t send them, choosing instead to view her mother from afar.
Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." He might have been peering into the future to see Dyet's novel, where the medium of the Internet enhances the story, certainly, but also, becomes the story, revelations offered to the reader in a way not possible in the hard-copy, print-static world of the past. The mode influences the telling.
Author of Tending Memory, Twice in a Blue Moon and Dead Girl Diaries
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