GJC McKitrick

GJC McKitrick

 

One of the stories I haven’t told, at least in public, is how “A Walk in the Thai Sun” came to be written.

My wife Annie and I spend four years in Thailand as missionaries. It was during a time in my life when I was wrestling with my Christian faith, and determined to deepen it by engaging in a bold act. In many ways this turned into a regrettable decision.

First, being an introvert, putting myself in a situation that required almost continual social interaction was a bad idea. Learning the Thai language would have been much easier had I not been reluctant to talk to the local people.

The second problem is that, although both my wife and I would describe ourselves as evangelical Christians, we are on the liberal side of that spectrum and our missionary colleagues were not.   I will not bore you with a discussion of theological distinctives here except to say that a state of low-level conflict existed almost from the moment we arrived in Thailand.

A year or two before our arrival an unfortunate incident happened where a male missionary made a cultural error. He led a Thai woman to faith and then began to disciple her by having one on one Bible study sessions. Her husband thought there was something else going on and had the missionary killed. For the following few weeks the Thai press was alive with stories that, at a basic level, used the incident to attack Christian moral character.  It got so bad that the missionary organization felt that it had to withdraw its cooperation with the investigation in an act of self preservation. The murder was never solved. Back home in Canada the man’s family agreed with this decision because they believed in the mission.

When I learned of this I asked myself some questions. What if his family back home did not agree with the decision?   What if they were not believers and wanted to see justice done? What would have happened then?  I would think on these questions for several years before turning them into a novel.

My wife and I returned from Thailand in 1990, quite discouraged with our time there.   We would not return as missionaries.

A couple of years later my father died a premature death and I struggled with losing him. It was around that time that I started to write “A Walk in the Thai Sun”.   This is the primary reason the grief in this novel is so palpable. What I wanted to do was write a murder mystery. What that turned into was a story about a lonely and agnostic Vancouver cop who has his only son ripped from his life in a foreign land and goes to that land to seek the truth about his death and his life.

It took a long time to get this novel published. In the 1990s when I wrote it I got multiple rejection slips from both publishers and agents. As any writer will know rejection slips rarely come with explanations. But on a few cases I did receive feedback, what these said was a variation on the following. “We think you write well but we don’t know how to market this.”

It sat in the bottom of a drawer for over ten years.   I brought it out when I realized that changes in the publishing industry would make it easier to self publish. I was researching self-publishing when an online contact suggested I send the novel to his publisher.   I did and Moonshine Cove wanted it. Unfortunately the original rejection slips were right. This is a hard book to market and it has not sold well, despite a number of good reviews. Still I take comfort in the fact that there is growing interest in the book and it is being read.

If you have read it, thank you.   Please tell others about it.

 

G.J.C. McKitrick