Interview with Gina McMurchy-Barber

Interview with Gina McMurchy-Barber thumbnail

Interview with Gina McMurchy-Barber

Posted on December 24 by Gina McMurchy-Barber
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Gina McMurchy-Barber talks to us today about her latest book in the Peggy Henderson adventure series Bone Deep.

Tell us about your book. How did you come up with the idea for this work?

Bone Deep is the third in my Archaeology Adventure series, starring the fallible and cheeky Peggy Henderson. In this adventure Peggy learns from her archaeology friend that a famous sunken ship-- lost some two hundred years earlier—may have been found off the coast of British Columbia. Peggy desperately wants to be part of the crew that goes to investigate. Only two things stand in her way-- the fact she can’t scuba dive and that she doesn’t know a thing about underwater archaeology. But Peggy has a plan to fix that—providing she can pull one over on her mom. There’s one more fly in the ointment—isn’t there always! Peggy’s Great Aunt Beatrix shows up and interferes with her plans. Along the way Peggy makes lots of terrible mistakes—which is her usual modus operandi. In the end the ship proves to be genuine, and Peggy learns about honesty and taking responsibility for her mistakes. As with all of Peggy’s stories, there is a second story embedded—that of a captain whose fur trading ship sinks after a terrible battle with angry Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.

Each book in the series introduces a different aspect of archaeology. The first two covered prehistoric and historic archaeology. This third is marine or underwater archaeology adventure. Another aspect of each book is introducing readers to Canadian history. Reading the Bones looks at our First Nations people and the concept of who owns the past. Broken Bones follows the building of the CNR and the early pioneers. It also delves into the moral dilemma of capital punishment, which continued in Canada until the 1960s. This latest book follows the Intrepid, a Pacific fur trading ship owned by John Jacob Astor. The story is loosely based on the Tonquin,  a ship that really did sink off the coast of BC after negotiations went terribly wrong with a Nuu-chah-nulth chief.

How did you research your book? What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I earned a degree in archaeology a really long time ago. But even though I have some experience and knowledge on this topic I always have to do a lot of research—not just about the aspects of archaeology, but of the historical period too. In the case of Bone Deep, I had the added task of having to write about scuba diving. At one point I considered taking lessons, but my aversion to cold water and really big fish weighed against that idea. With the help of friends who do scuba dive and other resources I think I pulled off a believable enough scenario.

Describe your ideal writing environment.

I know lots of authors can write in a busy café or library…but not me. I have to have absolute silence. Sometimes my Jack Russell and Boston terrier--who love to snuggle near me when I’m writing, like right now—snore, whistle and grunt in their sleep. To most people it’s hardly noticeable, but to me it’s completely distracting. If I’m feeling charitable I put in my earplugs and do my best to ignore them.

What is your new project?

I’m working on the fourth of my Peggy Henderson Adventure series—A Bone to Pick. It takes Peggy to L’Anse aux Meadows, the one thousand year old Viking outpost in Newfoundland.