Book Giveaway: Stuff We All Get

She’d never found a cache nor used a GPSr but that didn’t stop Canadian author KL Denman from wanting to write a geo-novel.

“When I tried it for the first time, I didn’t own a GPS and had no idea how to operate one. Luckily, I learnt that my brother-in-law is a geocacher and he was happy to act as my guide.”

Those geo-outings allowed Denman – first name Kim – to gather material for her new book Stuff We All Get or, as the French version is known, La Cache.

Not that any of her actual finds feature in the teen title, says the British Columbia resident.  “I’ve only gone a few times, but some details about the cache box found in the story are based on my own experience. The caches I found were in an entirely different location, on the Pacific coast, north of Vancouver.”

Instead, Denman – first name Kim – used photographs she’d taken at Skaha Bluffs, Penticton as the basis for the park and cache site she describes in her 11th published title.

Written for teenagers aged 11 to 14, Stuff We All Get is part of Orca Books‘ Currents collection of “fast-paced books that appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike”.

According to the back-page blurb: “Fifteen-year-old Zack is the new kid in school. When an inappropriate picture of him is posted online, Zack punches the guy who posted it and is suspended. He’s lonely and bored when his mum suggests they try geocaching. Zack isn’t enthusiastic but he goes along, and inside their first cache is a home-made CD with the word Famous written on it.”

From her home in Powell River, Denman explains that her lead character has sound-colour synesthesia, a condition which causes him to see vivid hues when he hears music. 

“Zack listens to the CD and loses himself in the music as he experiences incredible patterns of colour. He feels such a connection to the lyrics that he becomes obsessed with finding the girl singing. Zack tracks down Jolene in a cafe where she works while dreaming of the big time, but he soon discovers that what we find may not be what we expect.”

The write place: One of Denman’s photos from her imagined GZ.

As to why she chose a geocaching-related plot, Denman says: “I’m going to answer this question with a quote from one of the characters in the story: ‘I mainly like the symbolism, you know? I like the idea of being able to pinpoint a position.’

She first discovered geocaching while reading a magazine on a plane trip. “I was instantly intrigued and couldn’t wait to try it myself. I also knew this was something I wanted to write about and spent some time speculating about the various directions the story might take.

“More time passed before I was able to try geocaching and when I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it. With my decision to focus the story on a mysterious find in a cache, I finally began writing.”

At 114-pages, Stuff We All Get is classified as a short novel; however, the first draft still took Denman “a couple of months” to craft.

“After that, I sent it to two trusted readers and received their feedback before tackling the re-write. When I was satisfied with the story, I submitted it to my publisher and the manuscript was accepted.

“Over the next year, the book went through the usual process of editing, cover design and proof-reading. It was published in October 2011. So, from initial idea to finished product, it took two years – surprisingly fast.”

Praise from readers and reviewers alike followed, earning Stuff We All Get a place in the 2011 Year’s Best list compiled by Canadian national journal Resource Links.

However, Denman wasn’t expecting one particular reaction: “When I describe the novel to some people, I’m surprised to find they haven’t heard of geocaching.”

When time allows, she hopes to continue with her new-found hobby. “I think it would be great to geocache on a road trip because it can certainly take you to out of the way places you might never see otherwise.”


*It’s Not About The Numbers has a signed copy of KL Denman’s Stuff We All Get  (US$9.95) up for grabs. Email kjwx@notaboutthenumbers.com by noon on Wednesday 5th September (NZ time) with the subject line Book Contest. Don’t forget to include your name, address and GC handle.

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  1. kjwx

    UPDATE: Congratulations to Virginia geocacher Cat Clark (GC handle: johnaugus) for winning our signed copy of KL Denman’s Stuff We All Get book. Your prize is now in the mail.

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