Retired principal puts out second pre-teen novel

Yurek: Edge of Extinction, follows the 2010 release of Smugglers at the Lighthouse, both published by Ontario's Moosehide Books.

Well-known retired principal Clyde Woolman has authored a second pre-teen novel for ages nine to ­12, and a teenage sasquatch is the star of the show.

Yurek: Edge of Extinction, follows the 2010 release of Smugglers at the Lighthouse, both published by Ontario’s Moosehide Books.

The novels can be read in any order and the recent work features the same main characters from the Smugglers tale, Ben, Booting and Ally, with Yurek, a sasquatch leader (Tenzig), and a sinister human professor as new characters.

“With three main personalities and another wilderness setting (the mountains around Harrison Lake in the upper Fraser Valley as opposed to the West Coast Trail in the first novel, I wanted to maintain the same sense of adventure, humour and magic found in Smugglers at the Lighthouse,” said Woolman.

Having a runaway teenage sasquatch as one of the main characters was a challenge as so much information is available, much of it contradictory.

It at least seems reasonably clear that the origin of the English word came from an Agassiz teacher in the 1920s who heard the term sasq’ets from the Sts’ailes (Chehalis) people) who live in the area, which described a sollicum, a being of the natural and supernatural world.

“There are many terms from other aboriginal groups describing similar large ape-like creatures, with one being Thumquas by the Cowichan people, added Woolman, “and there descriptions of such beings in many cultures around the world.”

The contact between the sasquatch and humans is the major thrust of the novel, and “was intended to highlight the opposing desires of such contact — one of greed and a lust for dominant power, and the other a focus on tolerance and trust.

“To help draw the distinction and to provide humour I took a considerable amount of literary licence with the origin, appearance, mannerism and abilities of Yurek and members of his clan,” explains Woolman.

In the novel, the verbal, intelligent Yurek is a runaway teenage sasquatch searching for human medicine to prevent the spread of illness that is having a devastating impact on the young sasquatch population.

Ben, Booling and Ally must find Yurek before the bounty-seeking professor and foil a malicious plan from a surprising source.

Copies of both books are available at an author signing at Laughing Oyster this Saturday at 2 p.m.

— Clyde Woolman

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