In 1975 former Prince Albert resident Joan Rogers was a young mother with a new baby living in Toronto. However, everything changed while watching TV. with her husband one night. Rogers says she died.
âThis sounds strange, but itâs as if my soul was up near the ceiling, and I was looking down, watching all this happen,â she says. âI could see myself laying on the sofa and my husband was trying to revive me and he couldnât, so he called the ambulance.â
Three days later Rogers was alive and well, but she never forgot her experience, and neither did the medical profession.
âThey were trying to understand what made this happen, so one doctor suggested âwhy donât you write a book.ââ
Rogers herself was still trying to understand what happened to her, so she agreed. One doctor she gave the book to loved it, and encouraged her to keep writing.
â(The doctor) said âI predict fame, but itâs going to need a lot of work,ââ she says with a chuckle. âI thought, well isnât that nice, but I have these three little children and a husband and a busy life, so I put this book on a shelf and literally forgot about it for 30 years.â
The doctor stuck with Rogers and her family, interviewing them about her experience and the effect it had on them all. Throughout the entire time he kept encouraging her in her writing.
âThrough those years he would say âwhatâs happened to that book of yoursâ and Iâd say âwell, Iâm busy,ââ she says. âHe gave me names of publishers to go to. He gave me names of books on publishing and marketing and he just kept at it.â
Finally, in 2000, Rogers decided to give writing another try. She pulled out her old manuscript and began making changes to it. That manuscript became Luck: When Preparation meets Opportunity, her new novel written under the pseudonym Anna Bergeron.
âOppression of the human spirit, this is the main theme of the story, I think,â she says. âItâs the triumph of the human spirit, and it applies to men as well as women.â
Rogersâ novel is about a woman, Anna Bates, who doctors pronounce dead on arrival in a hospital. However, the medical team eventually brings her back to life. The novel delves into the fallout of that event, focusing specifically on Annaâs relationship with her husband Grant, and their children.
For some, reliving an event might be uncomfortable, never mind writing a book about it. However, Rogers says it was actually helpful.
âIt was very therapeutic,â she says. âJust seeing it in front of your own eyes, kind of outside situation, but seeing the situation more objectively than being in it.â
In fact, she says the original manuscript didnât take long at all.
âEveryday from one to four I wrote and it just literally wrote itself. The hard part was getting it into book form and getting it into the time frame. Essentially that book ends in the early â80s.â
That doesnât mean it was all easy. Rogers says she had some uneasiness about publishing her novel, but those fears eventually subsided.
âWhen I first wrote that book I thought, thatâs not a book I want published. Thatâs what I thought we I read through it, but once itâs out there I donât feel itâs about me anymore,â she says. âIt could be anybody struggling to be free in spirit.â
Freedom is a major theme in Rogersâ work, although she says she believes freedom has its limits.
âBeing free doesnât mean to be without responsibility, it just means having the freedom to express yourself,â she says. âThatâs what this book did.â
Rogers says sheâs enjoyed writing the novel so much she does it as a hobby now. She writes just about every day, but is undecided about writing another novel.
âIâve had many people say âwhat happened to these characters,ââ she says. âWhat did happen to these people? Like these little children, my children, the oldest is 47, the middle child is 45 and the youngest one is 38 and theyâre all grown up with their own lives and their own stories.â
For now, she just hopes her novel can have a positive effect on people who read it.
âI added this subtitle, âwhen preparation meets opportunity,ââ she says. âThis has been a long time in preparation. Itâs just the state of the world now. The balance of the world is so upset. Itâs a prime time for a book like this.â