|Dennis, David and I with staff at the Chapters St. Vital bookstore|
My first book was born 17 years ago. Those of you who know me, remember the story. Twins Dennis and David Pischke came to me when I was a reporter, asking me to write a feature about them for publication in the Interlake Spectator. They were adult survivors of child abuse, men who’d kept the heartbreaking details of their young lives a secret for nearly 40 years. After the story hit the media, a book idea was conceived.
Where Children Run was launched November 29, 1996. Five days later we were guests on the CJOB action line with host Peter Warren. The book took off and within weeks it was a Canadian Bestseller. It has been reprinted eight times.
A few years after that, David and I were sitting on a plane on our way to Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. We’d been invited to be the guest speakers at a conference for child abuse survivors. I remember very little about the conference itself—we attended many speaking engagements in those following years—but I do remember something David said to me.
“Whatever you do Karen, don’t ever let the book die,” he said.
Looking back, it was almost like a prophecy, that maybe David knew he wouldn’t be around much longer.
I told him not to worry. I’d keep the book alive. At the time it seemed like an easy promise to make. After his death in 2004 though, it became difficult to keep. David died unexpectedly in his sleep the result of a massive heart attack. Half the reason Where Children Run became such a success was gone. The other half—his twin Dennis—was devastated. We floundered for a few years after that.
Sales by then dwindled, but we still got a few requests. It didn’t make good financial sense to go back to the printer, so the book unceremoniously went out of print.
I didn’t tell anyone about the promise I’d made to David but it was there, nagging at me. Technology has changed so much since that plane ride that finally I’ve been able to keep that promise. Now anyone, anywhere in the world can read Dennis and David’s story by simply buying the Kindle version and downloading it onto their eReader, smart phone or computer.
Seventeen years ago I gave birth after a long, difficult labour to the book that forever changed my life. I have Dennis and David Pischke to thank for that.