- Contributed                                Kelowna author Jack Whyte has had his novels translated into 20 languages.

- Contributed Kelowna author Jack Whyte has had his novels translated into 20 languages.

Kelowna author captures a worldwide audience

Jack Whyte’s novels have been translated into more than 20 languages

Over the years, while sitting in his Gallagher’s Canyon area home, Jack Whyte set his sights on Black Mountain and let his imagination wander. Then, as stories took shape, he put pen to paper.

“I wrote a lot of my early books looking at the landscape out there and visualizing the activities that could happen,” said Whyte, who is the author of the Dream of Eagles series, eight Arthurian novels set in Roman Britain. He’s also the man behind the Templar Trilogy, featuring the legendary Knights Templar. Whyte’s most recent release, The Burning Stone, is a prequel to later series but can stand alone.

Those novels have been published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and Russia. His words, which have been translated into 20 languages, have washed over points across the globe and effectively planted a little bit of this city into the imaginations of a worldwide audience, although his readers are more focused on the man than his muse.

“I have letters from all over the world thanking me for my writing … Portugal, Brazil and Bulgaria,” he said. “Who expects to hear from someone in Bulgaria, saying they love your book? It’s wonderful when it happens.”

RELATED: Familiar faces return for writers’ fest

That balances out the comments he gets that are less than flattering—for those he’s developed a thick skin.

Amassing a global readership offers challenges and perks that are far from his daily reality.

“I just happen to exist in small-town Kelowna, nobody knows who I am or what I do—but my world is out there,” he said.

That anonymity is extended to friends like Diane Galbadon, author of the international best selling Outlander series when she visits.

Admittedly, Whyte said living an anonymous life is an oddity to many he’s spoken to over the years. So much so that it may soon become less anonymous.

“There’s a fellow right now who’s working on a television adaptation of my novels and turning it into a multi-year television extravaganza,” he said.

“He looked at me and said, ‘he won’t be here in 10 years’ so they came down from the Coast and they filmed a movie that is Who is Jack Whyte.”

It will be a half-hour documentary, exploring the life of “a guy who has written 17 novels in 20 odd languages living here in B.C. and nobody knows him.”

RELATED: Author Chevy Stevens is a powerhouse of her genre

Whyte, who is from Scotland, started his writing career long before he came to Kelowna but he didn’t arrive here by chance.

“My wife’s family used to own a successful business in automotive parts,” he said

“We would visit when I was living in Alberta (in the ‘90s) and I would say, ‘someday I will retire in Kelowna’ and my wife said ‘enjoy it, I won’t come with you,’” he said.

At that point, Whyte was already a best-selling author in Canada four times over, but that doesn’t pay the bills so there was no push to move.

Then American, British and German publishers came knocking and he suddenly had a worldwide income and he could live anywhere he wanted.

It was Kelowna he had his sights set on. His wife agreed and the couple moved here 22 years ago.

The stories that have made him an international bestseller were born from legends far away in both time and place.

“I’m a legend wonk,” Whyte, said of his inspiration. “I go looking for a legend and I start working. There’s a thing on PBS, shows a woman sculptress who starts out by looking at a piece of rock, and then turns it into a piece of sculpture … She would go into the rock and find the beauty. My rock is the legend as it exists today.”

Once he chips away at those rock-like legends, new stories start to emerge.

“I try to strip away all the crap that has accumulated over the centuries to come between what happened in the past and the story we tell about it now,” he said. “People try to improve on a story and when you stretch it out by 1,500 years you get all sorts of rubbish added to it.”

And then he applies the skills of a storyteller, which was passed down to him through generations.

Whyte recently took a sabbatical to focus on his health. But he’s not likely to stop telling stories anytime soon, as it’s something he describes as a compulsion.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

(Facebook)
New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read