When I say train wreck, I don’t mean the writing of the book or the book is a train wreck. Though, us writers have many of those train wreck moments and we work to reshape chaos into order with our craft. My main character of this “train wreck” work in progress is the wreck.

Rose is a broken woman who turns to alcohol, drugs, music, dancing, and sex to escape her dark secret.

It’s written in first person from her perspective. In the beginning, she loses her job and her apartment. Her music idol DJ Sly ends up helping her out and giving her a place to stay and work until she can get on her feet. But he’s harbouring a secret of his own. Mat is Death.

As Mat is hunted by the police for being around too many dead people, Rose falls farther down the rabbit hole of poor coping mechanisms. Only they can help each other out. Rose’s addictions might just run Mat into harm’s way.

My biggest challenge (beyond my disability) is the fact that Mat is an Indigenous character. I have been working with children and romance author S. P. Joseph Lyons as a consultant on all things Algonquin to help inform my work, conducting extensive research, and checking my white privilege as often as possible.

I live in a world with colonialist ideology embedded with racism. I work hard to avoid racist words and actions, but my white privilege can easily blind me to this systemic and ingrained racism. It is my biggest fear that, although a work of fiction, I could harm Indigenous peoples with my words and so I will be treading carefully through this project. Carefully, slowly, and with an open mind and heart.

I question if I’m even allowed to write this story. I have faced oppression and discrimination, but I have not faced Indigenous oppression and discrimination. I am not Indigenous. Though my book isn’t a story about residential schools or the abuses Indigenous peoples have experienced since white people came to this land, it is. Mat’s experience as a character cannot be free of that world scarred by colonialist hate and destruction. It is part of the story of every Indigenous (and Canadian) person and descendant today.

My WIP is ultimately a story of facing the dark within (a common theme in much of my writing) and the fear of death. I’ll write the story as best as I can and consult the Algonquin community. Should the community reject my work as potentially harmful, I will not seek publication and the story will remain locked away forever. Here is hoping I can get it right.