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A Forgotten Carleton Place Writer: D. K. Findlay – Part 2

A Forgotten Carleton Place Writer: D. K. Findlay – Part 2

Part 1- The Man Known as D.K. Findlay–David Findlay

Findlay, D(avid) K(ilpatrick) (1901-1990) (items)(chron.)Novelist and lawyer. Born in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada.

By Mary Cook Citizen special correspondent

In the Depression, when D. K. Findlay gave up his law practice in Carleton Place to become a full-time writer, he hoped to make a more comfortable living than he could manage as a young lawyer. Now, five novels later, he is not rich, but neither does he regret the decision. His latest, King Winter, about a melange of U.S. travellers and local villagers marooned in the Ottawa Valley by a great storm, has just been published by Deneau and Greenberg of Ottawa. Interviewed recently, Findlay recalled when he first decided writing would be integral to his life.

“I was about 10 years old,” he said. “Suddenly, in school one day, I was filled with this terrible need to create a story. I ran all the way home and in about two hours wrote this fantastic tale about a fight between a bull moose and a bear. It was my first encounter with writing … and I don’t suppose I ever got over that feeling of exhilaration of having created something on paper.”

War correspondent Findlay went on to become Second World War correspondent with Maclean’s magazine, and, after returning to Canada, started writing for the American market. He found ready acceptance for his stories of adventure and intrigue, and his first novel, Search for Amelia, ran as a serial in the Ladies Home Journal. He went on to write Third Act, The Lost One, and Northern Affair (which has become a popular paperback in Denmark). Findlay calls himself a serious writer. He considers his writing a full-time profession and manages to make a living at it. However, none of his novels have come easily. King Winter was three years in the writing and the final draft was his third attempt: “I kept getting trapped in side issues which took me away from the plot.

After the third writing, I knew I had captured what I wanted to say at the outset.” Findlay finds writing for the Canadian market a challenge. He said there aren’t many successful Canadian authors, and the majority of these are females. One of the dilemmas facing the Canadian author, he said, is the shortage of Canadian readers. Gossip sells “Anything written with political overtones, or in a gossipy fashion sells here,” he said. “Unfortunately, good fiction isn’t too popular. “However, the climate for Canadian authors is gradually changing. To be a writer when I started was to be an oddity.”

Findlay is thinking about his sixth novel, but not too strenuously. He foresees a story about children who grow up in a small town, leave, then return as adults to a changed environment. This sounds like his own family, but he says no. The Findlay family built a manufacturing dynasty around the stove industry in Carleton Place. D. K. Findlay, a great grandson of the original stove-maker, David Findlay, said he doesn’t think he would ever write about the family “being too close to it would be a handicap.”

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada02 Nov 1978, Thu  •  Page 75

 Canada battles a new ice age in D.K. Findlay’s fifth novel KING WINTER By D. K. Findlay Deneau & Greenberg 214 pages By ZONIA KEYWAN Special to The Gazette What if the unusually heavy snowstorms that have struck Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States in recent years were not chance occurences but symptoms of new climatic conditions, heralds of the start of a new ice age’.’ What if a far worse storm were to strike a storm violent enough to cripple half the continent for a protracted period of time? This possibility becomes reality in D. K. Findlay’s fifth novel. King Winter. A storm of unprecedented ferocity hits Ontario, Quebec and the neighboring states, immobilizing all means of transportation and leaving thousands stranded in airports across the land. Ryder, a history professor turned government environmentalist, finds himself put in charge of a group of airline passengers stranded in the Ottawa Valley. The travellers, most of them ‘ Americans, are confused, angry and on the verge of panic. Although Ryder has no particular qualifications that would prepare him to deal with an emergency of this magnitude and although he has troubles of his own, he rises to the task. He moves his group to the nearby village of Huntley and strives to keep them fed, clothed, sheltered and calm for the duration of the emergency. This turns out to be a far longer period than anyone would have imagined, for what strikes the region is not merely a single storm. A strange weather system has gripped the whole northeastern part of North America and sends a succession of storms, fierce winds and endless snow which threatens to bury the whole region and all its inhabitants. This is a story of confrontation between man and the elemental forces of nature. The snow takes on a curious, complex life of its own. It is an impla threatened to bury the region? cable enemy, yet it has a strange sort of; beauty and it even serves, on occasion, as a force of justice. Findlay shows us : the vulnerability of human beings and . the fragility of their creations air-‘ planes, radios, telephones, power sta- tions. Isolated in their village, the people of Huntley are forced to struggle for survival, and although they are shaken and bruised, they are not broken. Total strangers, unexpectedly thrown together, fight side by side to keep their community alive. King Winter claims a few sacrificial victims, but the majority survive. King Winter is well-paced, gripping and too convincing for comfort.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada11 Nov 1978, Sat  •  Page 38

KING WINTER. By D. K. Findlay. 214 pages. Deneau and Greenberg. $9.95. What would life be like in a really big snow? I mean weeks of snow and blow that rose to the second story of our houses! Snow and succeeding snow that blocked all our transport! A winter that seemed to herald the determined start of another Ice Age! Ottawa author D. K. Findlay has taken up the query. He’s written a suspense tale on what might be dubbed the great Canadian nightmare. Amusingly, and pleasurably for Ottawa Valley readers, he’s given his story a microcosm setting that is almost in our midst. Picture a town 30 miles from Ottawa that has a local airport where an airliner, refused landing at Uplands, has just dumped 70 travellers.

Surround it by two rail-lines and two highways where nothing has moved for the past two weeks. Give the town an army bunker installation that can supply tracked vehicles. Get the stranded travellers moved from the hangar over to billets In the town. The locals are already struggling to keep themselves fed and warm. But Valley hospitality would never turn strangers from the door, not even the mixed bag, frail New York jeweller to rock performers, who are now their impatient and worried guests. The author calls the town Hunt-Icy. “It was situated on a roll of land with three streets going up the hillside, looking like a crane’s foot. It seemed to be an old-fashioned village with half the houses of preserved by the family, one of the book’s 41 illustrations). reviewed by Dorothy Bishop painted wood and the rest old brick, and a sprinkle of new bungalows on its flank where the commuters lived. There were five churches and a white Oddfellows Hall, carpenter’s Gothic.”

You’ve pierced the Huntley disguise? It happened that I drove through Carp this past weekend when, holed up by a day’s rain, I sat snug by the’ cottage fire absorbed in Findlay’s snowy world. At times when I stepped out for more wood it seemed a surprise that wet leaves, not huge snowdrifts, lay between cottage and woodpile. Mr. Findlay has a feel for portraying winter. And not only its awesome bite. He can lead you to marvel at it, to admire vast snowfields, even snow fields that crest into ridges that turn back exploratory snowmobiles. The novel’s protagonist is a senior environmentalist from the federal department who has been in the far north. He and his pilot, returning to Ottawa in a Twin Otter turbo-prop from their own survival experience during their flight south, are similarly forced to land at Carp.

Excuse me, Huntley. Dr. Ryder assumes leadership in the stranded village. His are the eyes through which see we most of the action. In this lonely little world, the rest, of the continent being cut off from it, townsfolk and travellers with for winter varying successes have to achieve everything for themselves. The local grist mill keeps them in bread. Neighboring’ farmers and destroyed animals keep them in milk and meat. I must confess I found I wasuvorrying more than the author did about how the good cooks of Huntley were managing supplies for their church suppers that had to feed the multitudes. The author’s eyes were more often on the variable pulse of the village: the suicidal escape attempts, the dashed hopes, when the expected airlift had to turn away, the diversionary concert, the elusive rapist. And Ryder’s eyes for a time were on the beautiful young woman who was in such a frenzy to get back to Baltimore.

The author’s usual Incisive dialogue seemed to falter into the banal in those love episodes. And I had a curious sense during several scenes that the rest of the story had stopped. It has always been for me one of the magics of successful fiction that as reader you art-aware of the pulse of the story’s surrounding life no matter where your attention is focused for the moment. It makes no mind. King Winter holds you even past the points your brain tells you aren’t quite working. . This minor Grand Hotel among the Valley snows has its own intrigucmcnls. And visually its Ottawa publishers have done the tale proud. What a fireside suspense light read this should make as winter storms swirl around our well ploughed Ottawa streets this winter!

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada28 Oct 1978, Sat  •  Page 50

CLIPPED FROMThe Montreal StarMontreal, Quebec, Canada05 May 1962, Sat  •  Page 120

CLIPPED FROMThe News TribuneTacoma, Washington16 Nov 1958, Sun  •  Page 66

CLIPPED FROMThe Boston GlobeBoston, Massachusetts22 Nov 1944, Wed  •  Page 3

The Man Known as D.K. Findlay–David Findlay

Forgotten Letters – William Findlay- Almonte Memories –The Buchanan Scrapbook

Memories of a Photo — The Forgotten Canadian Forestry Corps, Booze and a Mud Quagmire

A Forgotten Will of 1895

He Hailed from Carleton Place– Harold Box– The Forgotten Scientist?

The Forgotten Graves of Lanark County

Glory Days of Carleton Place-The Olde Barracks-Canada’s Forgotten “Little Bunkers”-Leigh Gibson

The Man Known as D.K. Findlay–David Findlay

The Man Known as D.K. Findlay–David Findlay
David Findlay, one of the Carleton Place clan, famous for the stoves they’ve been manufactured for a century or so. In 1942 he left law for literature. Writing had been paying him for a long time. It kept him, his wife, two boys and two girls very nicely, indeed. I had a hard time finding his work until I realized he went under the name of D.K. Findlay.
“I was at Osgoode Hall when I sent a story to the Canadian Magazine and they paid me $4 for it”, he said.  “And they asked for more. This was wonderful. I kept on writing and I had the great, good luck to tie in with a first class agent in New York Sydney Sanders. He took very real interest in Canadian writers, and was a personal friend of the Saturday Evening Post people and helped me tremendously.”
In 1933, David Findlay made the goal of most short story writers. The Saturday Evening Post accepted and paid him $500 for what he calls a “He and She” story.  He sold many stories to the Post, Colliers, American and Red Book.  He was also at the time in 1958 correcting proofs on “Her Subliminal Mind”, a topical effort that will appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.
He had a year in the British Isles and on the continent after he graduated from University of Toronto. He wheeled his way and through France gave him background for “Search For Amelia”, his first full length novel.  He was in England as a freelance writer with a loose contract with Maclean’s Magazine and he also got around the air fields a lot and that gave me more background for the book. His younger brother, “Jock”, one of the original night ‘fighter pilots of 406 Squadron was killed in 1941.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
16 Sep 1941, Tue  •  Page 4

David held a pilot’s licence and many ideas of love and adventure are borne on the wings of flight. What about habits of work? “I work through the morning from nine to one and I hate to be interrupted”, he said.” I’m not worth a hoot at the typewriter in the afternoon but like to go back in the evenings. It’s absolutely imperative. If you are going to be professional writer, you need to develop habit of work. Why hadn’t more of his stuff appeared in Canadian publications? “Just no market here for short stories”, he said. Macleans is about the only publication that brings out fresh stories and pays good prices. .
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It’s been my experience that the United States magazines have absolutely no prejudice against Canadian writers. And if their stories have a Canadian background they’re quite happy about that? What about the future of the short story? . . “Look at history”, David Findlay said. “Story telling is one of the world’s oldest professions. Stories have been read for four or five hundred years. People have always wanted them and the movies, radio and television clamour for them.”