North Saanich author George Mercer, whose latest book Fat Cats recently won a gold medal at the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Regional Fiction, Canada West. (Photo courtesy of George Mercer)

Local author wins gold medal for new book Fat Cats

Former parks warden’s series welcomes new addition to the canon

Award-winning North Saanich author George Mercer claimed two more prizes at the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Regional Fiction (Canada West).

Mercer’s latest book Fat Cats won a Gold Medal and the series it is from, Dyed in The Green, secured a Silver Medal in the Best Fiction Series category.

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“My plan is a six book series. I’ve got four out and essentially the characters have gone from Cape Breton highlands in Nova Scotia to Wood Buffalo National Park in the north, then to Jasper in Alberta, and then the Gulf Islands in the fourth book.”

If you’ve noticed a theme of national parks, it’s because Mercer spent 30 years as a park warden across Canada, and his former profession inspires his writing.

The first three books in the series are called Dyed In The Green, Wood Buffalo and Jasper Wild. The latter two won gold medals last year as well.

Mercer writes diligently, completing the four books in quick succession, with each one only taking a year to complete, from first draft to finished product.

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“I find writing comes quite easily but the challenge with the series is making a logical sequence of stories that have a larger story arc and each one has a smaller one that provides a bridge to the next,” he says.

For readers eager to know what’s in store for the future, Mercer says, “My plans for the fifth and sixth books are to go to the east coast and wrap up in Cape Breton where the series began.”

He plans to bring the main character, Ben Matthews, back from his sojourn in Africa and introduce an international flavour to the series. After that, the plan is to write the real-life stories behind the characters and to branch out into young adult fiction.

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Perhaps in keeping with his prolific output, Mercer is not short of ideas. In the works are western, futuristic and historical pieces. More imminently is a story he has already completed a draft of, about a young girl defending a family of grizzly bears wrongly accused of mauling mountain bikers.

Mercer says Fat Cats can be read as a stand-alone story and readers familiar with the Gulf Islands will find some familiar themes and settings woven throughout the story. The book can be found at independent book stores in the region.

For more information visit georgemercer.com.


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