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Former Kamloops author's latest novel hits local bookshelves

Squamish author Amber Cowie was born and raised in Clearwater and Kamloops.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Amber Cowie

It’s a dream come true for Amber Cowie, a Clearwater and Kamloops native whose latest novel Last One Alive was pulled from the shelf at Kamloops Chapters by her dad.

He posted a photo on Facebook, encouraging local residents to pick up a copy of the fast-paced psychological thriller. The story follows debut novelist Penelope Berkowitz and a team of researchers exploring the myth of a witch until they find their numbers dwindling.

READ MORE: Okanagan author pens book about great uncle's unsolved murder

Cowie was born and raised in Clearwater and spent the last two years of high school in Kamloops. Now living in Squamish, Last One Alive, her fourth novel, was published last May by Canadian publisher Simon and Schuster.

“It’s a dream come true. My dad is such an incredible support and my stepmother is a former librarian of the Clearwater library so there have been so many instances like that where I had dreamed I’d be able to hold my book and see that I had become what I had always wanted to be growing up,” Cowie said.

Her two children, six and nine, will ask what she wanted to be growing up, “and I’m so grateful to answer ‘exactly what I’m doing now,’” she said.

It’s hard being a creative person and making a living from it, she said. “It’s a constant hustle, no matter what stage of success you’re at.”

Her writing beginnings started as a reporter in Alberta, before working in communications at the Grasslands Conservation Council of B.C in Kamloops. Her first novel, a zombie love story, took six years to write and it has never made it into reader’s hands, she said.

“For many years, my writing was dedicated to those causes that I believed in,” she said, adding she believes strongly in environmental issues and food security.

“Novel writing was really what I wanted to do but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills."

Completing the zombie manuscript gave her the confidence and capabilities to see the story through to the end so her second novel, Rapid Falls, only took six weeks to complete. It was published by Lake Union Publishing in 2018.

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At the time and as a new mom, she was “devouring” psychological thrillers that captured the essence of motherhood and at the time there was a lack of that perspective in thriller writing, she said.

“I wasn’t thinking where it would land in the market, as for me I’ve always written the story that was in my head and that’s always influenced by the kinds of stories that I’m immersed in,” she said.

Another surreal moment this summer was being able to attend a Last One Alive book signing in Victoria at Munro's Books with her children, a bookstore she loved when she did her undergrad at the University of Victoria. 

Her latest measure of success for her novel is whether a publisher will work with her again, she said.

“You always want to be under deadline and something else you’re working on,” she said. “You kind of always have to be a book ahead when you’re writing.”

When reflecting on her previous works, “you should always feel that what you’re working on is the best you’ve ever done,” she said.

Find a copy of Last One Alive online, or by visiting your local bookstore.

The cover of Last One Alive
The cover of Last One Alive
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Amber Cowie

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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