For a few hours on Nov. 20, Rossland resident Jennifer Ellis became a local celebrity during a book reading and signing at Cafe Books in Castlegar.
“We won’t put you too far out there Richard, you obviously don’t have the stomach for it, but you’ll have to find other ways to make yourself useful.”
This is where chapter nine finished, and the crowd — roughly 20 people — began asking questions and readying their books for the upcoming signing.
The book, titled In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation has quickly become a hit across all regions but none more-so than here in the Kootenays.
The combination of a local author and a local setting, “Somewhere between here and Kaslo, nestled in a valley in the Selkirk Mountains,” said Ellis, makes this a hometown hit.
The synopsis reads, “In a world torn apart by economic collapse, Natalie and her husband Richard have established an island of relative safety on a communal farm. But farm politics and the constant grind of survival expose the rifts in Natalie and Richard’s marriage. In a lawless land with no shortage of suffering, who determines what is right and just… when the stakes are survival?”
Although the story revolves around a love triangle, it also tackles issues of politics, health, and social justice. In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation is a story that forces the reader to think about the possible consequence of our fossil fuel addiction.
Ellis wanted to explore the human concept of morality when faced with crisis points as well.
“What are our moral obligations to each other in challenging times? I hate to think we all just become cold-blooded killers.”
Only two chapters were read at the cafe, but that was all it seemed to take as those who had already experienced the book were paying as much attention as people hearing it for the first time.
It’s no surprise though that the book is as successful as it is.
Focusing on a world where climate change has altered our way of living drastically, hits close to home these days.
Coupled with countless revisions and over seven years of adding this and removing that, the story of Mosquito Constellation has gained a huge following.
Ellis said her inspiration came from reading a book called The Long Emergency.
The book is non-fiction and focuses on the peak oil issue prevalent around 2007.
Peak oil, an event based on M. King Hubbert’s theory, is the point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline.
Concerns for peak oil have since been reduced but the fear of climate change and a dystopian future is always there.
Ellis has previously written a young adults book titled A Pair of Docks and is currently working on having her entry in a series titled Apocalypse Weird published.
The book Reversal, is more of a science fiction title and focuses on the magnetic north and south poles being reversed.