Category Archives: The Hippies Who Meant It

Blog posts related to The Hippies Who Meant It

60’s Revisited: The Hippies Who Meant It

In the mid-60s, Joe from the Bronx and Beth the orphan escape New York City for Canada, hoping to leave their past lives – and American politics – behind them. At a peace march on their way north, their fortunes intertwine with the fate of Dick, a Royal Military College Officer Cadet.

Armed with naïveté, optimism, and a little weed, the three homestead on Nova Scotia’s North Mountain. Unlike many of the fair-weather hippies of summer, they make it through the first winter with a little help from their hardier neighbors.

Steve, a man damaged by the Vietnam War, shatters their peaceful existence in one night of rape and violence. When he disappears, the Mountain folk hope that peace will return to their little world. Birth, marriage, death, divorce, and fresh relationships complicate their lives. But even as they gradually resolve the consequences of their own pasts, they become increasingly aware that Steve may return to destroy all they have achieved.

As Sylvia McCluskey, editor extraordinary put it, this novel:

“… takes readers through the life experiences of a number of young people within the hippie culture of 1960s Nova Scotia, all of whom, after harrowing experiences in their own histories, come together and make a life for themselves. The story is viewed through the eyes of multiple parties as they seek escape, solace, self-discovery, personal growth, and new beginnings as a means of finding their place in life and ultimately making peace with their pasts, all against a backdrop of rampant social change, survival and family issues, injustice and prejudice, the emotional impacts of war, and the burden of self-expectations.

We watch the impressions and insights of the main characters as they evolve, heal, and navigate the joys and challenges of their experiences, which in many ways reflect the reality of all our lives—love, death, fear, friendship, betrayal, despair—making the story very relatable, and I believe it will resonate strongly with the targeted readers. The twists and turns of the main characters’ respective personal journeys are often unexpected and surprising; they weave an intriguing tapestry that keeps the reader turning the pages. One cannot but root for them as they make their way through their often bewildering emotional and physical struggles to ultimately triumph.”

Sylvia has my unstinting recommendation. Find her website at:

Shirley MacKenzie can see into my head

Here is one of the illustrations Shirley Mackenzie drew for River of Stones, which will be launched in the next few days. When I looked at her first draft, a host of objections swarmed into my mind. Where were the steps my characters ascended as they came up the companionway from the great stern cabin to stride across the smooth white deck of the command position? So I started to kvetch obsessively about details that couldn’t possibly appear in a drawing that fits into a ten centimetre square space in the text.

Next morning, I realized that she’d given life and action to a moment in the story when the three masted schooner Elusive charges past the headlands on her way toward the final scene in the story.

Shirley MacKenzie can see into my head. That’s what it feels like when she shows me one of her illustrations for my books. It’s as if she were looking over my shoulder into my dream-like imaginings where my stories come from. I find myself saying, “How did she know that?”

Believe me, this is rare. Writers get together to commiserate about illustrations to their novels. Book designers slap images onto the covers of books that are ludicrously at odds with the stories inside. Authors go apoplectic when the slim, intellectual, raven-haired beauty in their text is represented by a buxom blonde with a blank stare.

Shirley drew the dragons for The Laughing Princess, put the psychedelic VW camper-van on the cover of The Hippies Who Meant It, and now she’s captured the schooners in my imagination and realized them on the pages of The River of Stones.