Frank Maraj, a teacher and a writer in the Rainy River District, just released his first novel. Titled “Snapshots of Life: The Story of Pinnie and Bella,” Maraj takes the readers on a journey to a fictional island.
This is Maraj’s fourth book, but first fictional novel. His previous three memoirs, Snapshots 1, Snapshots 2 and Snapshots 3, gained a following from residents in the Rainy River District.
“Imagine the 1960s. Imagine a country that does not really exist but it’s called Trinida,” Maraj said. “Imagine two teenagers, Pinnie and Bella, who meet in the final year of high school and are deeply attracted to each other. Then there is a shattering of lives.”
The book explores different cultures and philosophies and reveals the inequities that follow when basic human decency is sacrificed at the altar of wealth, power and privilege.
This is the storyline of Maraj’s novel; a novel that took him six years to write.
Maraj said the content of the book is beyond his comfort level.
“I went into certain issues which are beyond my own comfort zone, but it is relevant to today,” Maraj added.
While this is Maraj’s first fictional novel, he said writing this one was a different and difficult undertaking because in his first three memoirs, the plot was already at play as Maraj was looking back at his own life and journey.
“But in this one there’s no plot and there are no characters,” Maraj said. “It is in the imagination and on some things that might have happened, that I had to find a way to weave a tale about these two young people, Pinnie and Bella.”
Maraj was born in the 1940’s and is able to relate his upbringing to the youth of today. He adds that he wants that relatability to come across in this novel. Even though it is set decades before his students were born, he hopes that they can find some common ground.
“Problems do exist as it was in the 1940s, but the technological advances of those decades are different,” Maraj said. “And yet the child as a student and problems of that day are common to today. I take from them on to now and bridge the gap to make it relevant to today.”
Maraj said he gives “Snapshots of Life: The Story of Pinnie and Bella” to every student he teaches.
“To all the students at the high schools in Trinidad and to every other student that I have been blessed to have met along the trail of life here in the Rainy River District,” Maraj added. “They were and are my inspiration.”
Though it is a fictional novel, Maraj said he draws a great deal of inspiration from his life. Maraj adds that his life has been a journey of experiences which have taken off and magnified his imagination in order to arrive at this fictitious novel.
Maraj said he likes to sit and write at the Fort Frances High School library and the public library.
“I find that going to these two libraries and sitting in a place that I can look through glass outside and then be surrounded by books and then in times seeing people looking at books and saying hello,” Maraj said. “From them I derive the motivation and presence to write.”
Maraj is printing 300 copies of his book. To get your copy when the books arrive, you can reach him at 807-274-7931 or 807-271-3080.