Guelph author Aaron Blair is set to release his very first book as Mystic of the Midway is scheduled to hit book stores this September.
Blair says he got the inspiration to write it after his children used to read books when they were younger.
“When they got into those reading ages, one of the things they started to really eat up was the Judy Blume novels, particularly Superfudge,” he said.
“Seeing them light up and laugh at those characters inspired me to start wanting to write something that incorporated sort of our experiences at the local beach, some of the local history, because I found it so interesting. When you see them get so much joy and laughter from some of the things that they were reading, you want to create stories that keep those smiles on their faces for sure.”
Mystic of the Midway is about a girl named Effie and she is left with special powers after a horrible car accident. She’s helped by her brother and her friends while at her family’s cottage in Crystal Beach after coming across a strange love letter that threatens to destroy her family.
Blair says a lot of research went into the book that is centred around the Crystal Beach amusement park in Fort Erie, Ont., and he says visiting frequently with his wife helped him learn more about the area.
“We started to visit there quite regularly every summer and research on the area. I started to learn more about the history of Crystal Beach and the amusement park that was there for over 100 years, starting off as a religious retreat, and then just kind of grew and evolved,” he said.
As a first-time author, Blair says he learned some valuable lessons from this experience.
“One of the big things that came for me is how important it was, when you’re writing, to read out loud. My family and others were so supportive, indulging me in reading aloud, my project to them, and it made it so much better when you’re reading it out loud,” he said.
Blair says being able to see the reactions from others gave him an invaluable experience and one he didn’t have going into the project.
He adds he wants to focus on writing in the children and young adults genre for now.
Blair is also writing a couple of other books and hopes one of them can be ready in the very near future.
Mystic of the Midway comes out on Sept. 28. It’s also available to pre-order here.