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Innisfil author continues trilogy with release of second book

'In my writings, I just follow my characters and report what I see going on,' says R. Murrey Haist
Author R. Murrey Haist prepares to sign copies of his new book, Escape from Tuoyawon.

R. Murrey Haist is probably best known as an artist.

His paintings and works of pyrography – “drawing with fire” on wood – hang in private collections around the world, and his designs on bookmarks, book bags and posters have supported fundraisers for the library in Innisfil, where he resides.

A published author, Haist has always had a connection to the written word. His bookmarks often feature his poetry. As he has said repeatedly: “Painting are stories without words… and books are paintings through the words.”

His first book was Tuoyawon, a thriller that explores themes of love and betrayal, responsibility and guilt, and ends with a terrifying twist for protagonist Chrissy.

He was a little surprised when Ontario school boards chose the book for their high school reading lists – but with its direct prose, fast pacing and big themes, it’s not really all that surprising.

Haist has now completed the second book, Escape from Tuoyawon, carrying Chrissy farther along her journey into fear, remorse and responsibility.

“There seemed to be a natural continuation from where the last book left off,” Haist says.

Chrissy’s sense of confusion and entrapment in the first book “needed to be the start of the second book,” he explains.

Built around Chrissy’s desperate attempt to escape from her circumstances, while coming to grips with the consequences of her own actions, Escape from Tuoyawon ends with “a twist that could not have been imagined.”

Tuoyawon was planned as a trilogy, and Haist is already in the midst of writing the third book in the series. Although he has mapped out the plot and an outcome, Chrissy still has the power to evolve  and surprise, he says.

“Even though I have already determined the final outcome of the last book, I am still watching her movements as if from an outsider – and anxiously waiting to determine her personal involvement,” Haist says.

Just as he allows the canvas to guide his hand as an artist, “in my writings, I just follow my characters and report what I see going on,” he says. “In both cases I have an emotional contact with the subject of my writings and my canvas. This allows their individual expressions to emerge, on both the canvas and the page.”

Escape from Tuoyawon can now be ordered from the author, for only $19 – and offers readers an opportunity to support both the Friends of the Innisfil Public Library, and win a prize pack.

Until March 15, $2 from every order placed will be donated to the Friends, who raise money for children’s programming at the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library. Every order will also be entered into a draw, to win a free set of volumes l and ll of Haist’s series.

For more information, contact

Miriam King

About the Author: Miriam King

Miriam King is a journalist and photographer with Bradford Today, covering news and events in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
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