The Dundurn Blog

As one of the pillars of a good story, setting deserves as much attention as character and plot, but is often overlooked in favour of hurried references to generic or made-up locations. For me, it is like the setting of a precious gem; the perfect backdrop against which the story unfolds, allowing just the right light, colour, and reflection to make the story come alive. Each scene, as well as the overall story, should be anchored in place so that the reader feels a part of the drama.

Award-winning short story writer and author of two novels for adults, Brent van Staalduinen brings us a powerful YA debut that sheds light on a story that is commonly left untold. In Nothing but Life, we follow the story of Dills whose memories are raw from the day a shooter came into his school library and opened fire. He struggles to talk about the day, but most of all, he struggles to come to terms with the stepfather he loves who has committed the crime. We asked Brent to share some insight into the making of Nothing but Life: