Sunday, October 28, 2007

Whale Song: a novel that crosses racial boundaries

Yesterday at a book signing at Coles in Southgate Shopping Centre in Edmonton, AB, I was reminded of the power of words and what an honor it is to have written a novel that has affected so many. Although Whale Song is a work of fiction, it is also an inspired work that originated from a single, beautiful native legend--a legend that says that if you see a killer whale close to shore, it is really the reincarnated soul of a loved one who has come to say goodbye. Whale Song is a novel of many things--of love, lies, family ties, sacrifice. It is also a novel of racial discrimination and conflict, and one of healing, caring and looking past color or race.

At yesterday's signing I met numerous people who recognized me from recent TV interviews and newspaper features. I also met so many fans, especially Whale Song fans. I don't think I've ever met that many at one signing. A young teen came up to me and told me she loved Whale Song and that it was her favorite book. One man came up and asked if I had another novel out yet because his wife loved my work and was collecting my books. Another woman stopped by and told me how much she cried when she read Whale Song and how she was recommending it to all her friends.

Then Hanid, a sweet woman (from India, I believe), whom I immediately recognized from a previous signing, came up to me and told me how much she had loved reading Whale Song. She said it had affected her so deeply that she thought about it for days afterward. She had bought a copy for herself and for her mom a few months ago and she "loved Whale Song too". Hanid said something that floored me. She said that she thinks I should have won the Nobel Peace Prize for Whale Song. Wow! We talked for about 15 minutes and I listened as she told me about my characters, the ones I'd created, describing them in such a way that showed how real the story was for her. Here was a reader who had connected deeply. To the characters and to the messages within.

Hanid then bought two more copies of Whale Song to send to a friend in the city and to a relative in Pakistan. She returned to my table and handed me a gift bag. I was stunned by her generous spirit. The gift was lovely. It contained scented lotion and a huge bottle of one of my favorite perfumes--one that I am nearly out of. Of all the perfumes to give me...

She left with two copies of Whale Song, and I was left feeling very blessed to have met such wonderful fans and very grateful to have made an impact--even a small one--on someone's life and thinking.

My experience at this one signing really opened my eyes to the universal appeal of Whale Song. Those who had read it and loved it were from various nationalities and skin colors. Those who bought yesterday also came from different countries. I have seen international sales to many countries now--the US, England, France, Scotland, China, Japan, Australia, India, the Ukraine, Pakistan and more. English versions, no translations.

Whale Song crosses racial boundaries because it deals with a young white girl who is thrown into a completely different culture--the native culture. This is a story of how friendships are made with open hearts, hearts that don't see skin color or race. Hearts that share their experiences and knowledge from different worlds maybe, but hearts that share, all the same.

Whale Song knows no boundaries, and that is why I believe that people all over the world are reading it...and 'getting it'.

Yesterday made me remember a project that one of my author friends is involved in. Luanne Rice wrote a lovely novel called What Matters Most and a website explores that sentiment too, allowing you to post 'What Matters Most' to you (I invite you to do so). Whale Song explores 'what matters most', and I think that is why it will continue to cross boundaries and dissolve racial discrimination. What matters most is love, caring, And for me...making a difference.

If you send Whale Song as a gift to someone in another country as a gift, please let me know. It gives me immense pleasure to know that it is crossing boundaries everywhere. You can buy Whale Song at your favorite bookstore. If it isn't on the shelves, please ask them to order it in. Or you can order online from various retailers like or

To everyone who stopped by my table yesterday, thank YOU. You all gifted me with your stories and your interest. And since a portion of my royalties from the sale of every Whale Song goes to 3 non-profit organizations, together we have made a difference. And believe me, talking to each of you has made a difference in my life.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

No comments: