It took Betty Annand until she was 90 to write her first novel.
Two years later, her third is about to be released.
Annand has just published the final instalment of her Gladys Tunner trilogy, much to the delight of her fans.
“Oh, they’ve been asking about it constantly,” said the 92-year-old Courtenay resident. “They’ve been phoning, checking up on me, waiting patiently. I wasn’t sure when it would get out.”
Writing it wasn’t the problem. Publishing it was a bit of a challenge.
Annand had to switch publishers, after Amberjack Publishing, which published the first two books of the trilogy, turned her down for the third book.
“It was my own fault, really,” said Annand. “I didn’t keep up my end of the contract. I was supposed to go around to book stores and promote it. But then I got cancer.”
Annand won her bout with cancer (“I think I’ve got it beat,” she said), found a new publisher, in Victoria, and now has the conclusion of the Gladys Tunner saga “on the shelves,” so to speak.
The trilogy follows the life of the “tenacious and inspiring” Gladys Tunner, who rose to high society from a childhood in the slums of London, England, only to have it all taken away from her.
The Girl from Old Nichol was the first book – chronicling the young life of Gladys.
The trilogy continued with The Woman from Dover. In the second book, Gladys lands employment as a housekeeper for a wealthy widower. A chance one-night encounter with her first true love produces an unplanned pregnancy, and when she confesses the situation to her employer, he offers to marry her and legitimize the child. All is well, until the biological father of the child returns to England and is introduced to his son, leaving Gladys with difficult choices to make.
The final book, The Lady From New York, opens with Gladys and her son arriving in America to begin their life with Angelo, leaving behind her two daughters with her second husband in England. Will she ever be allowed to have all three of her children with her? With a past including murder, fraud and adultery continuing to haunt her, Gladys struggles to make it all work, but she will have to adapt to a new way of being.
The Evergreen Club will host a book launch for Annand on Sunday, Sept. 15 in the lounge at The Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Annand will give a short reading, followed by tea, refreshments and a book signing.
“Last year’s book launch drew about 200 people so if I could get that many again I’d be thrilled,” said Annand.
The Lady From New York is also available online at https://amzn.to/2LeqmgA and at the Laughing Oyster Book Shop in Courtenay. The first two books of the trilogy are also available online.
Purchase The Girl from Old Nichol at https://amzn.to/32l9PND
The Woman from Dover can be found at https://amzn.to/2zHECrM
“It’s been fun doing it – I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Annand. “I never thought I could write a novel, and now I’ve done three.”
And is this it?
“Well, this story has definitely ended, but I am working on a new book now, about Gladys’s grandsons – two Englishmen coming to Canada in the early 1900s,” she said. “But I don’t know if I will ever get around to publishing it.”