Interview with B.J. Bayle, Author of Red River Rising

Interview with B.J. Bayle, Author of Red River Rising

Posted on July 4 by admin
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On today’s Ask an Author we were able to sit down with B.J. Bayle who is the author of the soon to be released title Red River Rising. This will be B.J. Bayle’s fouth book, and she tells us how she went about researching and writing this new story.

Caitlyn: Tell us about your book.

B.J. Bayle: Red River Rising is the story of the crofters who were forced from their homes on the hillsides of Scotland, and, with the help of Lord Selkirk, struggled to establish farms in what is now Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although the story is fiction, the events in it are based on the actual hardships they encountered and the battles they fought.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the idea for this work?

B.J. Bayle: While reading Prebble’s THE HIGHLAND CLEARANCES, I was appalled to learn that most of the Scottish lairds had a blatant disregard for the lives of the people who had lived, farmed and paid rent on their lands for generations when they forced these people to leave so that sheep could be run over the hillsides in their place.

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

B.J. Bayle: I researched the records of the dispossessed crofters from Kalona and found they settled in the wilderness near what is now Winnipeg. I felt stories about these brave and desperate people could not be told too often. The hardships they suffered seem unbelievable in this age. I did not use actual names of  the crofters who sailed on THE PRINCE OF WALES, because they would be confusing to a reader. Instead my two families represent the experiences of all those people. However, the men of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the North West Company and the native chief in the story once were real people.

Caitlyn: Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

B.J. Bayle: I write my books with young teenagers in mind–both boys and girls–with the hope that they will be able to identify with the two young protagonists in the story.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?

B.J. Bayle: I first did a great deal of reading and later travelled to Winnipeg and the many well kept historic sites there.  I found a wealth of solid facts during the days I spent in  the Archives of Manitoba and the Hudson’s Bay Museum reading copies of letters written by the men of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, contracts and even ships’ logs.

B.J. Bayle’s Battle Cry at Batoche was a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice, while Perilous Passage, about explorer and mapmaker David Thompson, was nominated for a Red Maple Award. Also the author of Shadow Riders, about the RCMP’s early history, she lives in Cochrane, Alberta.