Broken Anchor is a tale of adventure and romance on the high seas (and great lakes) and it’s the product of years of work for Bracebridge author Paul Feist.
Feist’s first novel, Broken Anchor takes the reader on a voyage from the Great Lakes to the often-angry Atlantic and on to the sweltering shores of South America.
“Broken Anchor is a fictional novel based on my real-life experiences as a young man coming of age sailing treacherous waters while being subjected to often-perilous situations aboard oil tankers,” says Feist. “I had such an extraordinary sailing life as a teenager I just knew that one day it would make a great story.”
Feist is familiar to many in Muskoka as a long-time actor and the author of Feast or Famine, a humour column that ran weekly in the Muskoka Sun newspaper for a decade.
Although he’s lived in Muskoka since 1987, Feist grew up in Mississauga. It was there in his teenage years that a neighbour helped send him on the adventures that would eventually form the basis for Broken Anchor.
“Growing up we had a neighbour who worked in the oil business. He helped me land a job abroad an oil tanker working the Great Lakes and the Atlantic,” says Feist. “I think I was born to be involved with the water in some way. I’m an Aquarius who sailed across the Atlantic from England when I was young. I’ve lived in Port Credit, Port Colbourne, Port Sandfield…any port in a storm I suppose.”
From the age of 16 to 19 Feist spent his summers on oil tankers, working his way up from peeling potatoes in the galley to a deckhand, where he helped to tie up the ship and other jobs.
“Sometimes it was winging out over the water on a boom,” he says. “I had quite a few near-death experiences and I know some guys who never made it back.”
It was those adventures on the water (and a few more of the romantic variety on land) that would go to form Broken Anchor many years later.
Feist’s first crack at putting the story down on paper came in cooperation with a local writing group.
“They liked the sexy bits and we had a lot of laughs but they said you need something to make it all fit together,” said Feist. “In order for the narrative to have a meaningful arc I knew I had to somehow connect all the dots. I bookended the story with my young protagonist being 25 years older, forced to acknowledge a solemn promise he had failed to keep.”
The resulting 432-page adventure-romance is fraught with danger, romance and hi-jinks, as the protagonist, a young Danny Dawson, catapults into manhood…sometimes unwillingly.
Feist’s talented artist wife, Janice Feist, provided the painting for the novel’s cover.
“I’m lucky,’’ says Feist. “I have a very special First Mate to ably handle those tasks not in my wheelhouse.”
Although distribution has been limited since Covid-19, it is currently available at the following outlets in Bracebridge. Martin’s Framing, 10 Taylor Rd.; Worth Repeating, 31 Manitoba St.; Majestic Hair Design, 19A Manitoba St. and Proactive Rehab, 23 Dairy Lane in Huntsville. Copies can also be obtained by contacting Feist directly through his website www.paulfeist.com or email email@example.com.
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