When his concerts were cancelled due to the pandemic musician Jesse LeBourdais decided to write his first novel.
Originally from Horsefly, LeBourdais, lives in Vancouver where he wrote Firelight.
“COVID was debilitating for my music career, but gave me an opportunity to do something I could do at home, and do safely and gave me an outlet,” he told the Tribune.
About a year ago, he decided to put down on paper some ideas and a possible character that had been rambling in his head for a few years.
“If I played Dungeons and Dragons, or a video game, I always picked this character as my avatar. It was never really a formed out idea.”
Growing up his mom Maureen LeBourdais read to him and his brother, Matt, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. From that introduction, LeBourdais said he read every fantasy novel he could get his hands on.
“It was fun to reference from all the books I’d read, and create something new for my book.”
His partner Denise Cymbalist suggested he try writing a short story at first.
He has been writing songs his whole life and a little bit of article work, but had never done any long-form writing.
As an exercise he wrote a short story, which ended up being the first three chapters of the book.
“All of a sudden I had this cascading of ideas for the story that came and I just wanted to finish it right away so I started writing the whole book and finished writing it by April,” he explained.
Not wanting to divulge too much about the story, he said the main character’s name is Dunkan. He is the protagonist who is depicted on the front cover of the book.
Unabashedly, LeBourdais said writing fantasy is probably more his style.
“I don’t think I could ever write a non-fiction book based on the real world. It would be too much research and accuracy. With a fantasy book you can pretty well make up everything.”
He had fun creating a world with its own set of rules. It even has two suns. Writing the story was creative and liberating, he said.
Purposely leaving the description of his characters vague, his intention was to let the reader picture whoever they wanted, rather than overly describe them.
His novel’s setting is very much like the terain around Horsefly, he added. Most of the story takes place in a forest with rocky areas, mountains and waterfalls.
“I’m drawing pretty heavily from the geography of the Cariboo and other parts of B.C. for the book for sure.”
LeBourdais attended school in Horsefly until Grade 10 when he went into Williams Lake and attended Columneetza secondary school and lived in the dorms.
After graduation he moved to the coast.
Firelight is what LeBourdais hopes is the first book in a trilogy and said he is halfway through writing the second installment.
“I think I have enough story to tell across three books.”
Cymbalist did the artwork for the cover and layout of the book.
She is a typographer, designer and an artist, LeBourdais said.
“She was right there in the room with me while I was writing and reading sample chapters and conceptualizing it with me the whole time,” LeBourdais noted.
“She was the exhibit designer at the Vancouver Aquarium and has done lots of really big exhibit designs.”
Firelight is self-published and available in Williams Lake at The Open Book and the Station House Gallery.