Saturday, October 6, 2012
I am finding that many who have recently joined the blog do not know about my book, recently published by Victoria's Heritage House Publishers, in November, 2011.
Well, we can't let that happen, can we.
My book is called, The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West, and it is available from many booksellers including Munro's Bookstore in Victoria (signed copies), Chapters elsewhere in B.C. and Amazon.
It is also available down under, as hundreds of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's descendants live in New Zealand and Australia (more than live in North America).
I have found it listed in England (in Oxford's famous bookstore, Blackwells), and it will be found everywhere in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, in University bookstores if nowhere else.
The author, obviously, is Nancy Marguerite Anderson.
Having an ISBN in hand often makes finding a book easier: The ISBN for this book is 978-1-926936-82-6.
For those of you who like E-books, it is available in e-book.
I will in future attempt to keep newcomers in touch as to why I am here, as many of the things that I write about on this blog come straight from the research I did for this book.
This blog is, in fact, giving more details of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story.
But if you are a fur trade descendant -- and there many of you out there -- this book will also detail many of the experiences that your ancestor would have endured.
Your ancestor might even be a character in the book!
Now, some of you know why I wrote the book -- the newcomers do not.
I can explain my interest in the fur trade by relating this simple speech, which I gave when I introduced the book at the Heritage House Author's Celebration in November.
It was an odd experience to look down at the speech after I had given it, and to realize that I had finally put into words what my book was about and why I had written it -- a very important thing for an author to be able to do.
I had struggled over my "elevator speech" for months, without success....
But as I have said many times over, the whole process of writing and publishing my first book was a huge learning experience.
It makes the second book (yes, I am writing a second book) very much easier to write.
Yes, Anderson will be a character in this new book, but one of many.
Here we go with the all-important Statement of Story and Theme, as I related it in front of the crowd of people who attended the Author's Celebration:
"Alexander Caulfield Anderson was the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1840's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid-filled rivers in search of a horse friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.
"Over the summers of 1846 and 1847, Anderson made four expeditions to and from Fort Langley and discovered two possible routes -- both of which bypassed the canyons and rapids that, years before, had foiled both Alexander Mackenzie (in 1793) and Simon Fraser (in 1808).
"His work should have been done at that point -- but in 1848, Native uprisings on the Columbia River -- the fur traders' traditional route to Fort Vancouver, in modern day Washington State -- forced them to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unfinished horse trails.
"The journey out to Fort Langley was a chaotic disaster -- the return journey to Kamloops no better.
"Horses fell from cliff tops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while voyageurs deserted Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields, and one man took his own life rather than tackle the return journey home.
"The following year proved equally difficult, and three or four years passed before the fur traders had a reasonable, if not entirely satisfactory, trail into the interior forts from Fort Langley.
"Anderson was there.
"He lived and worked through those turbulent years and he left a written record of those difficult times in his various post journals and in the private letters he wrote to the Governor of the Company.
"He was a writer and a historian; even as a young man in the fur trade he wrote manuscripts for publication that recorded historical details not written elsewhere.
"He was an artist who painted images of the Kamloops fort and of the Fraser River; he drew maps on which he marked all the old trails the Hudson's Bay Company men travelled.
"Because Anderson left behind such a comprehensive record of the turbulent years he lived through, he is considered by historians to be a significant figure in early British Columbia history.
"Historian Derek Pethick noted that, without Anderson's explorations, British Columbia could hardly have come into being.
""His discovery of an all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself."
"But Alexander Caulfield Anderson was my great grandfather, and I wanted to know who he was.
"It took me ten years to research his story; I accessed archives in Australia, in Scotland, and across the North American continent.
"As I wrote the book, I learned things that threatened to destroy the historic and heroic fur trade figure that lived inside my head.
"There were many occasions when I flinched -- but I think those "flinches" transformed Anderson into a man, with quirks and flaws and character and kindness and a "poetic courtesy" -- an extraordinary human being.
"I loved the journey of uncovering Alexander Caulfield Anderson, the man -- I hope that you, too, will take pleasure in plumbing the depths of this man's story, which is also British Columbia's history."