“I wake up every morning and get to do what I love,” said valley-raised author David Mulholland who is promoting his third novel called Chaudière Falls.
Chaudière Falls is a dramatized historical account of how Ottawa became Canada’s capital. In perfect timing to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday, the novel recounts the self-serving politics, religious bigotry and barbaric violence that resulted in Ottawa being named the nation’s capital.
Mulholland calls the novel dramatized history because it has a fictional component, like the story of character Jed Jansen, but it also follows the historical record of Ottawa’s creation. Characters like Philemon Wright, Colonel By and Thomas McKay are as accurate as they can be based on research, Mulholland explains.
Mulholland, who was born in Kingston and raised in Arnprior, says he became a writer by mistake.
“It was a talent I didn’t know I had,” he said. His flair for writing was discovered in 1963 when he got a position as an advertising copywriter with CKOY Radio in Ottawa. “I could not wait to get to work in the morning, I loved it,” said Mulholland.
Mulholland spent the next few years as a freelance journalist and reporter for various news outlets in Ottawa, including a four-year gig with CBC Ottawa and a five-year run with the Ottawa Citizen. Mulholland also spent just less than a decade writing a country music column that multiple media outlets have picked up.
“I’m the kind of person who is either really interested in something or not at all,” he explained.
Flash-forward to 1982. Bored of reporting but still in love with writing, Mulholland accepted a job as a contract speech writer with the federal government.
“I loved the freedom of being a freelance writer,” Mulholland said, reflecting on that part of his career. “Which is good because I don’t like cluttering up my life with material belongings just to keep the consumer market happy. Material things are not important.”
In 2001, Mulholland decided he wanted to a write a novel. He began extensive research and published his first novel of dramatized history, titled McNab, in 2006.
“Writing a novel was just an extension of being a writer,” Mulholland said. After McNab, he started to do research for his novel, DUEL, which was published in 2009. “It was while writing DUEL that the idea for Chaudière Falls came to me,” he said. Chaudière Falls was published in November 2016.
Now living in Ottawa and working on his next novel, Mulholland says he is happy. “I’m in excellent health, I’m financially independent and like I said, I get up every morning and do what I love to do. I’m 77 years old but I really feel like I’m between 38 and 42,” he laughed. “I’m happy with my life – the whole package.”
A copy of each of Mulholland’s novels are available at the Carleton Place Public Library.
This article was first published in the August issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our August issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read our digital version.