How does a writer find inspiration to write his or her first novel? Where do they find the drive to write page after page until they reach the end and judge it ready for publication? There are likely endless ways that these questions can be answered. For author Joey Baumgartel, the answer can be traced back to one Grade 12 writing course.
In this writing course, their teacher would provide a sentence from which the class will compose a written piece. They can come up with a poem, a short story, or some freeflow stream of consciousness. In one session, their teacher gave them the following writing prompt: “George never believed a coffin could hold so many marbles.” From this intriguing sentence, an idea was born, the seed that will give us Marbles the novel was planted.
Marbles is a novel of a special brother-sister bond. It tells the story of Keegan Owen and his sister Laurie. One day, under Keegan’s watch, Laurie is kidnapped from a public park. Years pass and Laurie is presumed dead. Keegan, however, believes differently. He thinks that his sister is alive and well and that he needs to find her. He sets out to do just that despite his father’s unsupportive stance on the matter. While he didn’t have his father’s support, his neighbor, Melanie decides to aid him in his search for Laurie. In this search, Keegan experiences many life-changing discoveries ---- about himself and the people around him. He also begins to see just how strong and special a brother-sister bond can be.
Author Joey Baumgartel, a talented writer from a very young age, finished this novel when she was completing her BFA in Theater from the University of Victoria. She relates that the process of writing and completing this novel was a challenge. She had a sporadic writing style, with spurts of non-stop writing and months with no progress. She admits that she didn’t want finishing Marbles to become a chore, considering that it was going to be her first novel. She wanted it to remain fun and full of passion.
It took her three years to finish Marbles. But she did finish. She came up with such a stunning debut novel that the time spent and the process should not be a deterrent for anyone who also aspires to be a writer. With the right amount of inspiration and grit, there is no doubt that anyone who has a story in their head can translate ideas into words and grace the world with a beautiful piece of literature.
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Jocelyn (Joey) Baumgartel currently lives in New Westminster, B.C. She attended the University of Victoria for Theater and English, graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. She has been writing her whole life and had her first work published when she was twelve-years old, which consisted of a short story about a magical mirror. She then went on to more serious work in a grade twelve writing class in which is novel was inspired. She also wrote short plays throughout university and continues to write plays. This is her first novel.