Courtenay Museum executive director Deborah Griffiths has produced her first novel — under her maiden name.

Courtenay Museum executive director Deborah Griffiths has produced her first novel — under her maiden name.

Museum’s Deborah Griffiths debuts first novel

She decided to take elements of what she'd discovered in various museum archives, twist them around and explore the world of fiction...

“I’ve heard and read so many stories about people – what brings them together and what keeps them apart,” says Deborah Griffiths, executive director of the Courtenay and District Museum since 1992. “It seemed like a natural progression.”

Creating exhibit storylines and applying for grants is an art Griffiths has mastered well. But last year she decided to take elements of what she’d discovered in various museum archives, twist them around and explore the world of fiction.

Her first novel, Good Deeds – Bad Deeds, is now available as a print or ebook.

Throughout her 37-years in the museum industry Griffiths absorbed the stories of communities based on resource extraction, the growing pains often experienced by small towns and the heartbeat of it all — the people who live and work, and sometimes love and lie, in rural areas.

Good Deeds – Bad Deeds takes place in Boundary Country, a region comprised of south central B.C. and north central Washington. Griffiths knows the territory well from her years at the Kelowna Museum.

She started with two characters and let the story take off from there.

Abby Wells, now town planner for Coulter City, left San Francisco and heartbreak behind when she moved back home. So she’s caught off-guard by the “the samba in the heart” generated by Jack Fraser.

Fraser’s dealing with his own baggage and unprepared when it comes to revelations about his past. When small-town politics and development set the stage for the telling of family secrets, blackmail and mystery, the couple’s relationship takes a nosedive.

“I liked the people part of it — developing the characters and having them work out their challenges by the end of the book,” says Griffiths. “But as much as I liked Abby and Jack, I had the most fun writing about the villain.”

The landscape is a big part of the story, too.

“I really enjoy exploring how people behave in certain landscapes and the influence it has on them and what they do,” says Griffiths.

Her biggest challenge was letting go of the facts that have been the basis of her entire career.

“At the museum we usually require at least three original sources for anything we write,” she explains. It was a challenge to move out of that environment.”

Griffiths devised a way to trick herself into writing faster and more freely by turning off her monitor whenever she felt self-editing was slowing progress.

“I was really surprised how the word count went up,” she says. “When I turned the monitor back on, I’d go back and correct any typos.”

Good Deeds – Bad Deeds is part of a Boundary Country series that will involve some, but not all, characters in each book. Griffiths is already three-quarters of the way through book two, Snow on the Monashee.

Initially Griffiths classed the series as romance/suspense, but by the end of Good Deeds she knew she liked suspense the best. She expects to release Snow on the Monashee next summer.

Griffiths, who publishes fiction under her maiden name, Deborah Anne Greene, self-published Good Deeds.

“I want to get a couple of books under my belt before approaching a publisher,” she says. “And the whole indie publishing industry is interesting as it allows all sorts of people to express themselves in a variety of ways.”

Griffiths recently explored another aspect of that herself with the release of The Grant Seeker’s Helper: The Little Book of Grants for Big Community Dreams.

“I wrote it as a guide for non-profit organizations and communities that don’t have large budgets but have great ideas to improve their community. A lot of them depend on grants to get the funding they need.

“I wrote this primer because I’ve worked with communities and organizations with little or no experience in grant writing,” she adds. “Funders want to make things work for communities. If you have a true and compelling story for a project that makes your community a better place to live, funders are interested. It’s why they’re there.”

When asked how she juggled museum work, a novel and a non-fiction handbook over the course of a year, Griffiths replies, “I live in a quiet area and have a supportive family. And I’m a contractor, so am used to working to deadlines.

Good Deeds and The Grant Seeker’s Helper are available on amazon.com and Kindle. For more information about Good Deeds – Bad Deeds and Snow on the Monashee, visit www.deborahannegreene.com.

Paula Wild is a published author and regular contributor to the Comox Valley Record’s arts and entertainment section. www.paulawild.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read