Kathleen Winter on bringing the past into the present

Shelagh Rogers interviewed the author of Lost in September at the Writers at Woody Point Festival.
Shelagh Rogers interviews Kathleen Winter on-stage at the Writers at Woody Point Festival.

Kathleen Winter's latest novel, Lost in September, is a complex and layered story of a modern day ex-soldier from Montreal who bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The compelling plot twists and turns as the concept of "what and who is real" is upended.

Winter grew up in Corner Brook, N.L., about an hour from where Shelagh Rogers interviewed her on-stage at the Writers at Woody Point Festival.

Finding inspiration in Wolfe's letters

"I spent time holding and reading the letters and walking and listening to the spaces between the letters. The more I spent time with him, the more I knew I didn't want this to be about the long-lost long ago. There was so much that was the same, and he was with me in the now. I wanted him to know what became of the vision that was the reason behind his coming here and doing what he did."

On the effects of PTSD

"Continually through his letters he would say the 'bad vapours have come to me again.' He had very strange remedies for them that involved herbs and snails and often alcohol. He self-medicated quite a bit. He talked about this and he talked about it vaguely. Even though it wasn't what we'd call it today, it was still something that you had to hide from people. He had to call it by a code name and he certainly could not display it in front of the men he was supposed to be leading into battle."       

Kathleen Winters' comments have been edited and condensed.