Natasha Silva was 11 years old when she started her first job as a paper carrier for Langley Times. But, even before that, she knew what she wanted to become later in life.
The dream started in elementary school – a dream to become an author.
She got her start in writing while a student at the Langley Fine Arts School.
At the age 12, she explored poetry through a mentorship program with the Grade 12 writing majors. Silva fell in love with poetry, and right away, she knew what her primary genre would be.
Now 25 and a University of British Columbia graduate, Silva has been writing stories since she was a kid.
Recently, she launched a book of poetry, North Star Heart.
A collection of poetry, her work features nature imagery and illustrations. As per Silva, the book is a powerful narrative of the search for personal identity and ultimately, the meaning of home.
“Part one features the darker emotions and adversities that come with feeling truly lost in yourself and the world. Part two invites the reader into a season of acceptance, and realization of who they are and what they need and deserve. And finally, the third part ushers in the light, and there’s a distinct feeling of hope and excitement for the future,” she explained.
The idea for this book came to Silva in 2019, when she was in the last year of her creative writing degree.
Initially, she had planned on creating four chapbooks (small books of 20-40 pages).
But, while on a solo trip to Smithers in December of 2019, she realized the idea “was meant to be” presented as a full-length collection.
In her three days up north, she finished one third of the book, and after returning, she laid out the plan for the rest of the book.
When COVID hit, Silva was about four months into the book. But, with her sisters coming from different parts of the country, she couldn’t make time for the book.
“I couldn’t do any book work in the six months they were here because I recognized that we likely wouldn’t have a summer altogether like that again,” she explained.
In the fall of 2020, she started a full-time job and went back to work on finishing the manuscript. With that done by early 2021, it was time to start looking for a company that could offer publishing support, final edits, layout designs, and finally, the launch.
A former resident of Fort Langley, Silva has been living on a farm in Glen Valley for the last three years.
She recalled her writing days. After coming home after an eight-hour shift, working as an insurance broker, she would take care of the farm and all the animals, and then work on her book until midnight, only to repeat it all again the next day.
“It was like having two full-time jobs running back to back for months,” she said.
Silva grew up reading fiction novels and loved J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter. Her mother, Elizabeth Silva, shared that Silva had read her first chapter of that very book in kindergarten.
“Natasha’s love of books and desire to communicate were evident at a very young age,” said Mom.
“I’d go to all the midnight releases at the Langley Chapters location, and my friends and I would dress up to go see the movies,” Silva recalled.
For poetry, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Susan Musgrave, Joy Harjo, and Lorna Crozier were her go-to authors growing up.
Currently in the final stretch of her master’s degree in international forestry, Silva is hoping to combine her creative background with her forestry knowledge to find innovative ways to work within B.C.’s forest industry.
“My love of our forests often comes through my writing and that’s why there’s such a strong nature theme in the imagery of North Star Heart,” Silva said.
North Star Heart is available at Indigo Langley and online at Amazon.com and her website natashasilva.ca. She will also be doing an in-person signing at Indigo Langley on Sunday, July 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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