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Local author releases new children's novel about mermaids and Buffalo Pound Lake

Melanie McFarlane’s latest book takes place at Buffalo Pound Lake
finders keepers novel melanie mcfarlane
Finders Keepers by Melanie McFarlane

A mystery, a mythical creature, and Buffalo Pound Lake are all part of the latest novel from a local author.

Melanie McFarlane’s latest book, Finders Keepers, is now available.

“It is about a 12-year-old girl who lives out at Buffalo Pound Lake with her mom and her little brother. Her mom is a park ranger and she ends up getting a job in the city as a police officer and so they are going to be moving. The main character, Macy, is not too happy about this. She doesn’t like change,” said McFarlane. 

“One of the things she loves to do is to go hunting with her best friend for lost things around the lake, like things that people have left behind on the public beach. She decides she has to find a treasure big enough that will maybe put Buffalo Pound Lake on the map and somehow convince her mother that they shouldn’t move to the city. She ends up finding a shell that belongs to a mermaid that was kidnapped from the Pacific Ocean. She needs to find her shell so she can get home.” 

McFarlane says she loves writing about the prairies and has always had an interest in archeology, both of which helped inspire this latest story.

“I like having that mystery and adventure. I’m always inspired to write stories that I think my daughters would like to read.”

This is McFarlane’s first book with a Canadian publisher (Orca Book Publishers), which she says is exciting. It is also her first “hi-low” effort, which refers to books that have high interest but are written for lower-level readers. She says it was a new challenge to be mindful of word usage and the number of syllables when editing. 

The novel is aimed at middle-grade students but McFarlane notes her daughters are in grades 4 and 8 and they both enjoyed the book.

“My youngest is not an avid reader at all, so to be able to see her read a novel that is not filled with any pictures, well that was a big reward. She was pretty proud of herself. For my oldest, she read it in a night. It was the first book she was able to read in a single sitting. It was nice to see both ends of that reader spectrum.”

The book has already received a rave review from School Library Journal, calling it “A magical story of bravery, friendship, and little brothers…A great recommendation for any students interested in exploring, adventure, and treasure hunting.”

It seems like McFarlane is always writing. Indeed, she has plenty of writing projects in the works.

“I am just finishing a young adult mystery about a 17-year-old girl who goes missing and her 15-year-old brother goes looking for her…He kind of uncovers all these family secrets that have been kept away from him. I am pretty excited about that. It will be my first contemporary novel that doesn’t fit that whole science fiction or fantasy aspect,” said McFarlane. 

“There is never going to be an end to ideas. Most authors will agree that at any time you usually have about 20 works in progress, but sometimes they meld together and two become one, or three become one, or sometimes you have them for years and don’t do anything with them. It never ends.”

Finders Keepers is now available through all major Canadian retailers and Amazon. If you prefer to shop local, you can get the book through Post Horizon Booksellers at 57 High St. West. It will also be available through the library. More information is available through Orca Book Publishers