Journalist turned novelist sells out first printing

Elinor Florence will be signing copies of her first novel, Bird's Eye View, at Hooked on Books on Nov. 28

Elinore Florence will be signing copies of her book and giving a short talk about her research at Hooked on Books on Nov. 28.

Elinore Florence will be signing copies of her book and giving a short talk about her research at Hooked on Books on Nov. 28.

From reporting on Agriculture in Saskatoon to entertainment in Los Angeles, career newspaper journalist Elinore Florence has tried her hand a great many ventures.

She sold her newspaper in 2010 to try out something new, writing fiction.

Florence will be hosting a talk about her first-ever novel Bird’s Eye View and signing copies at Hooked on Books on Nov. 28.

The novel, published by Dundurn Press in Toronto, focuses on a young woman from Saskatchewan who joins the Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) to become an aerial photographic interpreter.

The first printing of the novel, published at the end of October, has already sold out and the response has been overwhelmingly positive with a second printing on the way.

“People are loving it. I’m really excited about that,” Florence said.

She has already done a number of book signings in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has found the subject matter really speaks to Canadians, especially those from the prairies.

“People are just really keen to read a book of Canadian wartime fiction. Particularly one that has a Canadian woman in uniform,” Florence said.

Though she has yet to confirm it, Florence hasn’t been able to find another piece of wartime fiction focused on a woman in an RCAF uniform.

A long-time writer of facts, Florence encountered a few bumps in the road switching to fiction.

“It was very difficult,” Florence said. “I found the most difficult part was making up dialogue. I kept turning to my notes and realizing I don’t have notes. I didn’t write down what that person said I actually have to make up something.”

It helped that the subject matter was something that hit close to home.

“I come by my interest in history honestly,” said Florence, who’s has family from each side that served in both World Wars, including her father who is an RCAF veteran.

Florence also grew up on a former wartime airport near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Her father purchased the airport as the Canadian government was selling off property after the war.

“He took the old old barracks building and turned it in to our family home. I actually grew up in an RCAF barracks building,” Florence said.

The protagonist of Florence’s novel enlists in the real-world aerial photographic interpretation unit, a division who used aerial photography to spy on Axis forces.

“It’s an area I felt had been very underreported,” Florence said.

The allies started the war with 40 photo interpreters and ended it with nearly 600 — nearly half of which were women.

While the story may be one of fiction, Florence hasn’t escaped her reporting past so easily with large amounts of research and historical facts surrounding her characters.

“My character is fictional, but basically everything that happens in the book is based on fact,” Florence said.

Florence will be speaking about her novel at 2 p.m. and signing copies until 4 p.m. For more information on Bird’s Eye View visit www.elinorflorence.com