Friday, September 2, 2011

The Always Team gets a sequel-- Trouble in Riderville goes for a TD

My most recent book-- and the latest Saskatchewan Roughrider book -- has rolled off the presses just in time for the annual Labour Classic Day CFL game, the much-loved duel between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Sunday, September 4 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina).

In collaboration with author / journalist, Holly Preston, The Always Team: Trouble in Riderville, published by Always Books, hints at more suspense than readers may have found in the first story...
Everything was perfect in Riderville. At least it seemed that way.... until the day it wasn’t perfect at all.

One interesting aside... the first book, simply entitled The Always Team, has won the distinction of being the Riders' all time best-selling book.

I started working on Trouble in Riderville in the spring of 2011, and decided, along with Holly, to add more Regina landmarks to the sequel. As you can see from the cover, and a number of the full spreads, I needed to do some research as the look of the Regina skyline has changed considerably over the past few years.

Lots of reference pictures, especially from the perspective of Mosaic Stadium, were needed. We were both keen to include a scene of the boys walking across the Albert Street, where the reader could see the gorgeous and newly-refurbished pillars. (Some trivia here... did you know that the Albert Street bridge holds the Guiness Book of Worlds Records for the longest bridge over the shortest span of water... ? If you're from Regina, then I bet you did ...)

Here's my pen draft of this scene -- the final colour image that appears in the book is somewhat changed, however. We decided to include some Saskatchewan pirates, anchored in Wascana Lake, for some extra intrigue...

As for the neighbourhood where the boys live, I drew on my own memories of growing up in the 2900 block of Retallack Street in the leafy surrounds of Lakeview, where kids still play in the dappley shade of its tree-lined streets. I chose houses that were built in the 1920s because I love the stucco, the window frames, the interesting doorways, the mature foliage... the gestalt of the neighbourhood, the singularity and uniqueness of each home, where a sense of western Canadian history lingers.

I was reminded while creating the images for Trouble in Riderville of what a lovely city Regina is. If you harbour any doubt about the validity of this statement, then check out the blog called "Regina in Pictures: an online photoblog of one of Canada's most beautiful cities!," by a wonderful photographer named Guy D. There's one shot of a gentleman sitting lakeside at the south end of the Albert Street bridge in autumn-- it's absolutely stunning.

Anyway, it's back to the proverbial (and literal) drawing board for now...

Cheers!

Val

"The ALWAYS Team: Trouble in Riderville" is now available online at www.riderville.com.