Award winning High River author Martine Leavitt has a new novel set to come out next Tuesday April 25.

'Buffalo Flats' is her first foray into historical fiction and is her 11th novel.

It's also her first novel since her award-winning novel 'Calvin' won the Governor Generals' Literary award in 2016.

Leavitt says the young adult novel is very personal for her.

"The book is based on the personal histories of my husband's ancestors who settled as pioneers in southern Alberta in 1887.  These personal histories were just so wonderful and inspiring, and I knew as soon as I read them that I was going to have to base a book on them."

The book had its challenges as any historical novel involves copious amounts of research.

"I did end up having to do a lot of research which was challenging for me. With research you have to be so meticulous and I'm the opposite of meticulous" she said with a chuckle.

Hits bookshelves April 25Hits bookshelves April 25

The theme of the story involves a 17-year-old young woman and her desire to homestead her own land but back in 1887 that wasn't allowed in Canada.

"I was very interested to find out that it wasn't until 1930 that women were allowed to homestead like men were. And by then, of course, most of the land had been distributed. So, she sets out to find a way to get that land."

Leavitt also talks about the tough times the early pioneers went through such as the Spanish Flu epidemic as well flooding.

Two topics many young adult readers in the Foothills can relate to such as a COVID pandemic and the localized flooding in High River in 2013.

Regarding marrying fact with fiction in a historical novel Leavitt says the events happened but some of the people in the novel are fictionalized.

"In essence everything that happens in the book, the actual facts of what happened really did happen, but my character is a fictional character."

You can read more when the novel 'Buffalo Flats' hits your local bookstores on Tuesday April 25th.

It's published by Groundwood Books