Margaret Miller, a longtime Creston Valley resident, has written her first book. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Margaret Miller, a longtime Creston Valley resident, has written her first book. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Creston writer releases first book spanning six decades in two countries

Margaret Miller’s “Across the Water” includes vivid descriptions of the natural world

A local author has penned her first novel, “Across the Water”, a memoir sharing stories that span vivid landscapes across two countries.

Since 1987, Margaret Miller has called the Creston Valley home and marveled in the natural beauty of nearby mountains and lakes.

She was born and raised in small-town Australia, attended university in Sydney, and eventually immigrated to Canada to be with her husband in B.C.

“Kootenay lake was a big draw for both of us because we have a very outdoors lifestyle,” said Miller. “I’m very drawn to water.”

For 27 years, she taught English at the now renamed Kootenay River Secondary School. When she retired, Miller decided to pursue an adventure in creative writing.

“It’s funny, because years ago my husband once said that I should write a book when I retired,” she said. “And I just laughed, but I sort of ended up doing it without realizing it.”

She began writing down her adventures spanning six decades from Australia to Canada and connected with another local author, Luanne Armstrong, who served as her mentor throughout the process. After five years, she had amassed a collection of 22 short stories to form the book.

In December 2019, she also began writing the column “Valley Views” for the Advance, in which she draws from her own experience to address current events and issues.

“That was my first time finding an audience for myself,” said Miller. “It’s been a very good thing for me to connect with people, and the readers have been very positive.”

Once her book was near completion, a grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance provided the funds needed to design and publish “Across the Water”. An immense amount of thought and personal details went into each aspect of the novel, from the dedication to her parents on the first page, to the cover photo taken by her brother on their favourite Australian beach.

“Each story is a completely standalone piece,” said Miller. “You could really just dive in anywhere and start reading. There is a sense of nervousness in making these stories public. As an artist sharing my own work, I appreciate now every performer that gets up on stage and sings a song. When you read books all your life, it’s a very odd experience to see your name on the cover of one.”

“Across the Water” is now available for purchase for $25 at Cresteramics Gift Shop. Miller will also have a booth at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market on March 5where she will be signing copies of her books. For mail orders, contact her at miller.memoir@gmail.com.

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