WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?
Good question. I’m glad you asked. Here’s the story…
Pertinent Information (Documented 40 Years Ago) Discovered Days Before Roadblocks to Hell was to Hit the Presses!
February 27, 2008, Walt’s funeral – the day I realized I was to write Walt’s story.
Five years later, one fine day in January, 2013, I woke up with the absolute conviction the time had come. I began to write Roadblocks to Hell.
I researched online and off. I dug through boxes for pictures, cards and letters, postcards, newspaper articles – anything I could find. I set up interviews with key individuals and jotted down my outline.
4 Months and 185 Pages Later – “The Story is Finished!” – I Thought…
By the end of April, 2013, I proudly announced I had finished the first draft. I started looking for and working on the images/illustrations, and proudly announced that the book should be available in a few months. But God had other things in mind. Over the next 27 months I would revisit, revise and rewrite many more times.
Just when I thought I was finished, I’d have another crucial bit of important information come to mind. More often than not, this would happen in the morning upon waking. I had the strong conviction that I was to also weave this into the story.
The second last time I stopped the press, was when one of my brothers mentioned something I hadn’t addressed; something he thought might be important to the overall richness/completeness of the story. I agreed and jumped in to research his suggestions. This story was becoming less fictional and more factual with each edition and rewrite.
As I did my online research, even more NEW information surfaced, due to a recent rewrite of an archived newspaper article by a journalist living in California. One of his buddies, a retired RCMP member living in Burnaby, BC, was the officer critically wounded in a major incident recorded in my book.
Now I had insight into some of the victim’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the shootout, as well as thoughts and feelings 30+ years later.
More additions and rewriting.
The story jumped from 185 to 244 pages.
Trouble Getting Set Up on CreateSpace! as a Canadian
Once again, I thought this must be it; I must be finished.
Where and how to print the book. Research indicated Print On Demand was the way to go. We decided to use CreateSpace, a company connected with Amazon. I was excited, thinking this was the day – but we were having trouble getting important information onto the Create Space application forms.
It seemed we needed a certain US Tax number specific to Canadians in order to be listed with CreateSpace. Several years back we had applied for this number when registering with Amazon. We looked high and low for the folder where we had stored the information. Nowhere to be found. So I prayed, asking God to help us find that very important folder.
Where in the World is that IRS Folder?
After hours over several days of trying to solve the problem with no success, Win finally decided it was time to resort to giving the IRS a call. To our relief they were able to give us the number over the phone.
This had to be the solution. But, once again we hit a problem. CreateSpace forms would not accept the number. Several days later, still no success. No one at CreateSpace seemed to be able to help us. Why the delay? Were we to go elsewhere?
Then something very interesting happened. A day or so later, I was pulling out an empty file folder from a box where we store the “still useable” empty folders, and what fell out of the folder I grabbed? The misplaced tax information from IRS. The number given by the IRS representative and the number in the folder were ever so slightly different. I was jumping for joy now. I would never have thought to look in the empties. A God thing for sure.
Note: the letter from the IRS read – “This is your one and only notice from us. Keep this information and number in a safe place.”
Back to CreateSpace…this had to be it. But their system still would not accept our number!!. Now what? God, what are you saying?
(BTW – The IRS changed the process recently … now all we need is our Canadian SIN to register!)
More Lost Information Suddenly Appears!
I was soon to find out there was yet another reason why this book was not ready to be called “complete.”
My husband was rummaging in the storage shed when he discovered something I had long given up as tossed or lost.
While searching for some of his own important misplaced items, Win found an old box, slightly damaged, musty smelling – probably due for the garbage can papers, he thought. As he flipped through the dusty contents, a red duo-tang binder caught his attention.
Inside was a Psychology research paper – Random Impressions of the Prison System – a research essay presented to Jay McGilvery, Douglas College and submitted by Carrie Wachsmann.
Win put it in my hand and said, “You might want to have a look at this.”
Indeed I did. The document included a series of interviews I had done with the main character, Walther Colt, while he was incarcerated in Matsqui Institution in 1975. 40 years ago!!
My Lightening Fast Mind was Beginning to Understand the Roadblocks!
I was shocked, grateful and elated – all at the same time.
I took the week to read and mull over the research paper. The find was oh so timely!
First, the contents confirmed many of my memories I had used in telling the story.
Secondly, I now had additional detailed information, as well as several conversations which would add significantly to the authenticity and overall impact of the story.
You can only imagine how grateful I was for all the “roadblocks” I had encountered while writing this book. If I had found that research paper anytime after it was published, – well I think every storyteller out there knows how that would make one feel.
Are We There Yet?
3 extra chapters and 20 more pages later, I hesitantly asked the Lord… “are we finished yet?”
As for CreateSpace… we thought we’d try one more time before going elsewhere. This time we got someone on the line who did know what we should do. It worked! – and now we could publish on CreateSpace as Canadians.
So – are we there yet?
“Not quite”, came the answer. We still had several proofs to work through with CreateSpace. When the 1st proof came back with a washed-out look throughout the book, I wasn’t satisfied. (The cover was great) CreateSpace made some suggestions. A few days later the second proof arrived. I admit I was disappointed – nothing had changed!
We contacted CreateSpace again and they checked the latest PDF submission once again, but this time it was sent to a specialized department. A couple of days later the report came back. I needed to go through the book to ensure all of the text and images were:
In gray mode and 100% black.
Some text was showing up without color specification and I had left some of the images and all the news articles in color mode.
For the next few days, I made all the corrections as per their specifications. I also re-proofed the book several more times and…wouldn’t you know it, found more minor errors.
Once again I was thankful for the delays.
We notified CreateSpace that changes had been made and ordered a third proof copy.
A week later it arrived. It looks great!
If you click on the picture or this link here, you can order it from Amazon.com
(BTW, due to the complications, CreateSpace only charged for the first proof copy. Overall our experience with CreateSpace has been excellent.)
And the Moral of The Story is…?
When I’m running into roadblocks and I just can’t seem to get that writing project signed, sealed and delivered…maybe there’s a reason. If I believe God put this on my heart to do, then He’ll let me in on what’s going on. My job is to trust Him, to ask Him to show me, guide me and give me insight.
Wisdom is ours for the asking. Expect an answer. Wait patiently, and the answer will come.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord.”
To order your copy, click on the title here:
My latest published work, Roadblocks to Hell is now available on Amazon.com and on CreateSpace.
Fiction, based on a true story,
Roadblocks to Hell is an arresting, drama filled, and redemptive narrative
Roadblocks to Hell is based on a true story.
Convicted of trying to kill the police chief at 15, Walt faces years in adult prison.
This is the compelling story of Walther Colt, headed down the dark and dangerous road of life in prison – without parole.
Cali, a young Mennonite girl from a strict religious background remains his only friend.
Can she help? How will she help?
Follow Cali, and her family, as they spend decades investing in his life – in and out of prison.
Follow them as they learn to love and appreciate Walt as a friend, true and loyal to the end.
Some elements have been fictionalized. The author follows the characters’ lives and activities as documented or remembered. Dialogue and thoughts are created to depict each individual character’s nature, their belief systems and their reactions to the events depicted in the story.
Names have been changed but the stories are based on actual events.
In some cases, dialogue (quotes sometimes used) is from notes taken during interviews with individuals portrayed in the story. The prison interviews and the funeral service, for example, are mainly verbatim.
Some scenes are reconstructed from newspaper articles.
One of my goals was to help the reader understand why a Mennonite girl from a strict religious background would connect and stay connected with this angry, rebellious man whose life was so antithetical to that of her own.
Born into poverty and heading down a dangerous and tragic road, how will this young man’s life end?
The purpose of this book?
“I wanted to offer hope to those who have loved ones traveling down a similar, self-destructive road.
I wanted to offer encouragement to those already on that road; that your life has a purpose, can change and can become meaningful.
I wanted to help the reader understand why a Mennonite girl from a strict religious background would connect and stay connected with this angry, rebellious man whose life was so antithetical to that of her own.”
A Peek Inside?
Here’s an EXCERPT from ROADBLOCKS to HELL
The September Sun was still high in the sky as the young man ran. He ran like the wind, swift and sure footed across the grassy fields and through the muddy ditches. He ran like his very life depended on it.
Chest heaving, Walt stopped for a moment to catch his breath. Seeing a culvert he ducked into it, thankful for the protection it provided. From here he could survey the landscape quite nicely. He would head for the farm house about a half mile or so up the road. Beyond that he could see a cluster of trees. Taking a deep breath he did one more, check – check – check, triple check, before resuming his run.
Ahh, he had made a good choice. He could use that shirt hanging on the line. From behind the protection of several alders, he carefully scanned the yard and its contents. The place was quiet. He spotted one vehicle, but no movement, no one looking out the kitchen window. So far no dog. Luck was on his side it seemed.
He ran to the clothes line and grabbed the shirt. With no time to spare, he whipped it on and rolled up the sleeves.
A little big, but it would do.
Every moment of freedom was worth the price he would pay should he be captured. The things he had experienced at the hands of sick and hardened criminals was more than his wounded heart could endure. Today had been the last straw. Today he had done something about it. And that was why he had to break out.
He would have to keep going. Time was precious. Any moment now, the Stony Mountain head counters would know he was missing.
Highway traffic hummed in the distance. All he needed was a ride to the big city – mere miles away. The likelihood of being recognized in Winnipeg was almost nil. He’d keep a low profile and if people would just leave him alone…
A warm fall breeze rustled through the tall grasses around him. The smell of freedom had never been more inviting. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He would savor this moment, planting it deep inside the recesses of his mind. He might need it some day.
His thoughts turned toward home. The familiar stomping grounds were relentless in their calling and he must answer, but first he would need a piece of hardware, and he would need ammunition.
Walt managed to hitchhike his way to Winnipeg where he eluded police long enough to acquire a dangerous weapon (a shotgun), steal a car and hold a man hostage.
Although at the time Walt would have strongly disagreed, someone upstairs was looking out for him that day. His hostage was cool, calculating and calm, something Walt did not expect. eventually, Walt let down his guard and that’s when his captive overpowered him.
Walt’s brief break for freedom cost him dearly; a further two long years tacked onto his already lengthy sentence.
Back in the “safety” of solitary confinement, an unremorseful Walt stewed in his thoughts for revenge. Once again he resolved that one day he would get even, and one day he would live in a world without bars.
About the author:
Born into a Mennonite family, Carrie spent her childhood in a small farming community in southern Manitoba. With only a few remaining inhabitants, Horndean was once a thriving little community. At one time Main Street boasted two grocery/general stores, two auto mechanic garages, grandfather’s feed mill, grain elevator, egg grading station, post office, church and school. Grandpa’s barn and homestead still stands, now owned and cared for by strangers.
At the age of fifteen, Carrie’s family moved to Steinbach, Manitoba. After she married, she and her husband moved to British Columbia, where they still make their home in charming Abbotsford.
Carrie’s interest in the arts began as a young girl. An imaginative child, she loved to draw, read, write and listen to stories. Their school library consisted of a mere three short shelves of books, not nearly enough to satisfy her need for creative reading and story-telling.
After school Carrie would often run home to sit down beside their old fashioned, console radio and listen to Aunt Ollie – a half hour program where Aunt Ollie read fables, mysteries and other delightful tales.
Carrie’s passion for storytelling and desire to create continued after marriage and children. She took several writing courses as well as pursuing painting, drawing and film making.
Her love and passion for Jesus is evident in all her artistic endeavors. She writes for both adults and children, fantasy and adventure being her favorite.
The story of Walt was a story she had on her heart to write since his death in 2008. It is her hope and belief that this redemptive story will be an encouragement and give hope to the reader.