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Launchpad: The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, by Nick Tooke

An uncommon coming-of-age story as well as a thoughtful examination of the meaning of home and family.

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, by Nick Tooke, an uncommon coming-of-age story as well as a thoughtful examination of the meaning of home and family.


Book Cover The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt

The Elevator Pitch: Tell us about your book in a sentence. 

Ok. You asked for it. Going up…

“The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt is a gritty adventure story set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in B.C. in which two unlikely friends, reckless and spoiling for Romance, steal a prize stallion, tangle with a gangster, taste the bittersweet freedom of poverty, then clash with the denizens of a ramshackle travelling circus where, cured by violence of their boyish heroism, they discover the geometry of loyalty, beauty, and loss.”

Phew! Ding, ding. Thank you very much. Doors open….

Describe your ideal reader.

My ideal reader enjoys bad whisky, Mississippi delta blues, dark humour, outwitting authority, and believes that books don’t need to be dull or esoteric to be labeled literature.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with?

Cormac McCarthy, Diane Arbus, Hildegard von Bingen, and Chretien de Troyes.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

Be brave, be foolish, and don’t write to be admired. Quit your job. Marry for money. Give what you’re working on at any given time absolutely everything you’ve got, always think of your reader as much as yourself and never, ever, ever, give up.

What is something your ideal interviewer would ask you?

She would ask me what the soundtrack should be if the movie got made, and who would best direct it.

The thank yous:

I owe a debt to two Stephanies (creepy coincidence): First, my wife, Stephanie Tooke, for not kicking me to the curb and second, my editor at The Porcupine’s Quill, Stephanie Small, who had the nerve to roll her eyes at me, and the heart to carve this book into shape.



Book Cover The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt

About The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt:

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, a young horse thief and his unlikely accomplice are pursued through the forbidding landscape of the BC interior. There they encounter villains, drifters and fiercely insular circus folk in a profound tale of friendship, forgiveness and finding home.

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