CBS trail and its connections inspires author’s first novel

Kelligrews resident Tina Mardel Stewart is an avid walker of Conception Bay South's many trails wooded areas and coastline. As she’s walking, especially by the water, words and images often make their way into her mind. These words and images have most recently congealed into the form of The Walkers, Stewart’s first published work of fiction.

The Walkers tells the story of four strangers, and a rescued Labrador husky, who would be strangers no more by the end of the novel.

The old railway bed turned walking trail connects the separate Newfoundland communities the characters live in, connecting them as well even though they may not know it at the time.

“I just started thinking about the communities along the shore, our history, our culture, all those sorts of things,” Stewart said. “I kind of ended up creating these four people and they have certain things in common but they’re quite different.”

Like Stewart, two of the strangers are frequently out beating the trails, while the other characters are homebodies, calmly observing their communities from behind their windows or gardens.

Although a work of fiction, the characters are inspired by people Stewart has observed throughout her life, and by her own personality.

“I didn’t really have it all plotted out, I think they came individually,” she said. “As I began writing they just kind of grew unto themselves.”

Although Stewart has short stories and photos of her rug hooking work published in anthologies and magazines, publishing a novel is a first for her.

“My goal was to have something I’ve written printed in my hands,” she said.

The book reached her hands for the first time this week, which she said was an unbelievable experience.

“It was like re-reading a book that you’ve read before, but a while ago,” she said. “There were things that are familiar about it but it didn’t entirely feel like it was mine.”

Stewart feels that a wide age range would be interested in the book, but people with an interest in the outdoors, as well as people with rescued animals, may pay particular attention to her story.

“I’m really pleased so far with the people who have bought it and read it. Their reactions have been really encouraging and really positive.”

The official book launch for The Walkers will be at the Conception Bay South Public Library on June 1st from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Chad Feehan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News