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Local writer part of collaborative novel to be revealed Oct. 29 at Kamloops library

Katherin Edwards is on the edge of her seat, wondering how events will play out in At the Edge.

The Kamloops writer has had a hand in writing the novel, a cross-Canada collaborative project with strong representation from B.C. authors.

Winnipeg writers Marjorie Anderson and Deborah Schnitzer invited chapter contributions from 14 others in writing a novel of intrigue, the first offering of their literary enterprise, Dropped Threads.

Renowned B.C. novelists Gail Anderson-Dargatz (The Cure for Death by Lightning) and Jack Hodgins (The Invention of the World) accepted an invitation to be part of the project as vanguard writers. Edwards and four other B.C. writers were accepted into the fold, each contributing a chapter.

On Oct. 29, as other contributors gather to learn how the story came together, Edwards and Anderson-Dargatz get together at the Kamloops Library at 7 p.m. for "the big reveal." It's a book launch at which the authors have the unusual distinction of not knowing how the story ends.

Both writers will talk about the project and reveal which chapter they wrote. The public is welcome to take part. They should register in advance by calling 250-372-5145 or emailing questions@tnrdlib.ca.

Andree Beauchemin, readers' adviser at the library, is excited by the prospect.

"I think it's fantastic," she said, noting that Anderson-Dargatz has given past readings at the library and always presents well.

"We had her before, but we're so excited she's doing something new."

Edwards learned about the project, with its narrative set-up about someone falling into a hole on a university campus near a quadrangle, while enrolled in the MFA writing program at UBC a couple of years ago. As a student, she worked with well-known B.C. writers, including Anderson-Dargatz and Susan Musgrave.

"I thought, 'Hey, this is kind of an intriguing beginning,' " she said. "We write about the characters, never knowing whether they'll wind up dead."

The setup read: "A benign September morning brings strangers to an edge none could anticipate. A besieged father, an Agatha Christie expert, an incidental thief, enduring lovers and runaway children (among others) converge on a university quadrangle spoiled by a gaping construction hole. All are absorbed by the complexity of their individual worlds, yet each one manages to skirt the danger - except one. In a most unexpected ending we learn how that came to be and why."

At the Edge contributors were given a set of characters from which to choose. Each chapter was submitted as a self-contained novella.

"I've had a ton of fun working on it," said Edwards.

The novel blends the work of seasoned writers with relatively inexperienced ones, she noted.

"Education is one thing, but it's not necessary for good storytelling," she added. She enjoyed the rapport with fellow novelists, even though this is her first published novel.

"It's like a pen pal club of writers."

Edwards, who writes daily in a back-garden studio she calls "the paperback shack," is a poet who has published in a number of anthologies and won several awards. She grew on a cattle ranch near Kamloops and has been writing since teenage years.

Her poem entitled On Full Moons at Jocko Lake won first place in the Ajax poetry contest held earlier last year by the TRU human rights committee. The poem is posted at her website, www.katherinedwards.com.

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