It’s hard to talk about a single gensis for Two Roads Home. That’s probably the case with all novels. In terms of how Clayquot sound came into the story, the protests there are a vivid memory for me. I was living in Ontario at the time so what I got was from a distance, but it seemed to me the start of something big, a return to the sixties and the power of youthful idealist protests, a new generation feeling its oats and standing up for what it saw as important. I saw remember the images in the pages of McLeans, heard the stories on CBC radio.
I remember landing in BC for the first time six years later and marvelling at the wild landscape, the ragged coastline. When my wife and I finally moved here, I was facinated to have landed in a place where people still lived off the grid. It made the coast of BC feel like a place where everything was still possible.
Another starting point for this novel is September 11th. I was in New York that day and it’s had an impact that lasted. Before 911 and Islamic extremisim, violent action in the name of a political cause still had a cache of some kind in parts of the west–some had a romantic attachment to the IRA, it was possible to voice reasoned opinions in support of the armed wing of the ANC or the Black Panthers or the FLQ. All that is gone now, buried still deeper by the horrors of ISIS and others, but it made me wonder about the causes I could write about sympathetically.
A final liner note. In a 2015 just as I was polishign off one of the last drafts of Two Roads Home, I came across an article in the Globe and Mail listing all the acts of terror on Canadian soil that year. There wer efive, three of them had an envirinmental connection, only one related to islam and that was the attack on the PEterborough Mosque–an attack agianst Islam not an attack by Islamist extermists.
This book is set 25 years ago, but eco terrirism is not exclusively a thing of the past in Canada.