Dene author's new book draws inspiration from her childhood

Catherine Lafferty's latest novel Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Tı-Yat’a was released this past week.

Catherine Lafferty’s Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Tı-Yat’a was released Oct. 15

Catherine Lafferty used her Dene name, Katłįà to author her latest book. (Amos Scott)

Catherine Lafferty says writing her recent novel and first work of fiction was a frantic process.

The law student's latest book, Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Tı-Yat'a was released last week.

She describes it as a composite novel in six parts, each following a different character whose paths merge along the way.

"I was just typing away and didn't even know half the time what the heck I was typing," she said in an interview with CBC's The Trailbreaker from her home in Victoria.

"It just had to get out somehow and I'd like to think my ancestors were there and we're just like, 'hey, you know, this needs to be written.'"

Lafferty says she didn't know the ending and didn't have a plan.

"But it did all kind of just come together somehow, almost magically," she said.

"It was driven and I was just the conduit almost. And I don't mind being the conduit."

Lafferty used her Dene name, Katłįà, to author the book.

"It's important for me to start asserting my name and so I've decide to do that with my fiction writing," she said.

Written over 2 months

She wrote it over two months while in Yellowknife and drew inspiration from summer trips in her childhood to her grandmother's birthplace in the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

Looking back on her novel, she says there are a lot of subtleties, something she says you'll find in Indigenous teachings.

"When we tell stories, they can be perceived in many different ways and it depends on what area you are in your life or where you are in your life," she said.

"And you can hear that story and you can construe it in a different way and it means something different to everyone that reads it. And that's what happened to me with Land-Water-Sky."

With files from CBC's The Trailbreaker