On a stormy day? Intrigued. 19th century Icelander explorers? Very interested. Surviving in Manitoba, a strange land, with basically nothing but your wit and courage? I’m so much in!!!
The Strong Amongst Us (The Olason Chronicles Book 1) by J. A. Boulet released in May in the Historical Fiction genre.
On a stormy day in October 1875, a boatload of Icelandic explorers crash land on a beach paradise called Willow Point on Lake Winnipeg. Except it proves to be anything but paradise.
On that fateful day, young Nathan Olason steps afoot onto the soil of a foreign country, a place that he is determined to claim as his new home. Against a stunning backdrop of Lake Winnipeg, Nath and his relatives struggle to stay alive against all odds in this strange unforgiving new country called Canada. With natural sand beaches and breathtaking sunsets, the lake quickly changes to a menacing force, with massive storm surges and frigid temperatures, claiming lives like flies. Nath soon realizes that to claim this wilderness as New Iceland, he must persevere.
Events soon blow wildly out of control as heavy snowfalls, emerging governments, racism and mass starvation tests Nathan’s limits. With the help of a beautiful local Cree woman named Anwa, they learn vital hunting and ice fishing skills, teaching themselves how to live off the land. Then just when they think they have prevailed, tragedy strikes an ominous blow, a smallpox epidemic that decimates villages, quarantines the town of Gimli, but most of all threatens to claim what he holds dear the most.
With stirring realism, surprising bits of humour and steamy romance scenes, The Strong Amongst Us weaves a rich historical tale of immigration, manhood, immense love and resilience, leaving readers empowered by the sheer will of the human spirit.
NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99 on Kobo during the tour.
He stared at the beautiful sun, peering over the horizon of gentle waves. The coldness stung, but he embraced it. The lake was much calmer today. He loved it actually; luck was on his side. They would most likely be able to send the funds request of the remaining five-thousand-dollar loan to the Dominion today by boat.
A movement caught his eye. Someone was pulling in a larger boat. He stood and used his hand to shelter from the sun. He squinted into the bright rays. It was just one person, pulling in the boat. He strapped his boots on and scurried over to the dock.
“Hey, do you need a hand?” Nathanael shouted as he approached.
A woman’s voice lilted into the air, gentle but full of strength. “No, I am okay.”
“No, I must! Let me help you,” Nathan insisted.
She looked at him stubbornly, shook her head and relented. “If you must.”
Nath grabbed the rope and helped pull in the boat, anchoring it along the sand. “Is this the boat that will be taking the letter to the Dominion for us today?”
“It is, yes,” she replied. “Sorry for my English. I am still learning.”
“You are native to this land?” Nath asked. “How long have you lived here?”
“Forever,” she laughed. “Ma and Pa were born here, so was I.”
“Interesting,” Nath said. “It is a beautiful land. And a beautiful lake.”
“Yes, Nath, it is,” she replied.
“You remembered my name?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
J. A. Boulet is the passionate author of The Olason Chronicles, a historical saga of immigration, love and perseverance. The Strong Amongst Us Book 1 was released on Amazon in April 2020. She was born and raised in Western Canada as a first generation Canadian from European descent. Her parents landed in St. John’s, NFLD as refugees in 1956, a direct result of the Hungarian Revolution. J. A. Boulet was born many years later, raised in a strong Hungarian culture and proudly calls Canada home to this day. She started writing poetry at the age of five and progressed to short stories and novels. She has a keen interest in history, healing, family bonds and embracing the unknown. J. A Boulet writes with a spine-tingling realism like none other, grabbing your emotions and refusing to let go. The Strong Within Us Book 2 is scheduled to be released on November 11, 2020.
She currently lives in Canada with her two teenaged sons and a crested gecko named Mossio. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit.
What kind of research did you have to do for this story?
The boats pitched and swayed in the violent lake. Nathanael Olason thought they were all going to die trying to find the new land they had dreamt about for so long. They had already named it Gimli, which meant paradise in Icelandic. As far as he was concerned, currently, it was nothing close to heaven.
The research for this story evolved naturally and actually preceded the story itself.
One hot summer day, my youngest son asked if we could go to the New Iceland Heritage Museum near our cottage in Gimli, Manitoba. So we packed up our beach gear and went to the museum.
Immediately upon walking in, I was floored. The displays were so real and the story was so heart-wrenching. I walked through the display like I was being transported to another time. I was enthralled with the events and these people that had endured so much.
When I returned from vacation, my curiosity compelled me to find out more. I researched online the settlement dates, the smallpox epidemic and how many people had survived. It was such a tragic story and I was amazed that it hadn’t been made into a blockbuster movie yet.
Over the next two years, I dabbled here and there into the Icelander’s story, still captivated but not quite sure why it gripped me so hard. Then finally in early 2019, it hit me. I stood up at my desk like I was hit by lightning.
This is the saga that I needed to write.
I immediately ran upstairs and wrote the outline in two hours.
I visited the New Iceland Heritage Museum many more times since my initial visit to gather more information. I also bought two books from the museum for my research:
– White Settler Reserve: New Iceland and The Colonization of The Canadian West by Ryan Eyford
– Gimli Harbour & Fishery: An Illustrated History by Andy Blicq & Ed Ledohowski
I regularly consulted both these resources while writing my novel as well as the Manitoba Heritage website and YouTube fishing videos, lol.
I loved the research as much as I loved writing the novel!
Thanks for reading and I hope you feel a renewed hope for the future after reading The Strong Amongst Us because we all have our ancestor’s strengths within us. COVID cannot take that away from us. All my love to Viviana MacKade for hosting. Thank you so much!!
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087SFLJFP
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/love_walk_life
Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/jabouletauthor/
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/yl_CnBze4ds
Reddit link: https://www.reddit.com/user/NormalFemale
This post is part of a Tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2020/07/nbtm-strong-amongst-us-by-j-boulet.html
- a $15 Amazon/BN GC