What does one do when possessing a well of experiences, ranging from humorous to gut bustingly funny? For newly published author, Frank Ritcey, the answer is to compile these stories to share the series of misadventures and funny moments in one’s life. 

Ritcey, described his book, ‘Tigers, Tumbleweeds, and Trauma’, as a collection of humourous vignettes throughout his life.

“One thing that I’ve found with writing stories is people identify with others that had bad things happen to them,” Ritcey explained. “You find humour in other people’s follies and foibles. I enjoy writing stories like that, the ones that give a laugh.” 

On Wednesday, November 23, the Merritt Library hosted a public reading by Ritcey of his book. An intimate group of nine people sat down and listened to the author as he read excerpts from his book. 

“It was really good for my first attempt at reading in Merritt,” said Ritcey. “I know that there are lots of things going on, so whenever you get more than two people, I am happy with the turnout.” 

Ritcey read two stories from the book, one talking about his experience with a bow and arrow, while the other recalls a time when he and a gang of his companions decided to play dead on the side of the road at Hemp Creek. 

“There was good interaction with the people of Merritt,” he said. “I am new here so I didn’t have too big of an expectation with the turnout.” 

Ritcey and his wife decided to move to Merritt in 2018, after he retired from the B.C. Conservation Foundation.

“I was looking for different projects and I realized now would be a great time to actually publish a book,” he explained. “I am new to book publishing but I’m always up for new challenges. I’ve done everything, from horse logging to computer programming, and everything in between.”

Though new to the publishing world, Ritcey noted that he is not necessarily new to writing, as he had been a humour columnist for a paper for 12 years.

“I’ve written bits and parts of the book over my lifetime,” he said. “Being retired, gives you the time to do things like that.” 

The book was finally published in December of 2021. Ritcey did his first book reading session in Clearwater, noting that it was the most appropriate place to do it as many of the events in the book happened in the area. 

“Once I had it published, I started promoting it on my social media and through readings like this,” he explained. “For me, it’s not so much about making book sales, but it’s more on getting these stories out there and spreading some humour.”

“We thought that he (Ritcey) would be a really good choice to come in and present, based on his reputation as a good presenter, his connections with the Naturalist Society, and the interesting stories he was sharing about the outdoors, his work experience, and interest in wildlife,” said Claire Sabitson, branch head of the Merritt Library.  

“We’re always open to local authors and artists. We have quite an active local artistic community. They come in here a couple of times a week so we get to see what they’re up to. If we can collaborate with local artists and local agencies then that’s what we are after.” 

Very pleased with the turnout of his reading, Ritcey, commended the Thompson Nicola Library System’s support of local authors, noting that TNRL bought six copies of his book that is now in circulation. 

The next reading session for ‘Tigers, Tumbleweeds, and Trauma’ will be in the Kamloops Library this coming January. The book could be purchased at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery, located in 2051 Voght Street.