Angie Abdou On Her New Book and What's On the Horizon

Writing this book taught me the value of a simple life, the restorative powers of nature, the serenity to be found in a simple walk of the woods, and the great happiness of spending as much time as possible with my immediate family. I had no idea how useful these lessons would be once March 2020 rolled around.” - Angie Abdou

I think a lot of us mountain moms are excited to get our hands on This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir by Fernie author Angie Abdou, being released April 13, 2021 and available at Polar Peek Books and Treasures here in Fernie. I can completely relate to a shy daughter, easily hurt and feeling pressure to be faster, taller, and interested in and great at all the activities Fernie life inspires. Like Angie's daughter, our eldest is nearly 8 and my partner and I have also been tag-teaming the parenting efforts to balance work and family life. I'll take all the help and revelations I can get!

While I await my copy, I made sure to reach out to Angie for some pre-reading Q&A and a quick zoom chat!

How did you create the summer holiday challenge - to hike a peak a week?
Kate, my daughter, and I hadn’t spent as much time together as I’d like during her early school years. My husband and I had fallen into a divide-and-conquer approach to parenting. I did the hockey runaround with our son, and he stayed home and skied with Kate. I first saw this as a problem the summer she was eight. She’d started this struggle with shyness and lack of confidence. That struck me as such a surprise. I wondered: how did I miss this?! She and I started spending more time together, especially enjoying nature walks. To carry the enthusiasm from one summer to the next, we started to conspire about our mother-daughter peak-a-week challenge.

Did you know prior you would write about the experience, or did the experience inspire you to write this book?
The challenge came tied up with the idea of a book. I’d already published more of a mother-son book focused on hockey. Kate liked the idea of having her book too. Readers had asked for a sequel to the hockey book, Home Ice, because some of the threads remained unresolved. We embarked on our mother-daughter challenge knowing a book would emerge. Kate and I have always referred to it as “our” book (recently the idea donned on her that she should therefore get half of my publishing advance – we’re currently in negotiations!).

You have published both fiction and non-fiction, what do you love about each and do you have a preference?
Fiction feels more magical. I never know what exactly will happen or where certain scenes come from. To write the best fiction, I have to give myself over to that mysterious process, and the lack of control can be scary/stressful. I feel more in control writing nonfiction, and the process therefore comes with less anxiety … but also with a bit less magic. Though, I like that nonfiction feels more immediately useful. Writing a nonfiction book can actually change the way I live, immediately and for the better. I love both, as a reader and a writer, equally but for different reasons.

How does living in Fernie, BC influence or inspire your writing?
This One Wild Life is inspired by the natural beauty of our area and by the way local artists respond to that beauty. Awe, reverence, and gratitude permeate the book. That’s all Fernie.

What are you planning on next?
I have two ideas – a fiction one and a nonfiction one. I thought I’d do the fiction first because I miss it. However, I’ve recently jumped (fully and enthusiastically) into swim coaching with the Elk Valley Dolphins, and I am obsessed with swimming and with the meaning/purpose of sport. While I’m obsessed, I might as well dive into the nonfiction project which, in part, explores the purpose of competition. It will turn this nonfiction digression of mine into a trilogy. Then: back to fiction!