The idea for Lacombe author Fran Kimmel’s second book began with the image of a young girl on the floor making shadow puppets.
It’s a fitting scene of symbolism for her novel, No Good Asking, which evolved into an illuminating tale of a girl, Hannah, who was originally thought of as more of a shadow, shining light into one family’s life during a snowy winter holiday.
Kimmel officially launched the book last Thursday at the Fireside Lounge at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. About 40 people were in attendance, but she took a short break from signing to speak with the Lacombe Globe about her latest book, which, while different from her first, also centres around young children.
“I’ve worked with troubled families in the past – Boys and Girls club, as a youth worker, various other places. I’ve seen a lot of troubled kids and I can really appreciate how they rise up,” she said. “I’ve always been highly attracted to little resilient people who can rise up and do well in difficult circumstances.”
In No Good Asking, an abused 11-year-old named Hannah Finch is taken in, reluctantly, by the Nyland family, who have moved back to the childhood home of the father, Eric. The family, however, is dealing with problems of their own – not the least of which is finding Hannah a new home after Christmas.
However, as Kimmel’s website describes it “Hannah proves to be more balm than burden, and the Nylands discover that the only thing harder than taking her in may be letting her go.”
“I want people to know it’s a book about hope. It’s a book about neighbours helping neighbours, about how people, no matter how flawed they are, can do good things. It’s about small kindnesses – how people can change lives with small kindnesses,” Kimmel said.
The book is poised to receive positive feedback, with Canadian Living Magazine already naming it one of their “Satisfying reads to cozy up with this fall.”
Writing her own novel is something Kimmel has always wanted to do. She’s written for corporations, non-profits, small businesses and media in a variety of different aspects, from radio dramas, to features and teen magazine columns. Eventually, she began crafting her own short stories.
In fact, she says when she was writing her first novel, The Shore Girl, she originally thought she was writing a series of short stories, but ultimately it morphed into a complete and quite successful novel. Published in 2012, the book was named to the Canada Reads Top 40 list, and also won the 2013 Alberta Reader’s Choice award.
Kimmel believes she definitely has a few more novels in her, and is already working on a third book. While she won’t spill much on the details of that book as she’s still in the midst of the creative writing process, she did say it was set at a memory care cottage – inspired, at least in part, by her own experience with her mother who calls the memory care unit at Royal Oak Village home.
For now, the focus will remain on her latest novel.
No Good Asking is available through Chapters, Coles and Amazon, as well as Sunworks in downtown Red Deer. It will soon be available as an audiobook, as well.
She will also have a couple more book launch parties outside of Lacombe, including Oct. 21 at Audrey’s Books in Edmonton, and Oct. 26 at the Red Deer Public Library at 7:30 p.m. Anyone wishing to attend the event in Red Deer, must register in advance with the library.
For more information on Fran Kimmel and her works, visit www.frankimmel.com.