Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Emily Hein released her first book, Dear Mr. President, this year. The book is available online or at the Market on Millstream and Yates. (Photo contributed by Emily Hein)

A young local writer let her heart pour out on the page with the release of her first novel.

Greater Victoria resident Emily Hein, 23, recently launched, Dear Mr. President, which follows the story of a suburban mother whose life is turned around after losing her child in a school shooting.

Hein said the idea for the novel sparked from the multitude of school shootings that have taken place in the U.S. over the years.

“I also heard about gun threats at some schools I went to, which nothing ever happened, but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if someone actually went through with it,” said Hein. She wanted to convey in her story what people who had experienced a school shooting were going through.

Hein began writing the book in the summer of 2018, and the book was published Jan. 31 this year.

“It took me about two months to write. I finished writing it the same summer after I graduated UVic,” said Hein. “I would sit down some days for eight hours at my computer and get so lost in writing. I enjoyed it so much, so it was easy to put time in to.”

Hein graduated from the University of Victoria in 2018 with a degree in biology, and is now studying to be a chiropractor at the University of Western State in Portland.

“It feels really good to have written a book, because it helped open my eyes to seeing where I want to go, and what I want to do,” said Hein. “I want to do something with a career as a chiropractor and help people, but I would also like to continue with writing and have a career as an author. I have some ideas for more books in the future.”

Hein said she had always loved reading and was interested in stories, but never considered herself much of a writer. However, after graduating she found more free time on her hands and ‘randomly decided’ to give writing a try.

The best part about writing Dear Mr. President was the emotions she experienced throughout, Hein said.

“I would get in almost a giggly fit because I was so happy with the story I was creating, or crying because I would be so deep in the story and feel what the characters were feeling,” said Hein. “I was moved by it.”

Hein said getting the book finished and published was a challenge, but she encourages people interested in writing a book to ‘never give up.’

“What I learned is to start with a plot and character lists. Have everything laid out and then work from there,” said Hein. “I wouldn’t say I had it completely mapped out. I just started, and then let the story unfold while writing it.”

The book is 218 pages and can be purchased online on Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble, the Market on Millstream or Yates, WHSmith and Waterstones. For more information visit austinmacauley.com/us/book/dear-mr-president.

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