John Van Rys (PhD (English Literature)’91) shares the news of his new fiction publication Moonshine Promises.
Moonshine Promises is a set of linked stories (sometimes called a “novel in stories”) about the lives of Evan and Mae Mulder. Their tale begins with an elopement as, still teenagers, they run off to the Talisman Ski Resort in Beaver Valley to avoid a shotgun wedding, a decision that initiates decades of marital adventures and misadventures. At turns funny and poignant, these stories take readers into an imagined landscape in and around London, Ontario, as well as into the often comical, sometimes dramatic domestic space of the Mulder family. (One of these stories, “In the Hills and Valleys of Perche,” was actually first published in The Dalhousie Review.) Narrated from Evan’s perspective, the stories navigate his fears and loves as he makes his bewildered way through life—love and marriage, fatherhood, modern masculinity, hobby farming, encounters with raccoons, and much more. And it’s about everything furnishing that life—from a heart-shaped vibrating bed to a teapot cottage in a jelly cupboard to a snow globe containing a horse-drawn sleigh carrying a miniature family through a forest.
John writes, “While I’ve been an English professor for more than 30 years doing scholarship on Canadian Literature and writing textbooks, Moonshine Promises is my first published work of fiction. It all started in December 2016, when my wife got tired of my saying repeatedly that I wished I could find some time to write fiction, so she told me to start writing stories and to give them to her as gifts. Given my Dutch background, the money saved on presents was enough motivation.”