Revised Edition

November 2014

I hear from Nimbus Publishing that the Spring of 2015 will see a fresh printing of Louisbourg: Past, Present, Future. I’m pleased. Soon after the first edition came out in 2013 I realized that I had been guilty of an unfortunate oversight. I should have put something in the book about the diversity of the population at Louisbourg and on its residents of African origins or African descent. I immediately wrote two such units to cover those aspects, and they have been waiting until the first print run was gone before they get to appear in print. The wait is nearly over. I’ll post something here and on the Facebook page: A J B Johnston, Writer when the new edition is released in a few months time.


Didn’t last long

November 2014

A couple of weeks ago I mused that my Nov. 4 presentation at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic might be the last time I was going to talk about Louisbourg. How foolish and forgetful was that. I had forgotten about La Rochelle and Rochefort. Late November in those two small cities on France’s Atlantic coast (at roughly the same latitude as Louisbourg) I have to speak about that intriguing, vanished place two more times. I have spent the better part of the past two days writing a paper to collect my thoughts. It takes longer to do it in French, but I have to say it’s fun. My title: “Qu’est-ce que c’est, ce Louisbourg?” Along with the paper, simultaneously, I’ve put together 43 images that go with the different parts of my talk.


Now that it’s finished I can get back to laying down more pages in the third Thomas Pichon novel.

A fraction of some sort

November 2014

It’s impossible to tell what the fraction is — 2/3, 3/4, 5/8 — but I know that at last the end is coming into sight. Still lots of pages and re-writes ahead, over who knows how many weeks and months, yet the third Thomas Pichon novel is entering the home stretch. Day by day it transfers from my head to the page. Well, computer screen.

My working title is “Crossings”, not that that means much. Neither of the two novels so far ended up with what my working title was. Third time lucky? Maybe. Once I have a complete story in a form I feel I can share, it will go off to the publisher to begin the next step of the process. Though not as collaborative an art form as film, publishing definitely involves more than a single author. Mary T. is my first reader and gives sage advice; publisher Mike Hunter at Cape Breton University Press provides perspectives I greatly respect; and editor Kate Kennedy is terrific. I feel very fortunate to have Kate in my corner. Those who read Thomas and The Maze may not realize it, but they too have Kate Kennedy to thank. The stories have benefited enormously from her suggestions on how to tighten and focus the words.

My understanding is that my next novel, book three of the Thomas Pichon Quartet, will be out in the fall of 2015.

Louisbourg Exhibits / Expositions, La Rochelle

November 2014

The two exhibits about Louisbourg currently offered to the public at two different venues in France’s old and charming west coast port of La Rochelle are well described in the review that arrives when you click on the link. The text is entirely in French. I’m very much looking forward to visiting the exhibits before they close.

Messieurs, Dames, pour de plus amples renseignements sur les deux expositions qui traitent Louisbourg à La Rochelle, veuillez cliquer sur le lien au dessus.

One Last Time?

November 2014

I have been thinking, writing and talking about Louisbourg for quite a while. My first visits were as a child on family trips. I came back as an adolescent then ended up getting a job there as a Parks Canada historian as an adult. I offered some reflections on all that about a year ago, in a piece for The Nashwaak Review. Follow the link below to read what Sandy Balcom, Ken Donovan, Brenda Dunn, Bruce Fry, Christopher Moore and I have to say.

Twenty-three pretty interesting years I worked at the Fortress of Louisbourg, leaving in September 2000. Since I have continued to write and speak about the place and its history, it’s obvious that my time there as part of the Fortress team made a lasting impression on me: many friendships and the kind of work that suited me.

Next up, on Nov. 4, I offer in 45 minutes everything I know about Louisbourg, spanning the last 5000 years and looking into the near future. Well, maybe I won’t talk about everything I know, but it’ll be a sort of highlight reel, as I see it from my particular vantage point.

It occurs to me that this upcoming talk at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic just may be my last such talk about the history of Louisbourg. If so, so be it. It’s likely time that I put that history to rest.


Books 1 and 2 of the Quartet

October 2014

Some bookstores and libraries, and even some readers, do not know that these two books go together. This poster by CBU Press aims to let people know.