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Corner Brook author believes publishing during pandemic encourages positivity

Corner Brook author Floyd Spracklin recently wrote The Gaff Topsail Encounters: Facing the Wind. It is Spracklin’s second book and he believes creating it during a pandemic offered a little bit of positivity. CONTRIBUTED
Corner Brook author Floyd Spracklin recently wrote The Gaff Topsail Encounters: Facing the Wind. It is Spracklin’s second book and he believes creating it during a pandemic offered a little bit of positivity. - CONTRIBUTED

At 4:30 a.m., while many avid readers are still asleep, Corner Brook author Floyd Spracklin is quietly putting pen to paper.

“My usual writing time is anywhere from 4:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., or just after I had time to sleep and reflect on what I’ve been working on. Before daily life inevitably takes over,” Spracklin said.

The Gaff Topsail Encounters: Facing the Wind, Spracklin’s second book, was released in fall 2020. Fourteen years in the making, the non-fiction work profiles former railway workers, present day cabin owners, and some of the worldwide travellers passing through The Gaff.

Spracklin’s personal association with the former railway settlement dates to 1952. He and wife, Betty, own a cabin at The Gaff, located in the heart of the Central Newfoundland interior. It’s where their daughters learned to love the outdoors. It’s where they met travellers from Holland, France, Bavaria, Switzerland, the United States, and Canada.

“Asking why I write is like asking why I paint,” the retired educator said. “It’s a pronouncement of being alive, and a celebration of life. I have always done both, and it’s only now, in my later life, that I have the luxury of time to concentrate on what I have always enjoyed doing.”

Spracklin has numerous magazine and newspaper articles, theatre, and book reviews to his credit. His first book, Shellbird, was published in 2019. The fictional novel for young adults focuses on the alleged buried treasure on Shellbird Island, located in the Lower Humber River near Corner Brook.

“I am currently working on five new pieces, which will become part of my next project, in 2021 or 2022,” Spracklin said. “I can’t say much about the specifics because I would like for it to be a surprise.”

Spracklin held book signings at Island Treasures in the Corner Brook Plaza in November and December, donning a mask to meet people interested in his work. “2020 was anything but 2020 in either the literal or the figurative sense,” Spracklin said. “I know it’s been hard on everyone. Creative artists have notably been impacted by COVID-19, and I am no exception. I never thought I would be publishing a book in the middle of a pandemic, but that is precisely what happened.

“If I had to wait until all was resolved, perhaps my work might not have been relevant,” Spracklin added. “Perhaps putting out local work is encouraging while at the same time promoting a positive attitude. I want to think both are true.”

Spracklin graduated from Memorial University in 1972 and earned a Master of Education from the University of New Brunswick in 1995. He taught for 30 years on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and has been consulting and teaching Academy Canada’s various Labrador programs.

“I hope Jan. 1, 2021 rang in a new era for everyone,” the author said. “I will continue to do what I enjoy doing while staying safe.”

The Gaff Topsail Encounters: Facing the Wind, published by St. John’s-based DRC Publishing, is the first book written specifically about The Gaff. Spracklin’s books can be ordered online at https://drcpublishingnl.com/?s=floyd+spracklin, www.shopdownhome.com, www.amazon.ca, and a Kobo e-book at www.kobo.com. The books are available at several locations in the western region.

Spracklin participated in our question and answer session:

Q. What is your full name?

Floyd Frederick Spracklin

Q. Where and when were you born?

I was born in Buchans in 1950, but grew up in Corner Brook.

Q. Where do you live today?

Corner Brook.

Q. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

The hardest thing I’ve done is write stories about loss of life and of a loved one. Two such stories came from my time in Hopedale.

Q. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?

Getting married and having two lovely daughters top my list.

Q. What is your greatest indulgence?

Definitely fish and chips. After travelling from one end of Canada to the other and sampling the local fish, I still love our own local cod and home fries the best. I still remember fresh pickerel and chips in Pickle Lake, Ontario. Even on the Prairies at a pizza joint, I would ask if fish and chips were available. (By the way), my brother-in-law’s fish and chips rock.

Q. What do you treasure the most?

The time I spend with my wife and family at either our Gaff cabin or at our daughter’s and hubby’s cottage on Bonne Bay Pond.

Q. What is your best quality and what is your worst?

I’d say it’s Tenacity with a capital T, and that answer goes for both questions. My wife knows full well that when I have something on my mind and it needs to be done, there is no stopping me, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. And if you ask my wife, she would say it’s simply my inability to procrastinate. By way of example, my first book, Shellbird, took me 30 years to write and have published. My second book, The Gaff Topsail Encounters, took me a mere 14 years to research, write, and put out there.


Connie Boland is a freelance journalist and creative writer in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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