How I published my first novella at 80

After retiring 15 years ago and moving to Hamilton from Saskatchewan, I took several creative writing classes which I enjoyed immensely, yet I didn’t have the motivation to keep writing outside the context of a course.

It wasn’t until January 2016 when I joined a class offered for older adults at the central branch of Hamilton Public Library that I found what I had been looking for; a supportive group of people.

At first the group was led by an instructor who gave both in-class and homework assignments. Much of each two-hour weekly session involved each of us reading what we had written to the group. Once the initial class was over in 2016, several people decided to continue meeting and the library agreed to provide us with space. This made all the difference to me as I now had an incentive to keep writing.

In January 2018 I began writing a story set in northern Ontario of a young woman selected with the help of Artificial Intelligence to leave Earth in the mid- 21st century to eventually colonize another planet due to the effects of global warming. Jenny, the primary protagonist in this story, is presented with the dilemma of accepting the challenge to leave behind an unsustainable planet to start over again while leaving behind everything and everyone she had ever known. She had to agree to not divulge this project to anyone. She also had to agree to have an implant surgically placed into her brain.

I spent a good part of 2018 writing this work of fiction, something I never expected I would ever do. You could say that I surprised and delighted myself. I very much enjoyed the process of developing the story-line, the characters, and the setting as each week I brought the next chapter to the group. The members of the writing group encouraged me to keep writing the story. They wanted to know what happened next as did family members to whom would recount that day’s chapter.

The novella could not have been written without the support of that wonderful group of writers. Their enthusiasm was behind my decision to try to have the story published. I made the decision to self publish the book as I knew how difficult it is to find a publisher willing to publish an unknown author. I selected Friesen Press of Victoria, to help me through the process.

At the end of the year, in time for my 80th birthday, my novella, Operation Noah’s Ark, was published by Friesen Press and I couldn’t have been more delighted. What a wonderful birthday gift!

For information about Operation Noah’s Ark, please visit

Comments (0)