Becky Smith, who writes under her pen name of Rebekah Lee Jenkins has launched her second book, Hope in Oakland, a prequel to The Night They came for Til. The event was a book signing at Hillcrest Museum on June 8 with approximately 200 guests in attendance to pick up a signed copy of the newly released and long anticipated novel.
Becky Smith says she was overwhelmed with the support she received at the event and despite being completely exhausted, is out delivering copies to various stores in Brandon and surrounding areas.
“I can’t believe how many people came out to the launch,” she stated. “”I am so honoured to have the support of everyone and I can’t thank them enough.”
Hope in Oakland is an historical fiction based on actual fact and real people, the first divorce in Canada and Canada’s first female lawyer, Clara Brett Martin. It’s based on real life events that happened right here in and around Souris and documents the story of Pricilla who was introduced to us in The Night They Came for Til. The story covers Pricilla’s divorce, the first divorce on record in Manitoba from 1917 and although Smith has taken liberties with the dates, Priscilla’s story is true, every heart-breaking sentence.
“In the interest of privacy, I don’t disclose who Priscilla’s character was based on, but I will continue to think of her as her trial transcript absolutely haunts me,” says Smith “She lived in Haywood, Manitoba in the early 1920’s which I found even worse, this trial took place less than a century ago.”
Pricilla’s lawyer, Cora Rood actually developed into the book’s main character but in the beginning Becky didn’t know that was going to happen. “I didn’t know it when I first started writing this story that my character, Cora Rood would become my main character,” she explained. “It wasn’t my intention but as the story evolved, she had so much to say and I had to put it down on paper.”
Becky’s accomplishments with her first novel drew the attention of the people who run the Margaret Laurence House in Neepawa. She was invited to be the author in residence in that historic location and Becky says she was honoured and humbled to be in that atmosphere writing her book. “It was an inspiration to just be there in Margaret Laurence’s house where so much of her inspiration would have come from,” remarked Becky.
Hope in Oakland is available on Amazon, Timeless Treasures, Lady of the Lake, Dundee Design and Poor Michael’s Bookstore.