Prince Albert author Jessica Lindsey never envisioned creating a novel when she first began telling stories to her twin boys, but that’s where she ended up.
Lindsey released her children’s novel, ‘The Adventures of Flip and Paul: The Treasure of Alman Duzan’ as a paperback and e-book at the end of 2023. The story focuses on two 10-year-old twins testing their survival skills and their faith as they try and unravel the mystery surrounding one of the residents in their town.
“It’s a good feeling,” Lindsey said when asked about getting the book published. “When you’re a writer you spend an awful lot of time behind the scenes. You know that you’re working on something, but because you’re not being paid for the work and no one is there to acknowledge it, it sometimes feels like you’re just throwing feathers up into thin air or something.
“(It’s like) it’s just in your imagination and nobody’s going to notice and it’s not going to have any impact, but then, if you can push past that self-doubt, and then push past the hurdle of launching a book in the first place, and then push past trying to get it into the hands of other people, finally you get to have your moment as a writer when you realize that despite your doubt, books do have meaning.
The two main characters in the novel are based on Lindsey’s own twin boys, who recently graduated from St. Mary High School. The setting is based on her own adventures in her hometown of Leader, where she would wander the streets, look at houses, and create stories about fictional people who lived in them.
When she visited Leader with her two boys, Lindsey started telling them stories about fictional town residents. She was pleasantly surprised when tales about hermit Alman Duzan piqued their interest.
“It is based on my own curiosity as a young kid in a small town, wondering about these weird people, and because my sons knew the town and stuff, it was familiar to them,” Lindsey said. “I made this story up and told it to them and then later on, I just needed a writing project, and this came together so quickly and easily. I edited it only once. Usually I edit books over and over and over.”
“It was just a fun project relating to the funny and interesting dynamic of raising twins,” she added. “People find that in itself interesting. Then the story the boys found interesting, so I thought maybe the other kids would (too).”
Writing a book young readers would find entertaining wasn’t her only goal. As a mother herself, Lindsey wanted to write something other parents would be comfortable giving their kids. As a devout Christian, she also wanted a book that would give good moral lessons too.
The novel is one of two books Lindsey recently published. The other, ‘A Way in the Wilderness: 100 Meditations on a Woman’s Spiritual Trial’, is a non-fiction work focusing on the most difficult times in her life.
Before writing novels, Lindsey worked as a journalist telling other peoples’ stories. Now at the age of 41, she decided to tell her own story in hopes it will help other women in a similar position.
“I started out in the first place to be a journalist because I believed that people’s stories change other peoples’ lives, and when you tell your own personal story, that’s when it changes most,” she said. “Telling a third person’s story doesn’t matter to anyone, but when you open up your heart and you make yourself vulnerable to other people, that’s when you earn their trust. That’s when they’re willing to listen. That’s when they’ll hear your story, and make a connection.”
Eleven years ago, Lindsey’s mother died following a drug overdose, something Lindsey says has haunted her. Saskatchewan is on pace for a record number of drug overdoses in 2023 (as of Jan. 5, there were still 193 deaths suspected but unconfirmed drug overdose deaths) and Lindsey said watching the total climb over the past 12 months convinced her to publish something to help people who have lost a friend or family member.
Following her mother’s death, Lindsey suffered a miscarriage. Her marriage was also in turmoil, and she divorced at the age of 32.
‘A Way in the Wilderness’ includes 100 passages taken from Lindsey’s prayer journal, where she wrote down meditations and prayers while on her path to healing.
“My whole life journey has been a healing journey, essentially, and I want my life’s journey to mean something,” she said. “I want my life’s journey to matter. It would be a waste of my life to just only suffer. if I can go through suffering and then healing and then guide other women through the same process, then my suffering has meaning. It has purpose, and so does my life.”
‘A Way in the Wilderness’ is available in print or on Amazon.ca.