A-R International: Betty Jane Hegerat

Betty Jane Hegerat
Authors-Readers International

Betty Jane Hegerat is a Canadian Author who I first met when I was representing her publisher and selling their books to bookstores and libraries throughout Alberta. She has since become a good friend and also provided me with some editing and mentoring over the years, wrote a blurb for the front cover of the print edition of my first novel, and was the one who said, “Oh, Susan, I would pay you to look after promoting my books for me so I could just write …” – which she did, and thus began my career as an author impresario! She’s still always offering sage advice on the many ideas I come up with to promote authors and their books, and gave her approval of this current idea, Authors-Readers International. (Although she is quick to point out the real stinkers: “Susan, you’ve always had many good promotion ideas, but hiring authors to entertain at adult birthday parties isn’t one of them.”)

Betty Jane likes to say that she loves books and libraries so much that she gave birth to a librarian! I know too that Betty Jane’s entire family avidly reads. Even her cat Rosie has good taste in literature.

When Betty Jane decided to ePublish her first novel (first published in print in 2006 by Newest Press), she asked for my help, and the eBook edition of Running Toward Home was released in Dec. 2017.

Twelve year old Corey Brinkman is, as his great grandfather knows for sure in his heart, En goede jongen, such a good boy. In fact, everyone else with a place in Corey’s life would describe him so. How, then, does a good boy end up at the Calgary Zoo, feeling utterly alone as he darts here and there during the night? Corey Brinkman is also a runner. The file on the social worker’s desk is thick with events that eventually brought Corey to the zoo. It’s a long narrative of dysfunction set into motion long before his birth. There’s one person Corey will, without hesitation, always blame for his chaotic life, one person he hates. But Corey is also not easy on himself, and blames his feet for his current troubles. Without knowing that people who care about him are circling around the zoo, hoping to find him safe, Corey waits. Tigers, monkeys, peacocks, and the great stony-faced dinosaurs are his only company.

I also wanted to mention here another of Betty Jane Hegerat’s books, because it was a ground-breaker when it was published, being a combination of fact (history), fiction, and memoir – quite a hybrid, actually. Here, in an interview with Jane Sillcott in The Malahat Review is an explanation of why this book is so good:I’ve just finished reading The Boy by Betty Jane Hegerat. It’s an amazing amalgam of forms. Hegerat uses fiction, creative nonfiction and a bit of fantasy to investigate the story of the last man hanged in Alberta. I find this incredibly exciting. It raises all kinds of questions for me about how I receive information, how a story inhabits me. Does it do so more fully in fiction or nonfiction? Do I need the connection with character to be drawn in fully? At first the fiction drew me emotionally and I found the investigation less compelling. Gradually I began to feel the tension in the narrator (Hegerat) as she was drawn deeper and deeper into this story, and the emotional component was there too, which is interesting to me — the different pacing and levels of tension and engagement in the two forms. The book wrestles with: how could this happen, what about this boy who was hanged? At the same time it takes us inside different parts of our minds, which is brilliant. That’s the great thing about good creative nonfiction — you can do whatever you want to do — you can write about dreams; you can fantasize; you can imagine; you can make things up — as long as you’re straightforward about it.

For more information about Betty Jane Hegerat, her books and writing, please see her website.

For more information about the new eBook edition of Running Toward Home, see IslandCatEditions.

Betty Jane Hegerat has been a guest on Reading Recommendations three times: Apr. 21, 2014, Jan. 25, 2016May 5, 2016

Betty Jane was the recipient of the Writers Guild of Alberta 2015 Golden Pen Award for Lifelong Achievement in Writing.


8 responses

  1. […] Kvern was one of the authors I met after I moved back to Calgary in 2008. She was a friend of Betty Jane Hegerat, Barb Howard, Lori Hahnel (all three have been promoted here on A-RI) along with many other […]

  2. […] it was because he was the writer-in-residence at the University of Calgary.  At the same time, Betty Jane Hegerat (who I promoted here previously on A-RI) was serving as the writer-in-residence at the Calgary […]

  3. […] But I had already heard about Sharon and, more importantly, of the strength of her writing, from Betty Jane Hegerat (previously promoted in this A-RI Series) with whom Sharon was studying creative writing at the […]

  4. […] flown from Toronto out to Fernie, BC, for the Fernie Writers’ Conference, and was enrolled in Betty Jane Hegerat‘s classes for the duration of the conference. (I have already promoted Betty Jane as part of […]

  5. I first met Betty Jane Hegerat when I enrolled in a creative writing class with her. Although I had read many books on writing, it was wonderful to get actual mentorship from an experienced writer.

    Years later, I bought her book “The Boy” when I was extremely busy (working 2 jobs and raising a family). I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s still in my “to read when I have more time” pile. Any reading I do is usually on audiobooks because this allows me to multi-task. But this post reminded me of the book, so I think I’ll dig it out. Once Christmas and New Year activities are done, the cold quiet months of January and February should provide a good opportunity to settle in by the fire and actually “read” this book. Thanks, Susan, for reminding me of this book.

    1. And I first met you, because Betty Jane recommended that you enter the Coffee Shop Author Contest, since you were a fine writer, as she told me was the case!

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