If you're looking to find Fraser, you can't do much better than the terminus of the Nechako River, or the longest lasting location of the fort system established by the fur trade's top man out west. Prince George has Fraser running through its veins, which makes it fertile ground for author kc dyer to come for a personal visit with her new smash hit novel.
Finding Fraser is the latest title by one of Canada's best-loved fiction writers. It's a romantic comedy about a woman who falls for a handsome Scottish rogue in a dashing kilt who happens to be a character. She decides to go off into the real world and find him, or a perfect facsimile to Jamie Fraser, the male protagonist of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, portrayed on television by Sam Heughan.
"He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man. That he was fictional hardly entered into it," said dyer in her written explanation of the book. She goes even farther in person, from a stop along the road to Prince George.
"It was a lot of fun for me to write about those people, and I'm one of them, who fall in love with the characters in a book. So many people have that experience," dyer said. A lot of people lately seem to have fallen in love (or something similar) for Christian Grey of Fifty Shades fame, others have admitted this of the Twilight series characters, Harry Potter and his friends, Anne Shirley and/or Gilbert Blythe from the Green Gables series, and many more.
The emotional response a book can confect is more powerful than television or movies due to the personal theatre of the mind involved in the experience. The equally fictional Emma Sheridan simply takes it to extremes - all the way to Scotland.
For what it's worth to Outlander fans, Gabaldon is well aware of Finding Fraser.
"Jamie Fraser would be deeply gratified at having inspired such a charmingly funny, poignant story - and so am I," said Gabaldon.
"It starts off with a female character who has zero self esteem, and she is not the person at the end that she was at the beginning," dyer said. "And I think she finds some interesting ways to get there."
Dyer is not out on the highways of her B.C. home province looking for a kilted swashbuckler (which is not to say she mightn't find one). She was motivated to come see the province at first by the spreadsheets of her publishing company. After putting a fair set of prior books out onto store shelves around the world - her latest teen-fiction book was Facing Fire, a followup to A Walk Through A Window. She also authored the Eagle Glen trilogy (Seeds Of Time, Shades Of Red, Secret Of Light) and others - she knows how to analyze sales patterns.
She might have been distracted by the numbers rolling into the database (it is kicking some serious Kindle right now and is being made into an audio book voiced by Romy Nordlinger of Law & Order, All My Children and other credits), but one numerical factoid caught her attention and spurred her into action.
"My book is selling well in the United States, crazy well, and it's doing great in Australia, and all these other places, but it wasn't doing as well in my own home country. In particular, I wanted B.C. to be more involved in the success the book is having, so I decided to do something I don't usually do, I'm not someone who likes to have big road trips, but I wanted to let people in B.C. in on this."
In doing her research for this awareness campaign, dyer discovered a factoid she liked especially much about this city - a place she'd never been before.
"It's just astonishing how many Scots there are in Prince George," she said (it's even home to Matthew Shaw who wrote the book Great Scots: How The Scots Created Canada). "I can't even tell you how excited I am to get there. I've never been north of Kamloops-Kelowna in British Columbia, so this is great. Seeing Williams Lake, Prince George, Terrace, all along Highway 16 to the coast, that is so exciting for me."
She will be the special guest of Books & Company on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no charge to come in, meet dyer, or take part in her discussions. Her books will be for sale. Since it's a special occasion, the bookstore is holding a couple of extra tidbits for fun. Prizes will be given to Best Legs In A Kilt and Best Scottish Knitwear Work In Summer.