The holidays have officially arrived in the Nicola Valley, with festive activities aplenty and abundant decorations decking the ‘halls’ of downtown Merritt. Local author Bonnie Cowan looks to add to the cheer and good tidings for families in the Nicola Valley, releasing her annual Christmas tale just in time for winter break. This year, readers meet protagonist Kayden, in ‘Kayden’s Golden Christmas.’ 

Cowan, a retired mental health therapist and former Child Protective Services employee, has released the annual story for a number of years. After struggling to find anything suitable for families while shopping for a friend’s Christmas book gift, Cowan set out to write her own. She had taken a creative writing class at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology after retirement, and had always enjoyed writing. The story soon became an annual tradition.

“The first one was about six or seven years ago, and I decided at that time that I wanted to do one every year,” said Cowan.

“That was my commitment to myself and, in the meantime, I write sporadically, poems and sometimes a bit of music. It’s quite diverse for me, but the book at Christmas is the pièce de résistance.”

The Merritt author noted that her writing is influenced by the Nicola Valley, which she is proud to call home. The influence of past clients in the CPS system or her therapy practice is also present in Cowan’s writing, offering a unique perspective on grief, gratitude, and family ties. This year’s story, Kayden’s Golden Christmas, is a tale of giving, rejection, and resistance to accepting help. While Cowan assures readers they can expect a happy ending, the book teaches valuable lessons on supporting others and giving back. She encourages families to read the book together. 

“Literacy is just everything, once you can read the world is yours,” noted Cowan. 

Cowan is an advocate of literacy in children, and her enjoyment of her art form is evident in her passion and in her writing itself. In addition to her Christmas story, Cowan is working on a fiction novel, set in the Nicola Valley, that follows the life of a young woman moving to an area ranch from the city, and her experience as an outsider looking in. Having experience as a writer in a small town, Cowan offered up some advice to aspiring authors. 

“Follow your dream, if you want to write, you must write, it’s not negotiable,” said Cowan. 

“You must write. You must not give it up for something else that looks easier, or you mustn’t give it up out of fear that you can’t make a living, you must write. Follow your dream.” 

Cowan’s latest work can be purchased at Baillie House, Vision Quest Optical, Black’s Pharmacy, and Miss Vickie’s Petals and Plants.