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Home is where the words are

Thetis Island couple Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes help fuel each other’s passion for writing. - courtesy Gary Geddes
Thetis Island couple Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes help fuel each other’s passion for writing.
— image credit: courtesy Gary Geddes

The old adage about opposites attracting apparently fell apart with authors Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson.

The married couple of Thetis lsland writers respects and encourages each other's work and ideas, hatched in their home boasting space for each to create.

"I have a loft office; Gary's at the end of the hall on the main floor, but we can still talk to each other," said Eriksson.

"Her's is the bridge; mine's the engine room," joked Geddes.

Results from their productive pad surface at Wednesday's 6 p.m. launch of their new, respective books at Duncan's Old Firehouse Wine Bar.

Eriksson will introduce her novel High Clear Bell Of Morning; husband Geddes debuts his collection of selected poems in What Does A House Want?

Geddes, 73, seemingly wanted a partner who shared his love of words when he met Eriksson at a birthday party some seven years ago — fresh from reading her novel Decomposing Maggie.

"We've got a love of language," Geddes said. "That's why we're on Thetis, scribbling away in different rooms."

Eriksson, 57, said she "knew about this mysterious grandfather who lived at French Beach, but I'd never read anything he'd written.

"Coincidentally, I'd bought a copy of Gary's Sailing Home to give to my father, who's an avid sailor. I read it right after meeting Gary, so I'd know who he was."

"You could say we were between the covers before we met," chuckled Geddes, who eventually landed a date with Eriksson — and married her in 2007.

When not kayaking, they're busy paddling through prose and poems.

"We both write whenever we get the spirit," said Geddes. "I'm more compulsive, but Ann's more disciplined than I am."

"I started writing as a working single parent," said Eriksson. "I used the time I had, which was very little. I call it the 'whenever method' of writing — If I'm on a roll with a project, I'll stay up into the night."

"I find it fairly easy to work when Ann's here. We get a bit more done when the other's not here, but its not quite as much fun," said Geddes.

"We're each others' first readers," added Eriksson. "It took a while to develop that trust; it probably help that we write different genres."

"Ann tells lies, and I work with the truth," laughed Geddes. "I think I know when I'm writing crap, but at a stage where it's showable, I'm grateful for any kind of constructive criticism."

Eriksson's next novel, in draft stages, explores "themes of homelessness and fraud."

Geddes aims to issue a short book of poems in a year or so.

He's also penning a non-fiction book about links between Native residential schools and First Nations' hospitals.

Wednesday's dual reading in Duncan is their first.

"It's the first time we have books ready at the same time, and in the same season," said Eriksson, "so it was a great opportunity to do some promotion together."

Your ticket

What: Authors Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes

When: May 7, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Old Firehouse Wine Bar, Ingram Street, Duncan.

Tickets: Free. Call 250-597-3473.

The books:

High Clear Bell of Morning illustrates the strain on families facing mental illnesses, and draws attention to the inadequate system that is meant to help. Ruby's life begins unravelling at 19, as she begins hearing voices. Her father, Glen —a marine biologist studying West Coast orcas — becomes desperate to protect and understand his seemingly unrecognizable daughter.

Ann Eriksson is a biologist and author of novels Decomposing Maggie, In the Hands of Anubis, and Falling From Grace, 2011 silver medialists in the Independent Publishers Book Awards.

What Does a House Want? Poet Gary Geddes takes aim at multinationals, Israeli-Palestinian violence, the guilt of Leon Trotsky, POWs, assassins, mad bombers, China's bloody Emperor Qin Shihuang, and the reputation of Ezra Pound.

Gary Geddes has written and edited some 40 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, criticism, translation, and anthologies. His national and international awards include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), and the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence.

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