Award-winning author Renée Veillet lives in Calgary with her husband Vaughn and sons Connor & Carter. She has a Diploma in Business Administration at Grande Prairie Regional College and is currently studying writing at the University of Calgary.
In this short Q&A Renée talks more about her family history and the events that inspired Rings of Time:
Why are you so passionate about Canadian history?
As I learned about my own family history during the settling of Canada’s west, I became fascinated by Canadian history. My ancestors endured hardships that were unimaginable; my great grandfather was forced to leave his family behind in order to seek work in Canada. The first family member he could afford to bring over travelled in steerage class on the Titanic and did not survive. When he was able to return to his homeland finally to collect his family, half of them, including his wife, had perished from illness. I feel a debt of gratitude towards my ancestors and want to honour them by sharing their stories with my children and the generations to come.
Why did you choose to write Rings of Time from the perspective of 18-year-old Emilie?
I wanted readers to learn about Canadian history, not from textbooks, but as a way of life. I hope readers can immerse themselves in the setting and picture themselves thrown into a strange world so that they can react to the ideas, attitudes and tendencies of that time period.
If you could travel backwards to one moment in Canadian history, what would it be and why?
I would travel to Canada during the summer of 1914, to the beginning of World War One. A considerable amount has been written about the Great War, highlighting the experiences of the brave men and women who served on the front lines, but much less is written about what happened at home in Canada. I would be interested in seeing first-hand how the war impacted Canadian women.
Rings of Time ends on a sinking ship bound for England. What is next for Liam and Emilie?
Even though I cannot really travel to Canada at the beginning of World War One, that is just where Emilie and Liam find themselves in the next book. Amongst Liam’s aristocratic family, Emilie feels inept and wonders if it a foolish to believe that she and Liam could bridge the large gap between their social class. The war looming, Emilie is frightened that Liam will be one of the hundreds of thousands of men who lose their lives.