Keith Hamilton of Bella Coola has recently self-published his first novella. (Photo submitted)

Local author pens novella Nine Bear Lodge set in Bella Coola Valley

CEO Keith Hamilton has found a new hobby in writing

After 40 years of writing professionally for work, Keith Hamilton has recently found a passion for creating fiction.

The chief executive officer shared his first self-published novella Nine Bear Lodge at a book launch and signing at The Art House Gallery in Bella Coola on Friday, Jan. 20.

“It’s a labour of love,” he told Coast Mountain News.

“I’ll sit and write a chapter and read it out to my wife. Sometimes I cannot write fast enough.”

Nine Bear Lodge is a fictional account about a smuggler and a police officer who had a negative interaction before the wall came down in Germany.

They run into each other 30-plus years later at a luxury lodge in Bella Coola.

One of the men invested in the lodge and the other arrives on a bucket list vacation, Hamilton said.

“It’s a story of redemption. They resolve their outstanding issues.”

While the lodge in the story doesn’t actually exist, Hamilton hopes people will recognize the Bella Coola area in the book and many of the attributes that make it a popular place for tourists.

Bella Coola is one of the stars of the book, he said.

“It talks a lot about Nuxalk culture and the impact of colonization and there are a lot of themes that could be explored in other books,” he said. “I want to say clearly that I am not presenting anything in a factual way. This is a fictional representation and any opinions are my opinions personally and not officially affiliated with anybody.”

Originally from Southern Alberta, he has worked for the Nuxalk Economic Development Corporation’s Nunumus Management Limited for seven years.

His wife Ina Hamilton works in the school division as a substitute.

The Hamiltons have been working in small and remote communities in Western and Northern Canada and were in Northern Ontario before Bella Coola.

Several years ago he started writing about the family’s travels, thinking that information would be nice for his grandchildren.

The family encouraged him to write more so he wrote a prequel.

He was inspired to write Nine Bear Lodge, after a road trip between Williams Lake and Bella Coola during tourist season.

“I noticed a lot of people in Tweedsmuir Park and started relating a story to my wife about people coming to the valley. I just created a story and she encouraged me to write it down.”

Proceeding to flesh the story out, he did not know how it would end until he wrote it, he said.

He said he has written a second book that is ready to be published.

“I’ve got the writing bug now and am going to be writing more.”

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