When June Bourgo sat down to write Winter’s Captive she wanted to tell a personal story that would help women trapped in abusive relationships.
By the time her debut novel was finished, she not only explored the leftover emotions from her own troubled marriage, but also had completed a taut thriller about physical and emotional survival.
“All the things I have learned I wanted to give back to women,” Bourgo said during a phone interview from her Clinton home.
Bourgo will be at Chapters Indigo in Kamloops on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a signing of her book. This is the first bookstore event she’s done to promote the novel, she said. But she has attended readings and signings in libraries.
“I’m very excited,” said Bourgo. “They (the readings and signings) have been very positive so far.”
Winter’s Captive is a work of fiction, but the emotions are real, she said. It tells the story of Georgia Charles who, having separated from her cheating husband and discovered she is pregnant with his child, finds herself in a perilous predicament.
In a twist of fate, she is kidnapped by a pair of bank robbers and taken into the northern wilderness of B.C. Georgia escapes, but finds herself lost and alone, kilometres away from civilization.
Georgia makes her way to a cabin, where she is forced to wait out the winter with minimal food and the prospect of delivering her baby on her own.
Bourgo said the physical and spiritual journey Georgia takes mirrors the one she took during her nine-year abusive marriage.
“Just writing about it, even though it was a fictitious story, it was a healing process for me. I still had to deal with the emotions and everything that I had gone through,” she said.
It took Bourgo nine years to write Winter’s Captive and land a publisher in Ontario-based Asteroid Publishing. The book changed a lot, going from a James Michener-like saga to a stripped down story of survival.
Bourgo intends to keep writing, she said. What she’s learned during her public appearances is her book, although intended for women, is also appealing to men.
“Maybe it’s because of the outdoors and it’s about physical survival as well as mental,” said Bourgo.
A sequel to Winter’s Captive is in the works.