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Mount Albert, Ontario – While journalism adheres to strict rules for how the specific facts of a story are recorded and reported, fiction is a landscape where, in some ways, there are no rules except to make the story seem real. Still, writing a fictional novel requires the same discipline, curiosity and attention to detail as the best investigative journalism.
Bonnie Toews is an author, journalist and the founder of Whistler House Publishing. This month marks the release of the second novel in Toews’s Trilogy of Treason series, Covert Denial, inspired by her experiences as a journalist covering Rwanda’s humanitarian relief effort in 1994.
“I found the only way I could publicize what went on was to tell it through fiction,” says Toews. “More often than not, people believe fiction more than they believe the truth.”
While reporting in Rwanda, Toews discovered she and servicemen had been prescribed an antimalarial drug known as Mefloquine that for some people causes severe adverse reactions. The drug made them more combative and aggressive by entering the neural network and attacking the frontal brain and adrenal gland. Some have even theorized the recent massacre at Fort Hood could be linked to this drug and the U.S. surgeon general has since banned the drug, particularly for Special Forces troops on the ground.
“The Canadian peacekeepers were very mum at first, but after I was able to earn their trust, I didn’t even have to ask questions,” says Toews. “But back home, no one was interested in what was happening to them.”
In addition to her work as a novelist, Toews is an advocate for better care and treatment of Canada’s veterans at http://homecomingvets.wordpress.com.
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