The sixth book by Whistler children's author Sara Leach brings her full circle to the start of her career.
Jake Reynolds: Against the Tide is a tale for seven-to-11-year-old boys and girls about Jake, who is caught between old and new friends, having fun and doing the right thing. An important choice needs to be made before the next tide comes in.
Its publisher, Poppy Productions, describes it as a great stocking stuffer for those who love the B.C. coast.
It is the follow-up to Leach's first book Jake Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle? published by Orca Books in 2009.
"I wrote the first draft of Against the Tide in 2008, and worked it for about a year. Then the first Jake Reynolds was published. I went back to this one and worked on it for several months... but the publishers didn't take it and so I put it away for a long time," Leach says.
Last year, she brought it out again and decided to get it published independently.
Why did she want to return to her hero after so long?
"I really love the characters Jake and Emily!" Leach laughs.
"And I really love the place, the island where it is set; I felt there was more story to tell. I wondered what would happen if they had a falling out, that she has a city friend. When you are on an island in the summer you get friendships that are just for that time. And sometimes when an outsider comes in, it can really change the dynamic. That is what I was exploring with the story."
Leach, the winner of the Red Cedar Book Award in 2011 for Count Me In, is giving a reading from Jake Reynolds: Against the Tide at the Whistler Public Library on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 4:30 p.m.
A teacher-librarian in the resort, Leach says the book is not based on real life, though the life lessons found in it are real enough.
"My characters are completely made up. The place, though, is based on Hernando Island, where I have been going my whole life," Leach says.
"The things that happen to Jake and Emily are completely fictional."
Leach says kids who love adventure stories and deep friendships will especially like the book. It will also appeal to youngsters who want to be transported to the great outdoors.
"And I've been told by some adults who have read it aloud that they enjoyed reading it, too. It makes a good read aloud," she says.
"Most of my books have a strong sense of place and being outdoors, so even though this one is set at the beach, it has a feeling of the forest. This is enhanced by it coming from Whistler."
Jake Reynolds: Against the Tide is available from Armchair Books and to order at Chapters. It costs $9.99.