My late mother, Norma Sluman, was a talented Canadian author. During her lifetime, she wrote two novels of historical fiction (Blackfoot Crossing and Poundmaker, published by Ryerson Press) and co-authored with Jean Cuthand Goodwill, a biography (John Tootoosis, a Biography of A Cree Leader, originally published by Yellow Dog Press and reprinted by Pemmican Publishing).
Before she passed, Mom sent me her draft manuscript for The Amulet, labouriously written on a manual typewriter. She had asked me to use my computer to retype it into digital format to meet the current expectations of traditional publishers.
I read this manuscript in it`s first-draft form, and I thought back then it was a good book. But I didn`t make the time to get the job done for her. After Mom passed, I felt quite disappointed in myself – that I had let her down – an important story based, on a historically significant Canadian incident, was now destined for obscurity.
Years later, the light finally dawned that it was not too late to do something about it – if I would just commit myself to the effort. In 2014, I began the task of copy-typing her manuscript into digital format. As the chapters began to emerge, I found, as a writer myself, that I just could not resist the urge to tinker with Mom`s draft. The story is still very much hers. I have just burnished some of her style. I can only trust my intuition that she would approve of this mother-daughter iteration.
What I didn`t know when I started, was that The Amulet would become more than just a project, it morphed into a journey to truly appreciating my mother as an author. Growing up, I thought I understood the effort she put into her writing and her meticulous dedication to research. But I did not. My Mom created art in a technologically primitive environment – before the advent of computers, dedicated writing software and the incomparable Internet – all taken for granted today. My recent technology-supported efforts pale in comparison to Mom`s decades of “old school” writing.
For my part, I truly found joy in bringing this important story to life in 2019, to honour my mother`s writing talent, her passion for historical accuracy, and her wish to shed light on the biases and mistakes of our past. It was her mission to educate and inform the political decision-makers, today and into our future.
Click here for an interview of Marnie Somers on October 17, 2019 by Bud Robertson, The Brandon Sun
Marnie Sluman Somers was born in Toronto and moved with her parents when she was two-years-old to Calgary where her father, Ken Sluman, played football for the Calgary Stampeders and later the Edmonton Eskimos. After her father retired from his ten-year football career, the family moved back to Toronto where Marnie attended Kew Beach Public School and Malvern Collegiate Institute in Toronto’s Beach District. She moved to Winnipeg at age twenty and has lived in rural Manitoba since then. Somers had a long career working in both the private and public sectors, during which she honed her own writing skills. Somers became a full-time freelance writer in 1997 creating news releases, magazine feature articles and marketing content published in agricultural magazines and newspapers throughout North American. She currently lives on an acreage near Carberry, Manitoba with her partner Wilf..
Marnie Sluman Somers, editor and publisher of The Amulet
Click here for other books by Norma Sluman