The Delamere Boys
It was 1966 in a small town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies when Reggie Delamere, age eleven, learns that washing dishes at the local restaurant means that he has some supper, with enough left over to take to school for lunch the next day.
At the age of sixteen, dressed in his new Canadian Armed Forces fatigues, Reggie is a few steps further along with his goal of becoming a somebody. And then, we find him at age 40, in a middle-aged crisis. He sets out for Toronto to find his foster mother and the only real home he has ever known. Little did he know this journey would include fathering two sons.
Frankie Delamere, Reggie’s son, is a wanna-be engineer just like his dad. He figured out early on that ladies-of all-ages like a boy in a cowboy hat and he knows how to work it.
Calvin, the baby, is born to be an artist. He was drawing women’s fashions from the get-go. He comes on to the dating scene leaning toward having as many boyfriends as he has girlfriends. He decides early on that there is no need to choose one gender over the other.
In spite of all their differences, the three Delamere boys patch up each other’s misadventures as best they can. Reggie watches his son Frankie take one fork in the road while Calvin chooses a different path altogether.
The Delamere Boys, will be available for purchase in the winter, 2022.
Q & A
The Delamere Boys
Q. Why did you choose Nelson, B.C. as a starting point for Reggie’s adventure?
A. Back closer to that same time frame, I knew a little boy who lived in Nelson, B.C. He was the inspiration for the protagonist’s character, Reggie Delamere. I thought it would be good for the two of them, one real and one fictional, to be age 16 in the same town.
Q. Why Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)? How did you research this lifestyle?
A. I had to educate the protagonist, but he really had no other options at age 16. I know a few people that went through the CAF to get their education. One is a neurosurgeon now, living the good life. So, I researched the CAF by watching all their videos on YouTube. I was very impressed with what I saw. It was easy to develop my character in a credible way after doing this research.
Q. What other research did you have to do for this book?
A. I find that with a lot of writers of fiction, there is a bit of truth in the warp and weft of the story. The addresses in the book, such as Eldon Avenue, Flintridge Road, Chilliwack CAF base, University of British Columbia, Playtor Boulevard and the California Women’s Prison are all real. Some of them I know intimately, but not the California Women’s Prison. Really.
Q. What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
A. One challenge I had was matching up birthdates and ensuring that the characters and their storylines did not differ from the first book in the series, Hazel G. The Delamere Boys had to follow the sequence to a T, as characters from both books are intertwined throughout both stories. What separates the two books though, although they have many of the same characters and many of the same locations, is that the first book is from the point of view of Hazel G, and the second book is from the point of view of Reggie Delamere.
Q. Didn’t you think it would have been a lovely story to tell that Reggie made up with his bio mom? Why not?
A. No. Not at all. Real life is not a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after and I certainly didn’t want to write that sort of story. All my books are full of births, deaths, divorce, car accidents, house fires, and broken hearts, right along with the hopes and dreams of characters coming to fruition.
Q. What is the book’s central theme?
A. The book’s central theme is complicated, to say the least. Basically, it’s the story of the long way home, but it is the second book in a series, so you could say that the theme is to satisfy an open-ended storyline in the first book. Another theme is one of finding love in an extended family structure in Canada in contemporary times.
Q. Why did you structure the book on its timeframe of 1955 to 2022?
A. The timeframe of 1955 to 2022 was chosen to align the story with the first book, Hazel G. The main character, Reggie Delamere, had to be born in 1955, to match up with other events that happened just before he was born. The story includes the global pandemic, so I wanted it to end in 2022 to let the writer know that the storyline was once again on an upswing and leaving the new generation of characters who had survived the pandemic a new set of challenges to deal with in the next book. The pandemic made the timing to end the story in 2022, with two new babies being born into the family.
Q. Did you base your characters on real people? Do you know a woman that spent time in that California prison?
A. Although the characters are fictional, writers tend to write what they know. And who they know. And no, I don’t know a particular woman that spent time in the California Women’s big house. But I know several that should have.
Q. Do you have a favorite character other than the protagonist? Who is your least favorite character?
A. Yes. My favorite character, other than Reggie Delamere is his foster mother, Hazel Cavenaugh, also known as Hazel G. She grew up in an orphanage during the Great Depression and suffered from many loved ones dying in the book, so it was my greatest pleasure to write her death scene as a rather happy state of affairs, at the age of 91 years old, as she was ready to go. As for my least favorite character, well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. It’s rather obvious when you read the book.
Q. In this particular book, you didn’t include a prologue as you have done in past books. Why? Your protagonist’s back story is never really discussed much. Wouldn’t it have helped you define Reggie and let us know what made him tick?
A. I don’t think so. It was better to start the book when he was 16 years old. That allows the reader to know that the boy was looking forward to things to come. It gives us hope that he’s going to be okay, rather than getting pulled down into the frightfully desperate childhood that he suffered through. The book is meant to be entertaining and uplifting, and not as a commentary on poor parenting.
Q. Which characters in The Delamere Boys are also in your other novels? Why?
A. This book is the second book in a series. Of course, it shares characters from the first book in the series, Hazel G, but it also shares characters from my first two books, 7 Russell Hill Road and 49 Parkwood Avenue. I did this because The Delamere Boys includes the second generation of all the past characters. Those past characters were written as strong characters when their children were younger. Now, in the Delamere Boys, those children are all grown up, with their own sets of ups and downs. That’s the beauty of trilogies and series. We fall in love with a certain character, and we don’t want to say goodbye when the story ends.
Q. Isn’t it a little far-fetched to think that Reggie, a handsome, educated, and successful man would still be single at age 39? Why?
A. The whole story is about Reggie finding himself. And, at age 39, like a lot of us, he hadn’t found himself yet. He had to go back into his past and figure it out, and a wife or partner at that point of his life would not have fit into the storyline at all. Besides, he was an army man. He was a man’s man. We love him dearly and we want him to be happy, but as we all know, we’ve got to do the homework to get to that stage, don’t we?
Hazel G is a story of cause and effect, self-invention, and love and loss. The timeline of the story is from 1934 to 2016, hence there are a lot of historical facts mixed in with this work of fiction. But really, when you think about it, nothing has changed. Not really. At least, not in the crazy, topsy-turvy world of relationships.
The character’s story spans her lifetime from nine years old in an orphanage to ninety-one years of age moving from Eldon Avenue, just off the Danforth in Toronto, Canada, to her little bungalow on Flintridge Road. It’s a testament to how many of our own mothers, grandmothers and old aunties survived the 1930s depression, World War 11, and all the ups and downs in between in the big city of Toronto.
It was the dirty thirties when Hazel was dropped off at the door of an orphanage. She learned right then and there at the tender age of nine, how to make lemonade from lemons.
After suffering a serious burn at her workhouse, she receives plastic surgery from one of Toronto’s first plastic surgeons at East General Hospital. She goes on to discover her birth certificate that had been hidden away, and she accepts her First Nations status up at Manitoulin Island. After burying two husbands, she reconnects with a Canadian Armed Forces colonel who brings an entirely new viewpoint into her life.
Another adventure takes her to Canmore, Alberta where she finds a long-lost sister only to have the connection broken once again.
We cry for her as she buries two husbands and one daughter, and laughs when she gets so drunk with her girlfriend that she can’t stand up.
Hazel G is a woman to love. She lives a long life full of adventure, trials and tribulations that she meets head-on without blinking an eye.
Hazel G is the first book of this new series. It will be available for purchase in spring, 2022.
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter where you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird