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  • Angela Mouly

Area Author Releases New Romance


Latest book cover from Helen Row Toews. Photo submitted

Helen Row Toews, from Marshall, Saskatchewan, has just released her first romance novel, “One Golden Summer.” Toews is known for her four fantasy books in the “Runestaff Chronicles” series, and three humour books that are a collection of columns.

She has spent 20 years as a bus driver, and is an educational assistant at Marshall School. She grew up, and resides on the land where her father raised Charolais cattle for 60 years. Now her brother continues the family legacy.

When she was 11-years-old her mother wrote to famous Canadian author, W. O. Mitchell, and asked him how a young girl could go about becoming an author, and he actually wrote back instructing her to get her daughter to write every day.

“I did write, but didn’t pursue it due to fear of failure. Then I had a family. When I started writing columns in 2015 I was led down another path,” said Toews. “I also had an uncle and was sitting at his bedside in his later years, when he told me he had many things in his life he’d wanted to do but always thought he had time – now he was out of time. He told me not to let that happen. So, I came home and wrote the first book of the fantasy series in a month and a half. He really inspired me.”

The fantasies, she said were easier because she had the idea for them 15 years before she wrote them in 2019; she just didn’t begin before being spurred on. She finds the columns the most challenging because she said it’s not always easy to find something humorous or interesting every week. Funny things always happen, but she said they may not always be worthy of a newspaper article, so she keeps a running list so she can compile them and create something worthy of being read.

The fantasies she said, people have likened to The Lord of the Rings” or “Chronicles of Narnia”. Of course she humbly acknowledged they may not be at that quality, but that’s the sort of fantasy they are - more about the epic journey into another land. She plans to continue on and said her romances are the escape, holiday destination type.

Toews has a love for France and has travelled there a few times. This story begins in Saskatchewan, but most of it takes place in France, and she said there is a bit of a mystery to it. Because there is some travel it’s an escapist sort of read, and she said that’s what drew her to the new genre; her love of describing destinations that she cherishes or dreams of going to.

For young writers or those that are thinking of starting the process, she suggested not only to write every day, but really to follow their dreams.

“I waited 50 years to take a stab at it. I wish to goodness I started earlier, but there is no time like the present. To improve, read a lot and write a lot. I don’t think you should let fear of failure or anything else hold you back. You can go the route of self-publishing. There are many routes to becoming an author these days,” said Toews.

Even though they are classified in the young adult category, she said 95 per cent of her readers are adults. At one time, her series was listed as number six on Amazon’s best seller epic fantasy list.

“I hope the romance will do as well or better. I want to achieve this dream. You have to be tenacious. I could have given up already, but you have to be determined, you have to stick with it to make it, and you get better,” said Toews.

To purchase her books, you can visit Coles Bookstore or Dawn’s Interiors in Lloydminster, or online by visiting Amazon.com. She is also looking for an outlet in Vermilion.

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