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Chasing the Comet

Interview with David Caldow and Patricia Koretchuk

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So you thought you’d be writing an emigration story? But I’ve read the manuscript and it’s much more than that.

Patricia Koretchuk: True, but at first I’d no idea what our conversations would reveal. I’d imagined myself writing a three-thousand word portrait, an account of David and his forbears, to be read by later generations of Caldows and McMillans. Instead, as I discovered David’s personal life theme....

Personal life theme?

Patricia Koretchuk: David’s earliest memory of Halley’s Comet was the key. I used the image to get a sense of his personality, then later used it to prompt questions and get answers that connected David’s anecdotes with two conflicting goals: the first, to be connected to the land, a farm manager like his father; the second, to circle the globe like the comet. The struggle to achieve these goals became the theme of his story—his personal life themea—which grew into a true survival adventure. David also revealed a very personal coming-of-age and quest-to-understand love story, and a humorous exposé of some Canadian and BC history that would otherwise have been lost.

This question is for both of you. What would you say was most satisfying—for you—about the creation of Chasing the Comet?

David Caldow: It’s my life and I can hold it in my hand. Now that my memory’s not what it used to be, it’s good to have it. I also like that one of my grandsons, who’d never finished a book in his life, has read it from cover to cover.
Patricia Koretchuk: I guess it’s that our collaboration has produced a book that is as entertaining as a novel, yet is also unique truth, a validated memoir, part of Scotland’s and Canada’s history from the early 1900s to the present.

A novel?

Patricia Koretchuk: Yes. The book lets you experience life through another person’s eyes. But hopefully it does more. Like a good novel it also informs and gives insight into the humour and drama of the human condition from a working man’s perspective. As the popular television shows Biography and Life and Times often do,Chasing the Comet offers readers the opportunity to escape to a no less personally challenging, but simpler time.