About Osborne Bay Books

Liz Maxwell Forbes and Grant Evans
Liz Maxwell Forbes and Grant Evans



Years before I knew him, Grant retired to Hornby Island to write his great Canadian novel. It was in the day of the early generation computers, and with the winter power outages and his woeful technical ability he repeatedly lost his text and gave up. While he was on Hornby Island, I was living the hippie life on the Cowichan River. We had mutual friends in both places but our paths never crossed until he moved back to Vancouver Island.

When Grant and I met over a couple of decades ago we were drawn to each other by our slightly alternative lifestyles — we both had outdoor bathtubs — and an appreciation for each other’s artistic abilities.

Together we did what we do best, co-create. We renovated a couple of houses. People would stop on the street to admire the work Grant was doing, especially his fences and gates built in the Japanese style. We created outdoor living spaces — I planted and Grant designed and built the unique frame work. In the evenings we sat in our inviting sanctuaries with a bottle of wine and plotted and planned, fantasizing our next venture. There were many dreams — wild dreams, impractical dreams — some we carried to fruition—others we laugh at now. It was an ongoing adventure.

On a winter in Arizona, Grant, who is an accomplished artist, completed 46 paintings of our south west experience. I joined a writers’ group, bought a laptop computer and wrote. Once home we threw a big art opening at the Hummingbird Tea Room in Chemainus with his Arizona series. It was a roaring success. I was writing monthly columns for Take 5 magazine in Ladysmith and trying to break into magazine fiction. I needed a writers’ group and not being able to find one, I started the Chemainus Writers which is still vibrant and healthy after 19 years.

During that time, I began writing about my childhood in Oak Bay, a British enclave nestled next to Victoria BC; as a child I thought my parents were excessively weird. (Didn’t we all?) These tales eventually became Growing Up Weird A Memoir of an Oak Bay Childhood (2017).

Writing memoir is addictive and once I started, I kept going. The stories kept coming and people asked for more. I skipped the middle years, marriage and children; I’m not ready to write about that yet, and went straight to my ‘back-to-the-land’ days when I lived on the Cowichan River. Those years were exciting. I was reckless, embraced life, and welcomed friends and strangers alike to my property on the river. “You have to write about this” people would say and so I did in my latest book River Tales – Stories from My Cowichan Years (2019).

As well as publishing those two books I was busy writing a monthly column for another local newspaper and submitting stories that were included in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and in Somebody’s Child by Touchwood Editions.

Grant went back to writing too (newer computer by thirty years and no power outages) and he eventually emerged with View From the Tower, an engaging and humorous account of his years as an air traffic controller in Port Hardy back when the only access was by air or steamship. This book was quickly scooped up by pilots, air traffic controllers and flight enthusiasts until all the books were sold.

This year Grant was encouraged to rewrite and revise View from the Tower and include new photographs and more stories about early days in Abbotsford and Vancouver Airports. This edition is even more filled with ‘laughter and disaster’ and is the kind of book that will make you want to visit the north island and pay more attention to airplanes flying overhead. View from the Tower – Tin Pushers and Pilots on the BC Coast is a book you would read, even if, like me, you’re not a flight nerd. And if you are wondering about the term tin pusher, you’ll have to read the dedication to find out.

We both have new books in the works. Watch the blog for news!

This latest adventure, Osborne Bay Books looks to be our best yet.