Okotoks novelist Laurie Carmichael has unleashed her first book.

'A Complicated Goodbye' tells the story of a woman, Rebecca Adams, facing dangerous secrets and domestic violence.

"That is actually a part of my story in my life. I am a victim of violence as well, not from my current spouse who is just the most wonderful person in the world, but from a previous partner. So I've experienced violence myself."

She says leaving an abusive situation isn't so easy but that there is help out there for people.

"So I think what I would like to help people with is that you don't have to stay."

For her, this novel has been one of the most exciting things in her life aside from having her three kids, Dana, Mitchell, and Liam.

Having retired following 40 years of service as a nurse, she returned to nursing to help out when COVID hit.

"I did work at South Health Campus during that time, and my husband (Daryl) was off on a sick leave, so it gave me that opportunity to sit during lunch and write out the novel."

She says it took approximately two years to complete the entire process.

"The biggest excitement for me was having the bravery to do it."

When it comes to artwork such as writing, she says it's easy to hesitate because of what others might think.

"To me, taking that first step and saying to Friesen Publishing, 'Yes, I'd like to send you my manuscript,' That was one of the hardest things."

She debuted with a book signing at Yooneek Books in Okotoks in December, and from there was able to donate some money to the Okotoks Food Bank.

"I wanted to donate to them firstly because we need the food bank but people who are victims of domestic violence have that food insecurity as well."

She's hoping to have the second book in the trilogy out this November.

"The journey of the characters, I'm hoping it will inspire people again to take that leap of faith to move on with their lives from a toxic relationship."

For those experiencing domestic violence or abuse, Carmichael recommends the domestic violence lines as well as a service called Connect.


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