Freedom, opportunity, preparation key for author

Jason Kerr
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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.

“This sounds strange, but it’s as if my soul was up near the ceiling, and I was looking down, watching all this happen,” she says.  “I could see myself laying on the sofa and my husband was trying to revive me and he couldn’t, so he called the ambulance.”

Three days later Rogers was alive and well, but she never forgot her experience, and neither did the medical profession.

“They were trying to understand what made this happen, so one doctor suggested ‘why don’t you write a book.’”

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.

“(The doctor) said ‘I predict fame, but it’s going to need a lot of work,’” she says with a chuckle.  “I thought, well isn’t 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.”

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.

“Through those years he would say ‘what’s happened to that book of yours’ and I’d say ‘well, I’m busy,’” she says.  “He gave me names of publishers to go to.  He gave me names of books on publishing and marketing and he just kept at it.”

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.

“Oppression of the human spirit, this is the main theme of the story, I think,” she says.  “It’s the triumph of the human spirit, and it applies to men as well as women.”

Rogers’ 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 Anna’s 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.

“It was very therapeutic,” she says.  “Just seeing it in front of your own eyes, kind of outside situation, but seeing the situation more objectively than being in it.”

In fact, she says the original manuscript didn’t take long at all.

“Everyday 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 ‘80s.”

That doesn’t mean it was all easy.  Rogers says she had some uneasiness about publishing her novel, but those fears eventually subsided.

“When I first wrote that book I thought, that’s not a book I want published.  That’s what I thought we I read through it, but once it’s out there I don’t feel it’s about me anymore,” she says.  “It could be anybody struggling to be free in spirit.”

Freedom is a major theme in Rogers’ work, although she says she believes freedom has its limits.

“Being free doesn’t mean to be without responsibility, it just means having the freedom to express yourself,” she says.  “That’s what this book did.”

Rogers says she’s 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.

“I’ve had many people say ‘what happened to these characters,’” she says.  “What 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 they’re all grown up with their own lives and their own stories.”

For now, she just hopes her novel can have a positive effect on people who read it.

“I added this subtitle, ‘when preparation meets opportunity,’” she says.  “This has been a long time in preparation.  It’s just the state of the world now.  The balance of the world is so upset.  It’s a prime time for a book like this.”

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Recent comments

  • Joan Rogers
    February 19, 2014 - 20:01

    Dear Jason, I am amazed at what you have written. I think I could have been more articulate in the way I expressed myself but you have captured the essence of our conversation perfectly. Thank you. Joan Rogers