Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's physician and novelist wins literary award

Dr. Susan MacDonald has been recognized for her outstanding work in the medical field, but she took home a very different kind of award last month.

Palliative care doctor took up writing as a form of release

Dr. Susan MacDonald is a palliative care doctor in St. John's. She took up writing as a hobby, and has since won two Moonbeam awards for her trilogy of teenage fantasy novels. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

A St. John's physician that has been recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons for her outstanding work in the medical field took home a very different kind of award last month. 

Dr. Susan MacDonald has been an outspoken voice for people in palliative care for the past 30 years. 

It's a demanding career, and MacDonald says she decided to take up writing as a hobby and as a form of release from her day-to-day challenges.  

"I have a career, and I'm really passionate about it," she said.

"But I needed some sort of release, because there are parts of my career that are very sad and distressing … fantasy is the perfect escape."

Moonbeam Awards

MacDonald has written a trilogy of novels, The Tyon Collective, for teenage readers. 

She was recently recognized with her second Moonbeam Award, a contest that recognizes children's books from independent publishers from all over the United States and Canada.  

The most recent novel, Treason's Edge, is the third and final part of a story that sends a message of being true to yourself and fighting for what you believe in. 

"As a beginning writer, it is a huge boost of confidence," she said.

"I think as a writer you have to believe in yourself, but it is such a solitary thing to do. Mostly what you hear today is criticism, so when you get an award like this, it's just amazing."

It's like anything else. If it's important to you, you just find the time — you make it.​​​​​- Dr. Susan MacDonald

MacDonald said she started writing by dedicating an hour to her hobby every evening. 

She really enjoyed it, and decided to start dedicating more time to develop her craft. 

"It's like anything else. If it's important to you, you just find the time — you make it," she said. 

MacDonald is already working on her next novel, and said she's "having a ball" with the characters she has created.

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With files from Weekend AM