Featured Author: Christine MacKinnon and Chronicles From The Hall

Our featured author has just released her debut memoir, Chronicles From The Hall.
Get to know Christine MacKinnon.

Tell us something about Christine Mackinnon, the woman. Who are you? How did you get into writing? 

I’m a  wife and a mom and a writer and a traveller. Writing is my passion. I’ve been writing for about 15 years now except for a little dabbling in poetry that most teenagers seem to engage in while in high school. For most of my life, I’ve been involved in one form of the arts or another but abut 20 years ago, I was struck with a chronic illness so I was forced to find a creative outlet that was less pyhsically demanding. I’ve been published in several anthologies and magazines and won a Canadian Literary Award for a short story entitled TIGER THE LION HEARTED.  

Your first book is a memoir, Chronicles from the Hall. What prompted you to write it?

This book, CHRONICLES FROM THE HALL, is my story. I lived it and I survived it. It’s been on the back burner for many years while I went forward with fiction. Somehow it just felt like the best first book.

What is the Hall? How old were you when you were sent there?

MacAuley Hall was a boarding school that I attended during my high school years.  It was a Roman Catholic School run by the Sisters Of Mercy. I was very young, just twelve years old when I was sent there.  I had started school a year early and then also skipped a year.  I was still more mature than a lot of girls who attended.  I grew up fast.  The book is not only about my life at The Hall but also about getting there, the reasons why and the challenges that I faced at home.

What did you hate the most about that experience?

Someone once asked me what my most vivid memory was from those days. Its hard to pinpoint a particular memory that stands out more than another. Instead, I have an overwhelming series of feelings.  First of all hunger:  hunger for food, hunger for attention and most importantly, hunger for love.  

How did this experience affect you as an adult? Does it influence your decisions? Positively or negatively?

I am who I am because of those years: tough, strong, and resilient enough to survive anything.  In the end, I suppose surviving those years was a good thing. They were tough and it was quite an adventure to get to this point in my life.  Some of the intervening years have not been easy.

As is the case with most victims of childhood abuse, in whatever form, I am hyper-sensitive to others and I hope more sympathetic.  My antenna is always up trying to predict actions and reactions.  My inner voice is a big part of who I am and I think that is reflected in my writing.  

What is your message to children who are in the same situation?

To children of today who experience neglect and abuse, hang in there. The time until you can get out seems endless but it does come.  Reach deep inside and find that inner strength.  We all have it.  Be good to yourself.  Most often, no one else will.

Do you have a work-in-progress that we should know about?

At present I’m writing a novel, a family saga, set on The Southern Shore of Newfoundland.  The story is primarily set before, during and right after WW2.  Although set in that location it could take place in any small remote community during that era.  The book is entitled SARAH’S SETTLE. I hope to have it ready for publication in the spring of 2019.

Connect with Christine MacKinnon

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