Gwen Tuinman




Story Behind a Book Cover

When you’re ready to publish your novel, choosing an image for the cover is no small feat—especially when the story is literary and explores a variety of themes. I faced that challenge when preparing The Last Hoffman for publication. Here’s a peek at my journey to selecting an image.

The Last Hoffman is a tale of sacrifice, betrayal and desolation that begins in 1950’s and ends thirty years later in a floundering papermill town where an awkward widower and a young mother band together to overcome their tragic pasts. A lot of the conflict in the story centres around water, so at first I thought of a waterfall Continue reading “Story Behind a Book Cover”

Starting to Write a New Novel

I’ve just finished writing a novel. The research phase began while I was still writing a previous novel.  I purchased books, scoured the internet, interviewed people, and to be sure the setting details were just right, I travelled to the geographic areas where the story takes place.

This novel was written over the course of two years during which the characters came alive.  Although couldn’t see them, I could feel their presence, Continue reading “Starting to Write a New Novel”

Feeling Nostalgic — Surrounded: On Living Among Books


While I was growing up, my hometown continued to shift and alter as well. The historical building that once housed our library is long gone, and in its place, stands a modern structure.

tillsonburg public libraryVisiting  the original building felt like stepping onto a page of history. Beautiful architectural features welcomed patrons: columns, a hardwood foyer, oak bannisters, arched doorways and ornate trim work. I still remember, with great fondness, the old book smell, sagging shelves, and card catalogue system.   Before setting out on summer vacations to northern Ontario cottages, I would sign out an armful of books to read on splintery docks.

My first elementary school was called the Goshen Side Road Elementary.  Cow pastures surrounded our playground on three sides.  With only three classrooms, you can well imagine, there was no room for a library in our building.  Visits by the bookmobile brought us no end of joy. This travelling library was a big purple transport truck; bookcases lined the inside of the trailer.  Each child was allowed to sign out two books, then the truck was off to visit the next school.

Today, waiting for a book to arrive means I am waiting for my Chapters/Indigo order to come through the mail slot.  I’ve resisted the move to e-books, so far.  There is a tactile experience to holding a book that can’t be satisfied by holding a Kindle.f7e1b2dfa11a776abbbae4e828784452

I must confess that technology is adding to my book experience in an unexpected way.

Through the magic of Pinterest, I am curating a world where I am surrounded by books.  When I need to reconnect with that old book smell or surround myself with a gallery of books that could never fit within my house, I log on, and walk slowly through my collection of nostalgic library and bookshop photos.

Please click on the link to follow me:   Libraries and Bookshops.


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