Comox author Loraine Hartley, with a few copies of her debut novel, “My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family.” Photo supplied

Comox author Loraine Hartley, with a few copies of her debut novel, “My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family.” Photo supplied

Comox author pens novel about life in a blended family

Generally speaking, authors write their books, then determine a title.

But not always.

Loraine Hartley’s experience was the exact opposite, which is somewhat fitting, for a book titled, My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family (And Me).

“The title of the book was stuck in my head for a couple of years, and it wouldn’t go away,” she said. “So I thought, OK, maybe I am supposed to write this book, even just for my own use.”

She said the original plan was to have it for her children, but it was through the urging from friends that she decided to publish it.

“It started – really, just as a nice legacy for my children. Then I let a few people read it and they told me it was really good and I should publish it. So it started small and then grew.”

Hartley, who has lived in Comox for the past three years, said spirituality has played a major role in her life for the past 36 years, and it was front and centre with the book-writing process as well.

“I always say if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be able to function quite as well as I have been functioning. July 2, 1984 is when I asked Jesus into my heart,” she said. “This book is about my life, and the interactive relationships within my family… but it is also about how my personal relationship with Christ, and my knowledge of the Bible have helped me and directed me through it all… it gave me the confidence I needed.”

She said every time she faced challenges while writing the book, something would happen to lead her along.

“I have had so many pushes along the way. It took me three years to write and there were times when I would think, ‘Oh, this is a stupid book. Why am I even writing this? Nobody is going to be interested in reading it? Why am I wasting my time?’ And any time those thoughts have come to me, something amazing has happened.”

One particular episode stands out for Hartley.

“I had written an article for BC Magazine way back in October of 2019 and just when I was at my worst, they phoned me up out of nowhere and said they wanted to publish my article. So it was published in the spring of 2020.”

She offered this summary of My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family (And Me).

“It is a book about life, and the twists and turns it takes. It is a book about love, courage, and the undeterred resilience of spirit within the author.”

The book is available at Books for Brains and Blue Heron in Comox.

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