June 22nd, 2024

Local author’s debut novel features history of Crowsnest Pass


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman For the Lethbridge Herald on July 7, 2021.

photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Self published author Tracey Nyland, brings forward stories told by her grandmother based on the people who lived in the Crowsnest Pass in the early 1900s.

From a box of pictures and recollections from a grandmother, a new novel has sprung based on events that took place in the Crowsnest Pass in the early 1900s.
Local author Tracey Nyland recently published her first novel called ‘The Mountain that Walks.’ The novel is based on stories passed on by her grandmother who lived in Frank, with a dose of fiction to fill in the gaps. Nyland self-published it in November 2020.
Nyland said that it took her 13 years to write the novel, as there were many stories to choose from and a lot of research to be done. She wanted the story to be based on as much reality as possible, so she spent many years collecting information.
One day while spending time with her grandmother, Nyland found a box of pictures. Some pictures dated back to the 1890s. That was when her grandmother started telling her stories about the people in the pictures.
“My grandmother was born in Frank in 1917, and she was able to tell me everything back into the 20s and 30s of what life was like there,” said Nyland.
Most of the stories revolve around widows who after many coal miners died, had to raise their children alone and needed a way of doing so. They had to get creative and find different ways to earn an income, and some of those stories are portrayed in the book.
“It’s about all the things they did to survive, how the community came together and looked after each other,” said Nyland.
Nyland said that one thing that prompted her to write the novel was the simplicity of their life, while enduring hardship. She found it very interesting and appealing compared to how we live now, where everything is so high tech and complicated.
“She just brought those people in the pictures to life for me, and it just sort of evolved into thinking I could write a book about this. About all these amazing people and that piece of history,” said Nyland.
Nyland said that anyone who is interested in history, especially local history, will enjoy her book. Not only because it is based on true events but because the fiction makes it even more interesting.
Dianne King, a Lethbridge resident, has a book club for which she purchased eight copies of Nyland’s novel. She provided the following review.
“I found this book a delight to read. Nyland has woven a poignant and memorable saga based on stories shared by her maternal grandmother, Rita. One life of poverty, hunger, and hardship was replaced by another – the difference being ‘hope’ in the life lived in the Crowsnest Pass. The harsh history of mining conditions, the bonds of friendship and loyalty, the love of family and hopes for the children, all make for a beautiful story.”
Nyland said that this novel only tells the story from 1904 to 1927 and she is working on a second book to tell the story from 1930 to 1953.
Her novel can be purchased by contacting Nyland directly by calling 403-393-6573 or via email to indiana672@yahoo.ca. The cost is $18 and she will deliver it directly.
It is also available at Analog Books, The Purple Hippo Boutique in Lethbridge,
Crockets Trading Post in Bellevue, Crowsnest Pass ($25) and on amazon.ca.

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