An Edmonton author is thrilled to have her historical fiction novel chosen for Big Library Read, a digital program connecting readers around the world to the same e-book at the same time.
Jaima Fixsen co-authored The Girl in His Shadow with her colleague Regina Sirois from Kansas, under the pseudonym Audrey Blake.
Fixsen met Sirois in an online writing contest. Both writers share an interest in medical history, and were inspired.
"I've always been intrigued by a lot of the real-life women who participated in unconventional roles through history," Fixsen said.
While studying to be an occupational therapist, Fixsen's course involved dissecting a human cadaver.
She pulled on her own personal experience and knowledge when researching the novel.
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Set in Victorian London, the story is about aspiring surgeon Nora Beady, who has spent the better part of her life studying anatomy and working with her foster father in his clinic. She tries to balance who she is with society's expectations of women.
Big Library Read is a digital book club run by OverDrive, a digital lending service used by most libraries in North America, on its app called Libby.
Each year, the book club chooses three books to spotlight under the Big Library Read banner. The chosen books are made available to all registered book-club members without waiting lists.
"I don't think it ever gets old to just have a single person read your book and enjoy it. But the idea of so many people reading is kind of exciting," Fixsen said.
Fixsen said about two million people will see her book when they open up the Libby app, and potentially 100,000 people could read the story.
"The exciting thing about this is that anyone at any participating library can read the book," she told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.
"There's no hold and no wait period for either the audio book or the e-book."
When Fixsen first started writing, she found it difficult to find representation, and chose to self-publish instead.
The Girl in His Shadow now has a sequel, The Surgeon's Daughter. It was released in May.