Adventure transpires over One Great Year

Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio are at the Vernon Friday Night Farmers’ Market this week as part of their book tour for their novel, One Great Year. - photo submitted
Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio are at the Vernon Friday Night Farmers’ Market this week as part of their book tour for their novel, One Great Year.
— image credit: photo submitted

It’s a story for the ages, both on the page and beyond the cover.

It started when Vancouver residents Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio met and fell in love. As in many couplings, their common interests bonded, but their relationship went beyond the typical, “let’s buy-a-house-and-combine-our-assets,” trajectory.  Instead, they decided to embark on a creative endeavor – one that travels through time, varying continents and even through the afterlife to find one’s soulmate.

They wrote a book.

Entitled One Great Year, the work of fiction has caught the attention of both readers and movie producers, and is about to have its first U.S. printing.

It is also available at a bookstore near you.

The authors will also be in a city near you, as Veitch and DeFazio are coming through the Okanagan this month on their current book tour. They are meeting the public at a different kind of venue than what transpires at a typical signing, visiting various farmers’ markets up and down the Valley.

They are in Vernon Friday.

“We are both outgoing and love meeting people. We spend a lot of time meeting with the public as well as with librarians and bookstore owners,” said Veitch, who has already joined DeFazio to bring attention to the book at a number of markets in the Lower Mainland and well as in the South Okanagan.

“We could be sitting around waiting for people to find the book or we could bring it to them by going to the markets,” added DeFazio, who has a North Okanagan connection, as his parents lived in Parker’s Cove on the westside of Okanagan Lake for 15 years.

“I spent a lot of summers there,” he said.

Described as an adventure in the same vein as Indiana Jones, with the spiritual introspection of an Eckhart Tolle novel, One Great Year is an apt title to what has happened to the couple this past year. However, their meeting goes back a few more years, and is not exactly a typical storybook romance, but one of modern times.

They met through the Internet.

“We’re both middle age people, so where do you meet? Bars?” said DeFazio.

“I actually had my profile hidden and was reading other people’s profiles,” said Veitch, who at 44 is six years younger than DeFazio. “It was Rene’s writing that attracted me, so I sent him a note and he said, ‘send me a picture.’”

With 25 years as an actor, including countless film, television roles, commercials and print ads to his credit, DeFazio has always had an interest in writing and has penned a number of screenplays.

His interest in adventure and writing piqued when he wrote, directed and produced a travel show that saw him in exotic locations such as Kenya, Egypt and the Seychelles. However, it was after he met Veitch and settled down in Vancouver that the idea for the book happened.

“Tam and I were trying to create a life together. I had been backpacking and travelling and was hardly a working actor and she was a mom, so I was thinking what to do with my life, and it came to me, ‘write a book, you idiot,’” he said.

A former special education teacher, who has worked as a mural artist and designer, Veitch says she always had a proclivity for the written word.

“I spent my whole life writing on a rickety typewriter with a missing D, but I do not have the brilliant imagination that Rene has and the research he puts into things. But you put the two of us together, and we are a mountain.”

It was after DeFazio handed a 15-page screenplay he had started to Veitch that the book’s inner workings began. The story featured the names of two characters, Marcus and Theron, his one true love, who would become the main characters in the final book.

Marcus has a past life memory as he has been reincarnated many times, and Theron  doesn’t. The book is set in ancient times through to modern, however, the story is far from the romantic notions found in The Time Traveller’s Wife or the reverse aging drama from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The book travels from the ruins of Tiwanaku, Bolivia to the Pyramids of Giza, through the Great Year Cycle described by Plato in ancient Greece and to current discoveries in quantum mechanics.

“We are coming from an entertainment aspect, but our character is asking the questions we ask about our choices in life: What are we doing in this world? How did we come to be,” said Veitch. “We have the life experience to put the grit in. It’s not all rosy, and not all bad. We’ve lived though life, death, breakups and even war in our time, so we bring that experience to the page.”

“We have taken the action genre and made it more enlightening,” added DeFazio. “I call it historical fiction. The research is based on true things from my travels and the nuances are the feelings, the instincts we’ve all experienced.”

The story has obviously resonated as One Great Year won honourable mentions at the New York Book Festival and the London Book Festival earlier this year and has been optioned by a Hollywood production company to become three blockbuster movies.

Greenleaf Book Group in the U.S. has also partnered with Veitch and DeFazio for North America-wide distribution this fall.

“People from all walks of life have resonated with the material. When we’ve been at the markets, people have turned to our table. It’s like the book calls them over. You can feel the magic in that. It’s an exciting place to be,” said Veitch.

And this One Great Year is expanding as Veitch and DeFazio have already started on the sequel.

One Great Year is available locally at Coles, K&K Bookstore and Bookland in Vernon. The authors will also be at the Vernon Friday Night Farmers’ Market at the Village Green Centre from 3 to 7 p.m. this week.



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