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Mark Lisac, writer


New Novel

Red Hill Creek

In 1957, Hamilton is a city steeped in memories of the Second World War and other conflicts. Eighteen-year-old Jack Crandall is becoming obsessed with learning more about his father, a Canadian soldier who abandoned him and his mother, and died in the Dieppe Raid. He finds a kind of father substitute in Walter Haffner, the taciturn German army veteran he works for. But when a Canadian army vet is found beaten into a coma, Jack has to accept that Walter may not have forgotten the war despite never wanting to talk about it. Will Jack want to find out the truth? Can he cope with his worry that  he may be too much like his unreliable father to have a lasting relationship with any of the girls he likes? A story of friendship, loyalty, laughter, sadness, reluctant love, the legacy of war — and of Hamilton, a city of unapologetic grit and surprising natural beauty in the heart of Canada.

$16.95 CAD paperback at
$5.95 CAD e-book on Kindle, Kobo, other platforms
  • A young man confronts the ghostly memory of his father


You can reach Mark at:
On Twitter: @mark_lisac

Words to Remember

"If there is a moral in this book, it is not my fault. If there is social relevance, it crept in without alerting me, in which case I would have hit it with a stick."                                                                                           — from Paul St. Pierre's preface to a later edition of his classic, Breaking Smith's Quarter Horse
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation." — Herman Melville
"In a way, people like her, those who wield a pen, can be dangerous. At once a suspicion of fakery comes to mind — that such a person is not him or herself, but an eye that's constantly watching, and whatever it sees it changes into sentences; in the process it strips reality of its most essential quality — its inexpressibility." — Olga Tokarczuk, in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 
" ' Given a choice,' says Greenglass, 'I'd prefer to die thin.'      'Why? So it'll be easier on your pallbearers? … They got great rice pudding here.' " — Morley Torgov, in St. Farb's Day

About Mark

I was born and raised in Hamilton. It was a great place to grow up. I ended up working in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and visiting every other province except Newfoundland (an omission hopefully to be corrected soon).  All these places and the people I met in them made me happy to be living in Canada.
After graduating from McMaster University I went into graduate studies in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There I met a bunch of wonderful and interesting people, and learned I'd had enough of academia. I thought I could write; journalism beckoned.
Stops during a career that began in 1973 included the Regina Leader-Post and the Edmonton bureau of The Canadian Press. I learned a lot from good people in both places. In 2005 I started an eight-year stint as owner, editor and publisher of an independent newsletter on Alberta politics and legislature affairs.
Since 2013, I have been writing novels and doing a little freelance editing in Edmonton, Alberta. I've noticed that people tend not to visit here. They often see the city as remote and probably cold. It does happen to be located close to the edge of the boreal forest of northern Canada. But it has a large airport, a busy arts scene, restaurants with an astonishing variety of cuisine, and a very attractive natural environment. The fairly dry air produces crystal-clear skies in both summer and winter. And despite the regional population of about a million, Edmonton is still a place where you can see large formations of geese flying overhead each spring and fall — and find a quiet walk through the North Saskatchewan River Valley, or in a nature reserve in one of the ravines running off the valley.  You should come and take a look sometime. I'll be around somewhere, doing yard work when not writing, making wine and pizza and crabapple jelly, watching CFL football, or just going for a walk with my wife, enjoying the trees and the diamond-blue sky. I still visit friends and family often in Hamilton and area, though, enjoy the city, and feel an emotional tug.

Scenes from Red Hill Creek

The novel Red Hill Creek describes real places. Some of them are shown below, although these images were taken at a much later date than in the story. 

Red Hill Creek. The creek has been modified over the years by the addition of rock barriers, as seen in the middle and bottom of this photograph.

A portion of Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton, on a cloudy and unusually windy day. This area is about as sandy as the beach gets.

The upper portion of Albion Falls, which is overall about twice as high as shown here. The section of Red Hill Creek visited by hikers flows from the falls.