By Sue Graci
PORT Dover resident Jody Overend is an author who has combined her love of writing with her interest in all things spiritual in her Bessie trilogy. The first in her series of books, Missing Bessie, published by Next Chapter Publishing, is available now at Beach Reads Book Shop.
Growing up in Niagara Falls, with a cottage on Lake Erie in Port Maitland, Jody enjoys the small-town feel.
Jody’s brother, Peter, is the Port Dover Harbour Master and his wife Jan Overend is manager of Port Dover Board of Trade. That’s how Jody came to be in Port Dover. She explained “in 2008, my late husband Charlie and I decided we had had enough of Vancouver’s endless rain. We chose Port Dover and I’ve loved every moment of living here since. Best decision ever. The friendly, laid-back people, the variety of restaurants, colorful shops, and now the fantastic Beach Reads Bookstore! Who could ask for more?”
A lifelong writer, she worked in advertising in Toronto with accounts like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Seven-Up, and Seagram’s Vodka Coolers. An award-winning copywriter, Jody was named Copywriter of the Year in 1987 at the Television Bureau of Canada’s Bessie awards.
She said that she “longed to write something longer than 30 seconds. A three-month sabbatical in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, turned into three years where I managed to write a terrible novel (don’t ask), but I proved to myself I could finish one.”
Her first published work of fiction was in 2011; set in 2004, UpHill is a middle-aged romantic comedy.
Jody has written a trilogy, published by Next Chapter, and she will be featured at Beach Reads Book Shop (230 St. George Street) this Friday, March 17th between 1:00 and 2:30. Stop by for a chat and a four-leaf clover cookie. This is the kind of event readers and authors alike love, and as Jody told us, “I enjoy Meet & Greets for my books and talking to readers about them. I’m looking forward to mine on St. Patrick’s Day at Beach Reads. And hopefully see you there!”
When asked to describe the first book in the series, Missing Bessie, Jody was quick to note that although the main characters are young adults, she doesn’t feel the books’ appeal is limited to that demographic. She said, “they seem to appeal to all ages.
The main character, Bessie MacIntyre, is a restless teenager back in the small town of Ravenspond, Ontario in the summer of 1972. She has just broken up with her boyfriend Jason and has the brilliant idea to hitchhike to Vancouver with her best pal, Ash. The next thing she knows all three of them are in Heaven; and she has no idea of how they got there.
With the guidance of the quirky Angel Mel, Bessie gradually recovers her memories. Meanwhile, a desperate search is underway on Earth to find the missing teens. Bessie’s search for answers and Detective Pederssen’s eventually collide. But when the truth is about to be revealed, does she really want to know?”
Jody loves everything about writing, saying, “There is nothing I don’t love about writing, even the editing process although it can be tedious at times. Nothing else I’d rather do.”
She told us, “I have had a lifelong fascination with spiritual topics such as reincarnation, life after death, past lives, and so on. This culminated in my Bessie trilogy.”
Based on “a repetitive dream that I started to write down 20 years or so ago,” Jody told the Maple Leaf that she “didn’t at first know that Bessie would be a trilogy. But a spiritual medium, Joanne Sicard of Simcoe, kept giving me messages that ‘the story wasn’t finished.’ And indeed, Bessie’s tale continued to fill my imagination and my dreams so I kept writing it down. I am currently in the middle of a final edit on the second one, Surviving Bessie, which will be published soon. Then I will polish the third one, Forgiving Bessie.”
What’s coming once the Bessie series is complete? Jody said, “heaven knows!”