Clinton native and local librarian releases his first novel
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Clinton native, Goderich resident and one of the head honchos at the Blyth branch of the Huron County Library, Hamilton Baker, has delved into the literary world from the creative side, penning his first novel, Iron Scars.
The book was released on Oct. 4 and Baker now has a number of speaking events lined up at local libraries to discuss the book with fellow history enthusiasts, including Goderich on Oct. 16 (6:30-7:30 p.m.), Wingham on Oct. 23 (6:15-7:15 p.m.) and Blyth (6-7 p.m.) on Oct. 30.
In an interview with The Citizen, Baker said the book has been a labour of love for the last seven years and he’s pretty happy to now have it published and ready for the public to read. Writing, for Baker, however, is nothing new.
“I started writing a novel when I was eight years old,” Baker said. He says that his interests (his first effort was about wolves, his fascination at the time) have evolved over time, but his love of reading and writing has remained.
“After centuries of conquest, the Spartan Empire dominates the known world. Its land stretches from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Persian Gulf in the east, and from the Nile in the south to the Danube in the north. With the last of their enemies defeated, the Spartans are the unquestioned rulers of the world,” reads Baker’s website about Iron Scars, which he describes as an alternative history novel full of action, adventure, politics, conflict and intrigue.
Baker says he came up with the idea all those years ago as he was out walking his dog. He said it popped into his head and he instantly knew that it was a story worth telling, which is why he stuck with it. He was, in fact, writing another book at the time, but shelved it in favour of what would eventually become Iron Scars, knowing it was a more promising path for him.
One of the big developments along the way was the evolution of his interest in history. As Baker became more interested in history, his sensibilities shifted further towards that end of the spectrum, which is what led him to write this book.
Along the way, however, there have been stops and starts. In fact, there was a time when he was sure he was done the book and asked his wife, who also works in the Huron County Library system, to read it for him. He said she pointed out some problems that needed fixing, which he, in his heart, also knew existed. That was a major turning point for the process of the book, he said. Once he addressed those issues and corrected course, he felt the book really took shape into what it is today.
Now, since it’s been published, he’s received lots of great feedback. Sure, he says, he’s received words of enthusiasm and encouragement from family members and friends, though he’s sure they would be positive regardless of what they really thought, but, since the book has been released, he’s heard many good things from readers he doesn’t know, which he finds quite encouraging. Putting the book out into the world has been exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time, he said.
He’s now looking forward to the aforementioned events, or “book talks” as Baker thinks of them in his mind. It’ll be nice to be face-to-face with readers and have the opportunity to talk about the book with fellow history enthusiasts.
While he’s still riding high on the publication of his first book, he thinks there may still be more story yet to be told. He said there are sequel possibilities already swimming around in his head, but he’s wanting to take a breath and enjoy this moment before diving right into his next project, but he’s sure there will be one.
Iron Scars is available to purchase through Amazon and a number of other local retailers.